User talk:Other Choices

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Hello, Other Choices! Welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions. You may benefit from following some of the links below, which will help you get the most out of Wikipedia. If you have any questions you can ask me on my talk page, or place {{helpme}} on your talk page and ask your question there. Please remember to sign your name on talk pages by clicking or by typing four tildes "~~~~"; this will automatically produce your name and the date. If you are already loving Wikipedia you might want to consider being "adopted" by a more experienced editor or joining a WikiProject to collaborate with others in creating and improving articles of your interest. Click here for a directory of all the WikiProjects. Finally, please do your best to always fill in the edit summary field. Happy editing! Dougweller (talk) 11:25, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
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I note that you are on the list of editors seeking adoption. I picked up one of Menzie's books and read about a third of it before starting to question some of the foundations of his research. You may inspire me to continue to finish it. I am also very interested in early American history and so I think we have some things in common. If you wish I am offering my services to help ease you into the world of Wikipedia. Either respond here or on my talk page with your thoughts. Thanks. H1nkles (talk) citius altius fortius 21:10, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you; I am pleased to accept your offer. I'm sure that I'll have my share of "newbie" questions as I settle in around here. I realize that Menzies' work is very problematic, but it was a fun, thought-provoking read. It made me want to know more about a lot of different subjects that I hadn't thought much about, such as that strange old Rhode Island tower, pre-Columbian plant transfer to and from the Americas, DNA analysis of native American peoples, and the general idea that an experienced navigator could extract information from those mysterious old maps that academic professionals would miss. I was struck by his analysis of the names on the various maps of "Antilia" (Puerto Rico) around page 408, and also by his plausible scenario about the forged map with which Columbus bamboozled the Spanish monarchs around pp. 433-34.--Other Choices (talk) 23:49, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Excellent I'm happy to get started. First off, when responding to someone's post it is customary to start the next post with a colon (:). This idents the post which signals a response. The more colons the deeper the indent. You can also put a star (*), which acts as a bullet point if you are making a list of points. Finally you can start with the pound sign (#), if you are wanting to make a numbered list. Putting a colon before either the star or the pound sign further indents your post. I didn't read the 1421 book by Menzies I started with 1434, which was interesting. He had some compelling arguments about DNA analysis of some communities in and around Italy and the Adriatic sea. He also talked extensively about maps and how European scholars had to know about the "new" world prior to Columbus. By now I don't think any repudable historian could maintain that Columbus "discovered" America so for me some of Menzie's assertions weren't really earth shattering. What was interesting is how he ties these maps to the Chinese, which begs the question, how could the Chinese know about the east coast of North and South America? Tying back to the 1421 book I assume. Still I felt his research was shaky in parts (relying on people who posted to the 1421 website for example) and many of his assertions were based on quite a bit of assumption. I'm a big fan of David McCullough's books and when comparing the two on scholarly research Menzie doesn't hold a candle. I know that he isn't fully off base and my knowledge of eastern history is sorely lacking, so I hope to finish it up soon but I had to put it down for a while. At any rate, I'll take a look at your article below and make some recommendations. H1nkles (talk) citius altius fortius 16:04, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Francis Hutcheson: Influence in the American Colonies[edit]

Francis Hutcheson has been described as “probably the most influential and respected moral philosopher in America in the eighteenth century.”[1] His early Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, introducing Hutcheson's perennial association of "unalienable rights" with the collective right to resist oppressive government, was used at Harvard College as a textbook as early as the 1730s. [2] In 1761, Hutcheson was publicly endorsed in the annual semi-official Massachusetts Election Sermon as "an approved writer on ethics." [3] Hutcheson's Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy was used as a textbook at the College of Philadelphia in the 1760s. [4] Francis Alison, the professor of moral philosophy at the College of Philadelphia, was a former student of Hutcheson who "appears to have adopted Hutcheson’s moral philosophy totally and uncritically.”[5] Alison's students included "a surprisingly large number of active, well-known patriots,” including three signers of the Declaration of Independence, who "learned their patriotic principles from Hutcheson and Alison.” [6] Another signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Witherspoon of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), relied heavily on Hutcheson's views in his own lectures on moral philosophy. [7][8]

  1. ^ Norman Fiering, Moral Philosophy at Seventeenth-Century Harvard, 199.
  2. ^ Fiering, 199.
  3. ^ Benjamin Stevens, A Sermon Preached at Boston Before the Great and General Court or Assembly of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, May 27, 1761 (Boston, 1761), 63-64.
  4. ^ Caroline Robbins, “‘When It Is That Colonies May Turn Independent:’ An Analysis of the Environment and Politics of Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746),” in The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. XI no. 2 (Apr. 1954), 215-16.
  5. ^ Douglas Sloan, The Scottish Enlightenment and the American College Ideal (New York, 1971), p.88
  6. ^ David Fate Norton, “Francis Hutcheson in America,” Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 154 (1976), 1548, 1566, 1567
  7. ^ Jack Scott, “Introduction,” in John Witherspoon, An Annotated Edition of Lectures on Moral Philosophy, 27, 29, 35-37
  8. ^ Douglas Sloan, The Scottish Enlightenment and the American College Ideal. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1971, 122-25

Thoughts by H1nkles

You're off to a good start here. Your writing is concise and to the point. There are a couple of issues that I wanted to bring up and I know you asked the reference format so we'll get into that as well.
  • When saying something like Hutcheson has been described as.... and then a quote you want to attribute the quote to someone. It is best if that attribution happens in the article, for example, Dr. Smith, Professor of early American philosophers at Dartmouth University describes Francis Hutcheson as.... Finish the quote with the in-line citation as you did. You don't always have to do this but when in doubt do it. This attribution within the text adds credibility to your statement and removes the possibility of what we call weasel words. These are terms like, "Many experts believe", or "Some claim that". These are terms that are used to try and give credence to a fact without actually providing any credible evidence. The same critique can be used for the quote describing Alison..."appears to have adopted Hutcheson’s moral philosophy totally and uncritically."
  • References should use a template. See WP:CITE for information on various templates used. The format for the refs isn't as important as consistency. Don't change formats throughout the article, keep it all consistent. You'll see a vast array of various formats in WP articles. The one I'm most comfortable with can be found in the Olympic Games article. All in-line cites (websites, newspapers, and journals) are found in the Notes section. The full Book references are located in the References or Bibliography section. The author's name, date of book, and page number are found in the Notes section as in-line citations. Make sure only books that you reference in the article are in the References section. If they aren't referenced in the article then they would go in a "Further reading" section. Does this make sense?
  • I notice in the Hutcheson article there are no in-line citations and a references section at the end. This is because you are not using templates. Start as you did above with a <ref> and then a {{cite book}} or a {{cite web}} template and end with a closing </ref>. In the Notes section all you have to do is put a {{reflist}} template in there and hit save. The in-line citations will show up in the Notes section. See WP:CITE this will better walk you through how to fill out the template. It's pretty easy but rather than me trying to explain it here I'll let you read it there. H1nkles (talk) citius altius fortius 16:25, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
The easiest way to use a Template now is -- damn, it's on my edit page but I've got gadgets enabled, Up above the edit window is a row which included the word Cite, click on that and you'll see some templates, make sure you show the hidden fields as you need to include page numbers for books. Dougweller (talk) 20:47, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Re: Plowden article[edit]

