Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience

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Case Opened on 11:13, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Case Closed on 02:38, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Case Amended by motion on 18:58, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Case Amended by motion on 14:32, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Case Amended by motion on 12:34, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Case Amended by motion on 22:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Case Amended by motion on 11:22, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

Please do not edit this page directly unless you wish to become a participant in this request. (All participants are subject to Arbitration Committee decisions, and the ArbCom will consider each participant's role in the dispute.) Comments are very welcome on the Talk page, and will be read, in full. Evidence, no matter who can provide it, is very welcome at /Evidence. Evidence is more useful than comments.

Arbitrators will be working on evidence and suggesting proposed decisions at /Workshop and voting on proposed decisions at /Proposed decision.


Involved parties[edit]

Statement by iantresman[edit]

A small number of editors appear to be excluding or misrepresenting some minority scientific views, with a variety of techniques that I think are best described in the article on pseudoscepticism (a false skepticism). This results in (a) some scientific articles giving exclusive coverage of the mainstream scientific point of view (POV), as if it were the only view, while policy notes that the scientific POV should give way to the broader neutral POV, (b) Articles on some minority scientific views being over-critical.

I offer two articles as examples, in summary. If the case is accepted, there are many more examples available, and I hope to get a number of areas of policy clarified.

Example 1

1. The article Eric Lerner is about the plasma physicist,[1][2], science writer [e.g. [3]], and peer reviewed author [4] (all verifiable).

While some of his work is indeed controversial, a number of editors are of the opinion that Lerner or his work (e.g. plasma cosmology) are pseudoscience [5] [6] [7] [8] (or worse [9]). I have requested a verifiable source supporting this position [10], but without success.

I believe that the following editing examples are based on the unsubstantiated perception of pseudoscience, resulting in pseudoscepticism and deviation from Wiki policy:

  • Removal of Lerner's verifiable label as a "plasma cosmologist" [11] or "physicist"[12], apparently because it does not meet certain editor's unverifiable criteria for these terms.
  • Removal of Lerner's writing awards [13]
  • Discrediting his "theories" by calling them "ideas" [14]
  • Removing positive reviews, and replacing them with negative ones [15], or including negative reviews [16] based on unreliable sources [17]
  • Changing Lerner's verifiable BA in Physics [18] to the suggestion that it's "self-stated"[19]
  • Removal of Lerner's scientific presentation [20]

Based on those edits from ScienceApologist and some of his others edits in other articles, I made a Personal Attack report [21] which subsequently results in a heated discussion [22].

Example 2

2. The article on Redshift is written from a typical mainstream astronomy point of view. But like some other mainstream articles, it nearly totally excludes some minority scientific views, to a point I consider pseudosceptical, and consequently contravene policy.

For example, alternative redshift theories are extensively described in peer reviewed literatures. For example, in 1981, H. J. Reboul summarised over 500 papers on the subject [23]. Many other papers have appeared since then [24] [25] [26], and several hundred scientists have questioned the traditional view of redshift [27]

Typical edits which demonstrate the issue are as follows:

  • Regarding the Wolf effect (a type of redshift mechanism), denial that it is a "proper" redshift [28], or suggestion that it is not generally recognised as a redshift [29], even though it is well accepted in the field of optics [30] where the original paper on the subject has over 100 citations, and verifiable citations call it a "new redshift mechanism".
  • Removal of mention of alternative redshift theories,[31] including "See also" links [32], despite them being related subjects.
  • More accusations against scientists who research