I've left some thoughts on the Plowden article's talk page. Check it out and see if it helps. Let me know if there is anything specific that I didn't cover or if you had other questions you wanted addressed. H1nkles (talk) citius altius fortius 21:50, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Natural Law[edit]

Three separate editors have reverted your addition of original research to Natural Law. Please respect the need to find consensus before making controversial changes. Tb (talk) 17:03, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

June 2010[edit]

Information.svg Do not edit war. Do not attack other editors. Do not make edits that go against consensus established on the talk page without discussing it there first. Yes, you succeeded in breaking three policies with one edit: [1]. ;-) I know you are new, but I think you know better than that by now. --OpenFuture (talk) 07:26, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

I suppose I could just delete your post, but I think that the link you supplied to my earlier edit speaks for itself. I'm pleased to recognize that our communication regarding the Newport Tower has gotten more civil recently.--Other Choices (talk) 02:05, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
It does indeed speak for itself. It has only become more civil because you don't attack me, and have a greater understanding of Wikipedia policy now. Please continue on this path. The discussion has now settled onto a difference in opinion on what constitutes a reliable source. The RFC obviously failed. We are going to need to get third-party opinions in some other way. --OpenFuture (talk) 02:41, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I am amazed that you would imply that I attacked you. Perhaps we will simply have to agree to disagree on that one. I am surprised at your statement that the discussion has settled onto a difference of opinion about what constitutes a reliable source. That is certainly NOT my impression of the current state of the discussion at the Newport Tower page. But once again, the discussion speaks for itself, and others can draw their own conclusions. Perhaps the RFC didn't fail; on the Natural Law discussion page, it took over a week to get a third-party response; and the response when it arrived was thoughtful and even-handed.
Heh, I certainly did not *imply* anything. :) Anyway, it would be interesting to know what you think the current state of discussion is, especially since everything that has been discussed the last time (including the RFC) has to do with reliability of sources, and you still don't think the discussion is about that. --OpenFuture (talk) 06:42, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I can agree that the question of what constitutes a reliable source is a prominent part of the Newport Tower discussion. However, I think that your statement that "the discussion has settled onto a difference of opinion about what constitutes a reliable source" is too narrow, because the question of notability is also an important part of the discussion, as is the question of whether the "reliable source" test is appropriate in this situation. As Ghughesarch wrote, echoing TransporterMan, a lot of people will be attracted to the Newport Tower article because of various fringe theories, so we need to find a way to accomodate them in the article. That, in my mind, is the basic issue. Ghughesarch also wrote that "we are getting bogged down in what constitutes a 'reliable source,'" advocating a more flexible approach. My own view, as I wrote on June 6, is that the wikipedia policy on reliable sources simply doesn't apply very well to the question of how to briefly summarize the alternative hypotheses regarding the construction of the Newport Tower.--Other Choices (talk) 07:41, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree we are getting bogged down in the reliable source issue, but I think the way forward isn't to ignore the issue, but to solve it. Notability is usually determined by the existence of reliable sources, so it's going to be way easier to discuss that once we can agree on what a reliable source is. --OpenFuture (talk) 08:05, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

RE: changes to the Gavin Menzies page[edit]

Hi, yeah I gave up on improving that article, after having been keel-hauled by the corrupt WP pirates running that defamation show. Unfortunately they have gotten at least one or more higher moderators on their side as well, so any resistance is futile. The only chance is that we drug and seduce a top moderator to get rid of the whole bunch! Sorry, but I do not wish to waste my time on those guys. In fact I can no longer find any of my comments/points in the discussion page... That speaks for itself! As you can see for your self, several of the most passionate "pirates" have no other (or at most very little) interests in any other topics, outside that of negating and arguing Menzies articles and a few other in the same field. QED. Jahibadkaret (talk) 11:30, 29 March 2011 (UTC)


Modified the Plato section. See what you think. Oxford73 (talk) 09:42, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

June 2012[edit]

Information.svg It may not have been your intention, but one of your edits, specifically one that you made on Astrology, may have introduced material that some consider controversial. Due to this, your edits may have been reverted. When adding material that may be controversial, it is good practice to first discuss the changes on the article's talk page before making them, in order to gain consensus over whether or not to include, phrasing, etc. If you believe that the information you added was correct, please initiate that discussion. Thank you. SÆdontalk 09:55, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

It looks like I added my new section on the talk page at the same moment that you reverted. Not trying to edit war here, and will be pleased to consider your thoughts on the talk page.--Other Choices (talk) 10:01, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
You reverted twice, when you boldly inserted material. The natural progression is to take it to the talk page after the first revert and then make no further edits related to the material until there is consensus about what should go in the article, read more here: WP:BRD. IRWolfie- (talk) 10:56, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes indeed, but the natural progression got bolluxed up by the coincidence of Saedon reverting my first revert at the exact same moment that I took it to the talk page with an explanation. In other words, Saedon might not have reverted my revert if he had read what I had said, or he would have given an explanation for his revert if he had seen my talk. For that reason, in my second revert I invited him to go ahead and revert me if he thought that was appropriate -- I was being careful in my edit summary to indicate that I wasn't edit warring.--Other Choices (talk) 12:03, 17 June 2012 (UTC)


The source you used in your last edit to Astrology is not reliable for anything here on WP. The statement is a self-serving, promotional slogan from an aplogetics website run by people wha have absolutely zero qualifications on scientiific matters. As such, it even fails WP:ABOUTSELF, especially as far as controversial material is concerned. Sources like this are the absolute bottom of the barrel here on WP.

Adding "The American Federation of Astrologers states that..." before the statement seiously violates NPOV in many ways. First of all, no one cares what the AFA has to say because they are a sham organization deceptively presenting itself as a "professional" or "academic" organization. It is not recognized as legitimate by anyone outside of the "astrological community", and thus their opinion carries zero weight. Balance on WP is based on WP:WEIGHT and WP:GEVAL.

Next, you placed the quote at the beginning of a section dealing with the real opinions of real qualified experts. That grossly violates WP:NPOV. We don't give extreme fringe views prominent placement in the article when they are entirely ignored in serious real-world scolarly discourse.

Your edits and talk page entries reveal either that your knowledge of WP's nature, goals, culture and policies is woefully deficient, or that you have little regard for them. Your conception of what qualifies as a reliable source has no basis in our policies, and, in fact, is entirely at odds with them. The same goes with your conception of balance and NPOV. Your knowledge of the subject of this article is also abyssmal, as it appears you have relied almost exclusively on low-quality sources of informaton for that knowledge.

Until you bone up on the policies and guidelines, it's unlikely that you are going to make a constructive contribution to a controversial article like this, where thorough knowledge of WP's mission, policy and guidelines is absolutely essential in order to collaborate productively with your fellow editors to achieve consensus based on our policies. In fact, your liable to make more disruptive edits like this one.

Controversial articles are generally not a good place to learn the ropes. An oft-given piece of advice here on WP is to hone your skills editing non-controversial articles on subjects you are very familar with before "swimming with the sharks". Minefields make poor playgrounds. Another oft-given piece of advice is to find yourself a mentor. See: WP:MENTOR. I would be glad to help you set that up. Just contact me on my talk age if you need help. Most of the other experienced editors are generally willing to help, too.

Your responsibility as an editor is to educate yourself about WP's nature, goals, culture, policies, guidelines and procedures, and very thoroughly at that if you expect to make substantial edits to highly controversial articles. The alternative is to find another venue for your efforts, like Astrowiki [[2]] or any of the myriad other astrology-friendly sites on the internet. You will have to seriously consider whether your goals are compatible with those of WP.

The choice is yours, but further instances of disruptive editing will not be taken lightly per WP:DE and WP:TE. Just to be clear, consider this a formal warning for disruptive editing. Further instances can lead to a block or topic ban. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 12:41, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Dominus Vobisdu, your post seems to be a picture-perfect example of WP:BULLY. Consider yourself warned.--Other Choices (talk) 12:49, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Are you really aiming to get blocked? Because you just committed a serious violation of WP:AGF and WP:NPA. You're skating awfully close to the edge. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 13:04, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
The Wikipedia Administrators' Noticeboard instruction is for me to discuss this issue on your talk page before initiating a formal grievance, so I will go ahead and do so now.--Other Choices (talk) 13:11, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
You had better read WP:BOOMERANG before doing anything. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 13:15, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
@OC, I agree with everyone else on Talk:Astrology, and with DV here. If you attempt to escalate this issue at any venue (particularly ANI), best case scenario it will go nowhere, and it will very likely boomerang and result in sanctions for you. I'd advise you not to do that. DV's advice is spot on; controversial articles are not the place to learn policy and adjust, and if you're having trouble learning how we typically collaborate and form consensus on Astrology (one such article), it may be a good idea to try lower-stress articles first, and come back to Astrology when you have a bit more experience. My first edits to WP were to a tv show I liked, then a few articles on literature. I only seriously weighed in to the fray of the slew of controversial articles I edit now after a substantial time learning to edit, and privately reading through mountains of discussion from others on those topics. I know your views are exactly counter to DV on this topic, and I know that you find his use of language regarding Astrology personally distasteful, but there's nothing out of line with his behavior, and his advice is obviously given with your best interests in mind. It's your call ultimately, but please reconsider accepting the advice you're being offered. It's coming from editors who have been in the new-to-wikipedia shoes already, and seen many others in those shoes succeed or fail based on their approach to handling these sorts of issues. Many times.   — Jess· Δ 14:27, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, Jess, for your words to the wise. However, I just might have to learn this one the hard way. I really think that DV is way, way, way out of line. At the astrology article, I made exactly one edit and two reverts. When I reverted Saedon, I invited him to revert me back if he disagreed with my talk, because of the unique situation where we did different actions at exactly the same time (as I explained to him above). My point in doing so was to signal to Saedon that I wasn't edit warring as I initiated the discussion on the talk page. And from that point on it has been all talk. I strongly disagree that Dominus Vobisdu's advice was given "with my best interests in mind," so I intend to proceed with the AN/I report. Furthermore, when you say that you agree with "everyone else" on the astrology talk page, all of those comments were posted AFTER I reverted Saedon and invited him to revert me back if he disagreed, and right now there are two editors who have expressed general agreement with my point of view, and the other five editors had very different concerns about what I was trying to do (which I answered, still waiting for their responses if they care to give them) so that's not "everybody," but I don't need to be told that I am unlikely to get a consensus for what I thought was a relatively minor addition to the article.--Other Choices (talk) 14:57, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Discretionary sanctions[edit]

25px The Arbitration Committee has permitted administrators to impose discretionary sanctions (information on which is at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions) on any editor who is active on pages broadly related to pseudoscience. Discretionary sanctions can be used against an editor who repeatedly or seriously fails to adhere to the purpose of Wikipedia, satisfy any standard of behavior, or follow any normal editorial process. If you continue to misconduct yourself on pages relating to this topic, you may be placed under sanctions, which can include blocks, a revert limitation, or an article ban. The Committee's full decision can be read at the "Final decision" section of the decision page.

Please familiarise yourself with the information page at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions, with the appropriate sections of Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Procedures, and with the case decision page before making any further edits to the pages in question. This notice will be logged on the case decision, pursuant to the conditions of the Arbitration Committee's discretionary sanctions system.

Just leaving this here to inform you; it's something you should know if you'll be working on pseudoscience/fringe related pages. Although most of the community is very tolerant and willing to discuss to a point, ARBCOM has taken a fairly hardline stance regarding editors editing for a fringe POV. You can read more about the history of pseudoscience at ARBCOM by following "Final decision" link in the template above. Thanks. SÆdontalk 20:03, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Thank you, Saedon.--Other Choices (talk) 21:56, 17 June 2012 (UTC)


Your continual references to recently deceased scientists being deluded in some effort to discredit them, is in poor taste, especially considering that you don't reliable sources to back up the claims, so can you please stop that. Note that while I, for example, don't think astrologers are correct I have avoided distasteful insult. In particular you already complained about poisonous bias but seem to feel free to poor your scorn on a Nobel Prize winning scientist because he disagrees with your particular convictions. IRWolfie- (talk) 21:15, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

IRWolfie, that was polemically worded. Perhaps both of us have been influenced by the poisonous atmosphere on the astrology talk page. To your credit, you have indeed avoided distasteful insult, but you have repeatedly condoned the habitually insulting behavior of another editor.
Moving ahead, I will comply with your request and not speak scornfully of the scientist that you respect.
Regarding my basic criticism of the scientist in question, you continue to refuse to "get it" and continue to mischaracterize my point of view. I DID NOT pour scorn on a scientist because he "disagrees with my particular convictions." I poured scorn on him because he was embarrassingly wrong on a simple, basic fact (that western astrologers have been using the tropical zodiac ever since the time of Ptolemy) that doesn't need "reliable sources" to prove, because it's already covered in a wikipedia article.
As demonstrated by the pages from the astronomy text that Saedon has shared with other editors, this scientist's embarrassing mistake has become a central part of the scornful scientific consensus view toward astrology. How should wikipedia handle this rather unusual issue? Of course the astrology talk page is the proper place to consider that question, and I look forward to considering your input there.
--Other Choices (talk) 02:12, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
I still fail to see why that makes a difference, some forms of astrology don't take into account the precession. IRWolfie- (talk) 08:23, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it is better to say: Western astrology, for the past 2000 years (more or less), uses Ptolemy's artificial system (the the tropical zodiac) that makes it unnecessary to account for the precession of the equinoxes when casting horoscopes. In western astrology the phenomenon of axial precession is relegated to the side issue of the astrological ages. I think it is fair to say that this is a culturally important topic as we have all heard about "the dawning of the Age of Aquarius." I have it on good authority that one of Shiva's 108 names is "the bearer of the water-pot," so, when I'm in one of my more silly moods, I like to confidently predict a global resurgence of Hinduism in coming centuries. Of course, the beauty of such a prediction is that I won't be around if and when it fails to come to pass.

evidence against astrology[edit]

Astrology hasn't been proven to work. QED. TippyGoomba (talk) 16:19, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps it is better to say that astrology hasn't been "scientifically" proven to work. But many people have proven to their own satisfaction that astrology is a useful tool. (As with any tool, astrology can be misused, but that is another subject.) My impression is that when scientists criticize astrology, they often get basic facts wrong (like Charpak) or fail to deal with what serious students of astrology actually do. Any scientist knows that an experiment will give bad results if it isn't set up correctly, so the basic premises of any scientific study of astrology need to be carefully examined. Astrology, as it is typically practiced in the west these days, isn't amenable to scientific testing, although there are old predictive techniques (such as Horary astrology) that could (and perhaps have) been tested.
So imagine a situation where a controlled scientific test invalidates a bunch of horary answers -- this wouldn't disprove astrology in general. Or (to take a horrible example from the astrology article), a mainstream study debunking Sun sign astrology shouldn't be represented as a general refutation of the entire field of astrology.
--Other Choices (talk) 02:37, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it is better to say that astrology hasn't been "scientifically" proven to work..
I'm glad we agree. Let us also agree that the correct thing to do is suspend belief until evidence is presented. TippyGoomba (talk) 03:38, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't expect anybody to believe anything without evidence. Regarding astrology, my judgment that certain astrological techniques are useful tools is based on the accumulation of evidence over many years. (I taught myself the meanings of the symbols, and then tried out the basic system to see how it worked, focusing especially on the transits of planets to significant points in my own horoscope and the horoscopes of family and friends.) However, I doubt that any of this evidence qualifies as scientific, because of its inherent subjective element, including my interpretation of the meaning of the symbols, as well as my evaluation of my own experiences and my conclusions about the motivations and behavior patterns of others.
--Other Choices (talk) 10:16, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
By saying Astrology is not scientifically testable what you are in fact saying is there is no evidence, otherwise it is falsifiable. Therefore you can't expect anybody to believe. You can't say have it both ways by saying there is evidence and there is not. IRWolfie- (talk) 13:17, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
The qualifier scientific seems like an honorific in the sense you're using it. I could replace it with real or convincing. For example, you have evidence but it's not real evidence.
Regardless, please give the evidence. I hope your personal experience was not the evidence. If so, I have a whole ward full of Napoleons you should meet. TippyGoomba (talk) 14:56, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
@IRWolfie: we need to be careful with our use of words. I did not say that "astrology is not scientifically testable." I carefully said that astrology is not amenable to (that is, well-suited for) scientific testing. In addition, you seem to be of the opinion that scientific evidence is the only type of evidence. Perhaps you could check Evidence (law) to expand your view.
@TippyGoomba: Perhaps you misunderstand my use of the word "scientific." As I indicated above, my evidence is based on my personal experience, which is of negligible value as scientific evidence. Speaking from personal experience, I think that the evidence of my perceptions is of high value, but of course I realize that any description of my personal experiences has little value for people who don't know me to be an honest and reliable witness. By the way, I really don't believe that you have a ward full of Napoleons.
Perhaps if it was possible for 50 or 100 scientists to familiarize themselves with the astrological symbols and try out the system for themselves as I did, that would serve as a fair test. However, it is hard to imagine such a test taking place, which is why I said that astrology is not amenable to scientific testing.
--Other Choices (talk) 03:33, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I did not misunderstand you. You're using the word scientific as an honorific. Your personal experience is not evidence. The amount of evidence you have put forth remains at zero, thus we stick with the null hypothesis. Got anything else? TippyGoomba (talk) 04:44, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Your use of the word honorific appears to be idiosyncratic. You may recall that this section is entitled "evidence against astrology." You have not provided any evidence against astrology, and the null hypothesis is just a hypothesis. I told you how to find evidence for or against astrology: test drive the system and see how it works. Then you can decide for yourself. If you have not done that, and if you have not provided any other evidence against astrology, then it seems illogical and presumptuous to make the assumption that astrology has no value.
--Other Choices (talk) 08:56, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Let me clarify, the evidence against astrology is the same as that which is against Russell's teapot; astrology has not fulfilled its burden of proof. TippyGoomba (talk) 15:20, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I presume that you mean the burden of proof to be deemed scientific. I make no claim that astrology, as I understand it, is scientific. However, for whatever it's worth, here is a link to an academic researcher who claims to have found a link between astrological patterns and fertility. I haven't studied this and am not endorsing this claim, but this research fits the scientific criteria of falsifiability and repeatability.
--Other Choices (talk) 08:44, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Pat Harris has appeared here on WP personally a couple of times, not as an editor, but in her capacity as editor of the sham journal "Correlations" to defend the journal. She failed miserably. Her claims, no surprise, have zero scientific merit. You're still scraping at the bottom of the barrel. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 10:02, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps I should clarify whether you mean that Harris's claims about integrating astrology with fertility research have zero scientific merit. For all I know, her claims have been debunked in a peer-reviewed journal. Is that the case? The only thing I found with a google search was an exchange of letters in 2009 here.
If you have a link handy for her appearance here at wikipedia, I'd be interested in checking it out. If your dismissal of her fertility research is solely based on your impression of her attempt to defend "Correlation," it is natural to wonder if you might have jumped to conclusions.
--Other Choices (talk) 10:40, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── That ain't how it works. She has to publish it in a REAL peer-reviewed journal, or else we, as WP editors, can assume it's junk. Scientifcally, it is not worth debunking, which is why nobody has even bothered. There are gazillions of patently ridiculous claims such as hers out there and hers is no more credible or plausible than the rest. Here is the Account she used to pose to RSN and Jimbo's talk page: user: Click on "User contributions" to go to the articles she has edited. You're going to have a hard time accomplishing anything here if you have no idea how science works and you get your information from worthless in-universe sources. Read up on real science, first. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 11:20, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

WP: PRIMARY and the natural law article[edit]

Hi Leucosticte, I want to say thanks for getting involved in the natural law article, but a word to the wise... the paragraph that you added was based entirely on primary sources, which can be problematical here at wikipedia, per WP:PRIMARY. I'm not inclined to revert what you wrote, but somebody else might. I think that Cato's Letters is definitely worth mentioning in the article, but ideally we should report what a secondary source wrote about Cato's Letters, and then perhaps illustrate with a direct quote.
Best regards, --Other Choices (talk) 02:30, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

I realize you're just the messenger, but the epistemological reasoning behind Wikipedia's concerns with this sort of primary source escapes me. I think Point #2 raises a valid concern that secondary sources can be less reliable than primary sources. A secondary source involves a synthesis of different primary sources, sometimes with the author's own insights mixed in, which makes it partly a primary source. I also wonder whether there are very many truly primary sources out there, because almost everything is a derivative work in some way or another. Even Cato's Letters are largely based on ideas taken from other sources; they frequently cite ancient texts, for instance, in their arguments.
The coverage of natural law is not a particularly contentious subject among Wikipedians; if they were battling over what to put in the article, then they might use PRIMARY as a reason to remove the content. And that is what my concern is with rules that don't make much sense — people will ignore them when it suits their purposes, and then whip out that policy as an excuse for removing content they, for unrelated reasons, don't want to have remain on Wikipedia. Perhaps you've seen this happen at AfD before — if it's a topic that people are opposed to and want to have Wikipedia participate in a media blackout on, they'll use notability, verifiability, etc. concerns as an excuse, perhaps even stretching those policies a bit to make them fit the situation. They can get away with it as long as enough people go along with it. Leucosticte (talk) 03:10, 26 June 2012 (UTC)


Hi - saw your post on the talk page and responded there. Not sure at the moment where I'm standing on this. This should be a place of access to information but it's turning into a place where everything possible is being done to squash any kind of alternative thought. Ridiculous really - what is ever 'mainstream' for more than a while? Mainstream is constantly changing, when something that is first defined as 'fringe' gains more popularity. So preserving the right to at least report the 'fringy' stuff is important to me, and it makes it hard to turn a blind eye to the farces. I'll let the tag issue go (for now) and see how things go. I'm poised to instigate an official complaint about someone in particular, so again I'll see how things go. Hard to decide right now whether, for me, it's best to push on or back-off. If I'm not active at any time and you want some advice drop me a note on my talk page. I'm about to blank that which is why I replied here. Cheers -- Zac Δ talk! 04:52, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Removing redirect[edit]

Please read WP:NDDD. Very carefully. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 02:51, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Okay, thanks.--Other Choices (talk) 07:02, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Deletion review for Mundane astrology[edit]

An editor has asked for a deletion review of Mundane astrology. Because you closed the deletion discussion for this page, speedily deleted it, or otherwise were interested in the page, you might want to participate in the deletion review. -- Zac Δ talk! 22:36, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Astrology talk page comment[edit]

Out of curiosity: how might my "understanding of reality" be "limited by empiricism," as you say? Can you be specific about what these limits are? As concisely as possible, of course. Arc de Ciel (talk) 03:50, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Empiricism, by its nature, limits the field of inquiry, excluding questions like the meaning of life, or of particular life experiences. Then there is the relevance of empiricism to morality; see here. Regarding astrology, the lack of any measurable influence by the planets on humans leads empiricists to summarily dismiss the possibility of regular correlations between the movements of the planets (in relation to their position at one's birth) and one's inner experience of reality (with the connecting thread being the symbolism attached to the individual planets as part of the astrological system). This proposition is simply too far-fetched for most scientists; but if one is willing to give the system a test drive, suddenly there exists a lifetime of observations with which to test it.--Other Choices (talk) 06:33, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Nope, that is not true. it was not summarily dismissed, in fact it was tested, it just turns out that astrologers can't make predictions based on these "correlations" at a rate greater than chance. Here are some questions I find interesting: If astrologers can only make vague wishy washy predictions, what's the point in even thinking about it? If astrologers can't make predictions and test their ideas in anyway, how do they know their field of study isn't just a brain fart? Why is the moment of birth significant, why not the moment of conception? Also, what is the difference between what astrologers do and what psychics do? Why do astrologers limit their study to the planets etc in our solar system? IRWolfie- (talk) 12:29, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
What he said, plus, according to your own reasoning, you would have no basis for saying that astrology has any more validity than any other form of divination, including reading tea leaves or flinging feces at a wall and interpreting the patterns. In fact, there shit-based divinitation isn't something I just made up. It exists, and has existed since antiquity. We even have an article on it. See: Scatomancy. By accepting astrology as valid, you are obliging yourself to accept any such nonsense as valid, too. You open yourself up to all kinds of scams, from faith healing to creationism to "alternative medicine" to conspiracy theories. A non-critical mind is a wasted mind.
On another astral plane, IRWolfie asks "what is the difference between what astrologers do and what psychics do?". This is a good point, as there is no difference. Both use an assortment of stage tricks to fool their "patients" like cold reading, hot reading, shotgunning, Barnum statements and, most importantly, telling people what they want to hear. Watch Penn Jillette and Teller's TV series "Bullshit". Or this YouTude video [[3]] of Derren Brown performing an oft repeated experiment designed by James Randi. All four of these individuals are former stage magicians who know really how the game works. You'll learn a lot more about life and yourself from them than from dicking around with astrolgy. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 13:09, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

How do you get from "meaning and morality are outside empiricism" to "scientific dismissal of astrology is unjustified" (and the rest of the reply as well)? Taking into account IRWolfie and DV's comments, of course.

This turned out way longer than I thought it would, but one of my majors was philosophy. I won't be offended if it doesn't get read but I think I made some good points. I would agree with the statement that meaning and morality are outside the realm of empiricism in a specific context. Ethics, for instance, is either a purely rationalistic enterprise (i.e. deontology, utility, virtue, social contract, subjectivism and egoism) or an irrationalistic enterprise (e.g. divine commandment). One could maybe argue that in some respect evolutionary morality is empirical but that is a question I have not considered and would have to think about.
However, as Wolfie pointed out, this has nothing to do with astrology. Ethics is a branch of philosophy that necessarily deals with abstract thought based upon rational argument while astrology makes metaphysical and epistemological statements that are incongruous with empirical observations and rational argument.
An ethical statement can't be "wrong" in the sense that a physical fact can contradict it, or that it can be proven by means of observation to be false; only a moral fact (as defined by James Rachels in Elements of Moral Philosophy, 4th ed) based upon better reasoning can contradict and prove false an ethical statement. Ethics doesn't attempt to make physical statements about the world and is thus void of empirical consideration.
Astrology is not a system of abstract argument, it is a metaphysical world view that makes empirical statements about the universe. Even if we ignore the claim that there is a causative relationship and focus only on correlation, astrology still makes empirical statements about the universe that can, to the extent that they claim a relationship of any kind, be tested. Astrology cannot be argued for in the same way that an ethical system can be argued for because it claims a different kind of fact.
What astrology needs in order to be substantiated is observable evidence and this is where it fails. If it was the case that people had truly discovered a relationship between celestial events and terrestrial concerns (actually we have discovered many such relationships and have explained them well, such as sunspots and warming cycles, the moon and tides, etc), science would of course be attempting to find a way to explain it, because it would be pretty god damned amazing. If it was the case that there were people on the earth who could read people based on the stars it would be the immediate cause célèbre of every physicist and biologist on the planet to attempt to explain. And eventually we would explain it, and it would be integrated into the rest of the scientific body of knowledge.
All the philosophizing and arguing about definitions and pseudoscience on talk.astrolgy aside, the simple fact of the matter is that astrology is a hypothesis that a certain type of relationship exists, and if it was true it should be overwhelmingly easy to demonstrate. You can argue about abstract possibilities and concepts all day, but when you want to demonstrate a relationship in the physical universe you should simply be able to point to the evidence and say "Here, see this, this is why astrology is true. Here, in quantifiable experiment, is your evidence." But you can't do that, and neither can anyone else. You have to ask yourself if it really makes sense that you have to spend all your time defending astrology based on why it's not impossible rather than simply being able to positively demonstrate that it's true. This is what the sciences do: if you hear a claim about biology, physics, astronomy, etc, you can demand that evidence be presented and evidence will be. When I ask for evidence of astrology I get platitudes about why astrology doesn't need the same type of evidence as other claims. But it does need that kind of evidence, because it's the same type as any other scientific claim. Sædontalk 03:25, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I read it. :-) I'm pretty interested in philosophy (and I've taken a few courses in it, but not nearly enough to give me a degree). Arc de Ciel (talk) 04:43, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh btw, I didn't mention that I majored in philosophy to brag, just to explain why I was so verbose. When I went back and read that I realized that it sounded pretentious. Sædontalk 05:30, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

You'll also have to support that first claim, e.g. by defining what meaning and morality are (in terms that do not themselves have to be defined), before anyone can evaluate it properly. Arc de Ciel (talk) 02:30, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Replies to everybody

@Saedon, I took your philosophy mention to indicate your interest in discussing this type of topic, which I welcome.
@Arc de Ciel, I'm going to defer to Saedon's comments on meaning and morality. I offered them (together with astrology) as examples of the limits of empiricism; yes, astrology is a different case from the other two.
@IRWolfie, your reply didn't address what I said was summarily dismissed: the possibility of regular correlations between the movements of the planets (in relation to their position at one's birth) and one's inner experience of reality. Your assertion that astrology has been tested apparently refers to the Carlson experiment, which brings up three separate issues:
(1) How wikipedia editors should handle Carlton and his critics.
(2) The arguments of Carlton and his critics taken on their merits.
(3) The relevance of Carlton's test to the study and practice of astrology.
Regarding (1), I'll reply to Saedon's recent comment on the astrology talk page in due course. Regarding (2), I haven't examined the arguments of Carlton's critics, and I probably won't bother, because, regarding (3), Carlton's experiment is simply irrelevant to my own understanding and use of astrology.
@DV, my personal observations of the movements of the planets in relation to their position at my time of birth, correlated with changes in my perceptions, thoughts, emotional patterns, and outer-world experiences, have nothing to do with the issue of manipulative tricks used by fortune-tellers, although the issue you raise is indeed a disturbing feature in the world of astrology.
@Saedon, your assertion that astrology should be overwhelmingly easy to demonstrate might be based on a misunderstanding of, or at least a different view from, my understanding of astrology. There's a subtle but fundamental point here, in my opinion. In any case, your statement can be read as an invitation or challenge to give an example, which I will be happy to do, for the consideration of all. However, this edit is getting rather long, so I'll discuss the example -- the positions of the planets at the time I accused DV of bullying and got slapped by the administrators -- later, hopefully tomorrow.--Other Choices (talk) 09:46, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Not 100% sure what you mean by "one's inner experience of reality", but it seems contrary to claims by astrologers. If "one's inner experience of reality" is changed then it will change how you act, this is amenable to testing: psychologists do do work on astrology, note that the current "Modern scientific appraisal" section isn't exhaustive. Note that I raised several questions as well if you wish to address them, it will help me understand the thoughts of astrologers as well, which would surely be beneficial in my editing of the article. IRWolfie- (talk) 11:35, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
One's inner experience of reality includes things like moods, emotional patterns, attitudes toward life, dreams, inspirations, etc., as well as sense perceptions. Of course all of this affects personal behavior and is affected by outer-world events, but there isn't a one-to-one correspondence, which makes scientific testing of astrological transits difficult.
You offered a link to medical astrology as an apparent opposing view, but please keep in mind that medical astrology is part of the old, lost astrological world view before astrology's near-death experience in the 19th century. However, a recent trend (over the past two decades or so) has been for astrologers to begin to take an interest in this lost heritage of their craft. One of the leaders in this effort is Robert Hand, who is currently studying for a Ph.D in medieval history, so presumably he will eventually add to our supply of reliable sources for wikipedia articles. Perhaps Pat Harris's efforts in fertility research are based on this revival of old stuff, but she is not a good example of a mainstream astrologer. However, she is an excellent example of the impulse within astrology toward academic respectability these days.
I'll highlight your questions and share my thoughts. Please understand that I'm trying to be brief, not thorough:
Why is the moment of birth significant, why not the moment of conception?
Practically speaking, the moment of conception is often unknowable, while the moment of birth is obvious. For whatever it's worth, birth is the moment when we become biologically autonomous, beginning to breathe for the first time.
Why do astrologers limit their study to the planets etc in our solar system?
The planets etc. move through the zodiac, so they easily attract attention. Fatalistic ancient and medieval astrology also used the fixed stars, which didn't make the transition to modern "psychological" astrology. In modern astrology, Philip Sedgwick recommends taking into account the Galactic Center (and the super-galactic center), but his style of communication ("astro-babble" is an acquired taste) won't impress people like DV. These days, astrologers face the problem of information overload with all the objects that have been discovered within the solar system in recent decades, so they have to pick and choose what to focus on.
Also, what is the difference between what astrologers do and what psychics do?
Astrology is an intellectual system, the rules of which can be applied without resorting to gut feelings or intuition or extra-sensory input. However, I think it's fair to say that astrology can provide the "raw material" for a type of divination, and perhaps this is an essential part of what astrologers do. For what astrologers actually do or try to do, I understand that Stephen Arroyo's Practicing the Cosmic Science has become a standard manual for aspiring professionals who want to be more than just fortune-tellers.
If astrologers can only make vague wishy washy predictions, what's the point in even thinking about it? If astrologers can't make predictions and test their ideas in anyway, how do they know their field of study isn't just a brain fart?
The foundation of the system simply isn't "scientific" in the modern sense, but astrologers (even amateurs like me) can and do make specific predictions. A couple personal examples for your consideration:
I read the horoscope of an acquaintance at work. She had the Moon in Aries, quincunx Mars. This was an example of "saying the same thing twice," so it was a no-brainer to predict that this woman had a problem with her temper. She told me that I was right.
Transiting Pluto was approaching a conjunction to the position of Jupiter in my younger brother's horoscope. Because of what I knew about my brother's character, I privately predicted (to a third party) that my brother would develop a gambling addiction. To my horror, my prediction turned out to be correct. This example highlights the point that astrology doesn't pretend to give complete information. A Pluto transit to one's natal Jupiter can manifest in many different ways (hence the typical vagueness of astrological predictions), and I would have never have made the specific prediction if I hadn't known my brother well. On a professional level, by the same token, it stands to reason that astrological counseling becomes more effective as the counselor gets to know the client better.
--Other Choices (talk) 02:33, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Your answer to the birth question suggests it has no deeper meaning other than being handy for astrologers (babies aren't biologically autonomous). On the planets, "so they have to pick and choose what to focus on" suggests that they arbitrarily decide, considering that there are most likely over a hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone. On your last answer, the problem with anecdotes is that they are anecdotal evidence and can suffer with confirmation bias, similar predictions but done with more individuals and with rigorous conditions fail. May be interesting [4]. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:53, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
  • By "biologically autonomous," I was referring to the fact that newborn babies are no longer directly dependent on their mothers' circulatory systems for essential nutrients, oxygen, and waste removal. If you prefer a different term, that is fine with me.
  • I agree that much of the foundation of astrology is arbitrary. Perhaps the best example of that is Ptolemy's establishment of the starting point of the zodiac in relation to the Sun's position at the vernal equinox, divorcing the signs of the zodiac from the constellations. It seems that "scientific" would-be debunkers of astrology have a particularly hard time with this.
  • In my mind, the issue is whether, and to what extent, application of the astrological system produces interesting and useful results.
  • I have the following criticisms of the youtube video that you linked: (1) It misrepresents the basic premise of astrology, and consequently mishandles other issues, including the embarrassing display of ignorance regarding twins; (2) It botches the sidereal vs. tropical issue; and (3) It focuses most of its energy on debunking Sun sign astrology, which isn't taken seriously by professional astrologers, either. Zarka's criticism of astrology is much better done, but once again it mishandles the basic premise of modern western astrology.
  • I understand the limitations of anecdotal evidence; I'm not going to convince you no matter how many stories I tell about my own observations and experience. However, I am inclined to question your statement that "similar predictions" have failed. Similar in what way? In my first example, I applied the interpretative principle of "saying the same thing twice" as I predicted someone's unflattering character trait and elicited a surprised confession that my statement was correct. In the second case, I combined the astrological meaning of an impending transit with my personal knowledge of my brother's character flaw and successfully predicted the impending emergence of a full-blown psychological disorder. I would be surprised to discover that there have been scientific tests covering similar issues; perhaps your use of the word "similar" doesn't fit well here. The following critique of the Carlson experiment may be interesting: link, and here's a rebuttal; but here is a more recent critique of Carlson; I'd be interested in knowing about any rebuttals. And here is James Brockbank's recent Ph.D dissertation.
--Other Choices (talk) 23:46, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Few comments and questions:
  1. What is the significance to astrology of not requiring the mothers circulatory system directly?
  2. If it's arbitrary it sounds like you can make anything else up as you go along and it will work just as well.
  3. It seems likely that the majority of the public who believe in astrology don't know the different between sun sign astrology and any other form of astrology. So you accept that sun sign astrology is rubbish?
  4. Here is a suggestion for you to try out. Next time you build a personal chart or whatever you do to find out about a persons character, do it four or five times, with some rubbish data thrown in, such as the wrong birth date etc. See if the person can spot which of the predicted character traits descriptions is the right one. Try and not give away any clues as they look at them. Keep a log book noting success or failure and see how things turn out. Presumably it should work near 100% of the time if astrology was correct. Of course be aware that it's not a double blind test either. IRWolfie- (talk) 13:47, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Deleting your own comments[edit]

In connection with your recent edit here: [5], where you also deleted my comment, you may want to read WP:TALK and more specifically WP:REDACT. Thanks. MakeSense64 (talk) 14:17, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

It's only appropriate to delete another editors comment if it's blatant vandalism or a personal attack etc, or if you have their permission. IRWolfie- (talk) 17:10, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Oops, that was totally inadvertent, and I apologize. Things were getting hot on the talk page and I wanted to quickly delete my own comment to avoid adding fuel to the fire. That's all.--Other Choices (talk) 22:01, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
No worries, it's just good to note. IRWolfie- (talk) 22:45, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

"astrological knowledge"?[edit]

The other section was getting a bit long, so here are my replies to IRWolfie's questions above.
(1) The significance is in the point of change, which is arguably fundamental. Traditionally, birth, and death are the "vital" points in one's life (as witnessed by the phrase "vital records"), and astrology reflects this emphasis on birth rather than conception.
(2) It's not completely arbitrary; it's built on ancient tradition, and as time goes by some innovations catch on (because they are seen to provide useful results), while others don't. But at all times there is a core tradition to work with, even if the contents of this core slowly change with the passing of the centuries.
(3) I am leery of the word "rubbish" as a pejorative with little intellectual content. I understand that there is actually a system to sun sign astrology (when done conscientiously and not arbitrarily made up by a columnist with a vivid imagination), but sun sign astrology is by nature so badly out of focus (due to its extreme generalization) that it has little use other than entertainment value for people who are easily amused (which isn't too far from your word "rubbish").
(4) I rarely read horoscopes for other people, and when I do so I begin by announcing that I'm not very good at it. In my mind, the real action in astrology is with the transits of planets, with their periodic angular interactions with important points in my own or others' horoscopes. I'll give a couple examples, as this general approach would seem to be more conducive to scientific testing.
--Last month, on June 17 and 18, there was an exact three-planet configuration involving Mars, Saturn, and Eris which exactly aspected important points in my own horoscope. (Mars = conflict; Saturn = authority; Eris = discord and relating to a consensus view.) The symbolic meaning of all this correlates closely with what actually happened in my life at this time: I formally accused Dominus Vobisdu of bullying and got slapped by the administrators. This whole incident grew out of a wiki-coincidence where Saedon and I made posts at exactly the same time.
--Reflecting on this incident, I was struck by this wiki-coincidence that set in motion several hours of negativity that would never have happened otherwise, so I went back and checked my transits and found the three-planet configuration that I mentioned above. While looking at this I noticed that on July 17-18 an exact T-square (one planet making simultaneous 90-degree angles to two other planets that are opposite each other) would form between Mars, Uranus, and Pluto, suggesting things like ideological (Uranus) disputes (Mars) and power struggles (Pluto). This T-square was going to form close challenging aspects to my natal Moon (emotions), which forewarned me to focus on staying calm and detached during this period of likely volatility. (I can't think of any more volatile astrological three-planet combination than Mars, Uranus, and Pluto, and of course "tension" is fundamental to the meaning of the T-square.)
--July 17 and 18 was was the period of the AN/I trial and banning of Zac and the subsequent heated exchanges on the astrology talk page, featureing Saedon's beautifully-but-unintentionally ironic pronouncement that "there is no 'astrological knowledge' - there is only mutual masturbation amongst crackpots who don't have the wherewithal to realize they have no idea what they're talking about." Since I had been astrologically forewarned that this was a likely period of emotional tension and volatility for me, I had sufficient composure to simply walk away from Saedon's insulting language.--Other Choices (talk) 07:41, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Hi OC. All this doesn't matter for editing WP at all. For example #(3), we don't care whether simplified sun sign astrology is rubbish or not, we simply report neutrally on all forms of astrology as long as they are sufficiently covered in sources we deem reliable. Some Vedic astrologers may consider Western astrology rubbish because it uses tropical zodiac, a Chinese astrologer may think it is stupid to consider asteroids like Vesta, and so on...
But wikipedia is not the place to conduct that kind of debates. These debates should happen within the astrology community (e.g. in dedicated blogs, forums or astrology journals). We simply "report" and sun sign astrology is sufficiently notable to get covered in our article. It's not our job to discuss and judge about it, because that would get us into original research WP:OR. MakeSense64 (talk) 09:53, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes sorry, I was just asking him some questions about astrology in general as I was curious (hence why on his user talkpage). IRWolfie- (talk) 12:02, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Thomas Jefferson[edit]

Hi! This edit actually changes the meaning by limiting the view to TJ's fellow slaveowners. The view was, in fact, much more universal, as Ambrose makes clear. Even though the sentence has been changed from a direct quote to a statement drawn from a source, the source must still be accurately represented. Please revert your edit. The sentence was not awkward as it stood and is now not true to the source. Thanks. Yopienso (talk) 04:55, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, I respectfully disagree. I'll open a new section on the TJ talk page and see what people think.--Other Choices (talk) 05:11, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
OK! :-) Yopienso (talk) 05:17, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your recent improvement: "a conviction that became even more firmly entrenched as he got older." Yopienso (talk) 09:02, 21 September 2012 (UTC)


You are mentioned in this Astrology newsletter here: [6], see WP:FTN for more context. IRWolfie- (talk) 15:09, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Er, thanks for the heads-up. I never thought of editing for wikipedia as a path to notoriety. Perhaps it's just as well that the author/editor of that rather hysterical opinion piece mangled the formatting of my quote from the astrology talk page. As the saying goes, "Context matters." The author does raise an interesting question about the power of wikipedia as a gate-keeper of socially appropriate thought. But his vision of wikipedia being the catalyst or spearhead of a new outbreak of anti-astrology prejudice seems far-fetched. In my opinion, the obvious antidote for such a scenario is for the astrological community to continue its slow march toward regular publication in reliable sources that aren't "in-universe." If the editor of that newsletter were to advocate such a course instead of agitating for a lawsuit against wikipedia, his time and effort would be much better spent.--Other Choices (talk) 08:51, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Dharma and Natural Law[edit]

This page is about the term in Indian religions. For other uses, see Other Choices (disambiguation).
Dharma About this sound listen  (Sanskrit: धर्म dhárma, Pali: धम्म dhamma; lit. that which upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe[1]) means Law or Natural Law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. As well as referring to Law in the universal or abstract sense dharma designates those behaviours considered necessary for the maintenance of the natural order of things.[2] Therefore dharma may encompass ideas such as duty,[3] vocation, religion and all behaviour considered appropriate, correct or morally upright. The idea of dharma as duty or propriety derives from an idea found in India's ancient legal and religious texts that there is a divinely instituted natural order of things (rta) and justice, social harmony and human happiness require that human beings discern and live in a manner appropriate to the requirements of that order. The guidelines and rules regarding what was condsidered appropriate behaviours for human beings accumulated in a body of literature called Dharmasastra.[4] In these texts civil law is inextricably linked to religion. The sastras include instructions on the correct way to perform religious rites and rituals as well as the way to lead a morally pure life. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism as bodies of teaching on the way to achieve salvation (moksha) all have the idea of dharma at their core particularly in that sense in which it pertains to the law regarding the purification and moral transformation of human beings. Though differing in some particulars all concur that the goal of human life is moksha or nirvana in which the ultimate nature of dharma (as cosmic law) is apprehended experientially.

--Pawyilee (talk) 01:39, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Dharma and western natural law are two separate ideas and each has its own article. They have striking similarities, but an important difference: In the classical western tradition observance of natural law leads to happiness; where in the Indian tradition dharma leads to moksha. Happiness and moksha are definitely not interchangeable.
If we don't have a reliable source that discusses dharma in relation to natural law, then I will suggest adding a brief sentence to the lede of the natural law article (not a separate section within the body of the article), something like "Natural law, classically understood as the rules governing proper moral behavior, is similar to the Indian concept of dharma." Of course other editors might have their own views concerning such an addition, but I would support it.--Other Choices (talk) 04:05, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I'll be satisfied as long as each article links to the other.—Pawyilee (talk) 16:27, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Support for your point of view
...In a few systems of law, the elaborate books of the cloistered jurists represented mainly their own elaborations of detail as to what the law ought to be; but they did not necessarily represent what the law really was in practice. This was the case with the Celtic law treatises, and with those of the Brahman and the Buddhist juristic writers. A long controversy on this subject arose in India in the late 1800's, between the English jurists who were administering Brahman law in the British courts. Mr. Lingat has pointed out the same feature in the Buddhist books:
"The dharmasastras [books of law] are not ordinary legal treatises expounding the actual law of the country. The science of law was connected with the study of Veda [religious texts]. The latter leads to the study of the rules which necessarily control human societies and are independent of human wills. It reveals to men the principles which should inspire their conduct if they wish to live the meritorious life. They are thus analogous to the European 'natural law.' But while the European theorists of the 'natural law' seldom went beyond the vague region of generalities and the exposition of fundamental principles, the Hindus proceeded to deduce from these principles a mass of detailed and precise rules. Thus the dharmasastras, while theoretically expounding only natural (not positive) law, in fact regulated the entire legal life of man. Hence they were liable to be mistaken for genuine legal treatises."' (Lingat, L'Influence Indoue dans l'ancien Droit Siamois (Paris 1937) 18.)
  1. ^ This philosophical definition is accepted and common to both Hinduism and Buddhism
  2. ^ "...the order and custom which make life and a universe possible, and thus to the behaviours appropriate to the maintenance of that order." citation in The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions
  3. ^ Carol Henderson Garcia Culture and customs of India. 2002, page 31
  4. ^ Gächter, Othmar (1998),). "Anthropos". Anthropos institute.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Wigmore, John H. (Digitized 2012) [Originally published 1940]. "Pramnŏn Kŏtmai Roc'ăkan T'I Nŭng Cŭlăcăkărăt 1166. (Code of the first reign [of Siam] 1166 [A.D. 1804-05]). Edited by [[Robert Lingat|R. Lingat]], from the Official Manuscripts of the Triple Seal. Bangkok, Vols. I, II, 1939; Vol. III (in press)." [(Thai) ประมวลกฎมาย รัชกาลที่ ๑ จุลศักราช ๑๑๕๕]. Louisiana Law Review. at DigitalCommons. Vol. 2: 567. Retrieved February 20, 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help); URL–wikilink conflict (help)

Law of Thailand[edit]

Would appreciate your putting this on your watch list: User:Pawyilee/Sandbox\Laws_of_Thailand. --Pawyilee (talk) 16:33, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

As currently written, that article refers to an "immutable natural law that was revealed" by so-and-so. That would seem to be an oxymoron. To use a classical western comparison, the divine law, as revealed in the Bible, was considered to be separate from but compatible with natural law, which was found by the application of reason to human nature. Natural law and divine law were two separate foundations of the English common law, in which "reason" was the preferred synonym for natural law.
The classic common-law handbook for translating natural law principles into judicial decisions was Christopher St. Germain's Doctor and Student (1518). Thomas Jefferson specialized in this area of law (equity), as did his mentor George Wythe.--Other Choices (talk) 08:45, 24 February 2013 (UTC)


Don't edit war your changes in, discuss them per WP:BRD. More importantly I suggest you read WP:PLAGIARISM. IRWolfie- (talk) 12:10, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

You introduced text, I reverted it. The onus is on you to get consensus for the change, not edit war your text into the article, IRWolfie- (talk) 12:16, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Regarding WP:PLAGIARISM, I don't think you know what you're talking about. If you'd like to quote a sentence, I'll explain why it doesn't apply to my edit at the History of Astrology article.
Regarding edit warring, you should practice what you preach -- you just broke WP:3RR. Your flimsy excuses for reverting my post are simply WP:IDONTLIKEIT.--Other Choices (talk) 12:22, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I provided my reasons, now discuss it and gain consensus. I did not violate WP:3RR and I have highlighted your clear plagiarism on the talk page, IRWolfie- (talk) 12:36, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
You might want to view the history of edits at the History of astrology article here: you reverted my edit at 20:57, at 21:08, and at 21:15.
And your repeated groundless accusation of plagiarism (as I cited my source -- twice -- immediately at the edit that I made) seems to be a clear case of harassment.
I suggest you read the policy about plagiarism before accusing me of harassment ... IRWolfie- (talk) 14:04, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Your false insinuation that I haven't read the policy on plagiarism, combined with your willful failure to discuss the relevant contents of that page, continues your pattern of deliberately obnoxious behavior. Please stop harassing me.--Other Choices (talk) 00:26, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I suggest you ask an admin you trust whether [7] is plagiarism, IRWolfie- (talk) 13:56, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I've asked moonriddengirl (talk · contribs) if she could comment as she is well known for her work with regards to copyright related issues, IRWolfie- (talk) 14:02, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Once again, please stop harassing me.--Other Choices (talk) 14:28, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

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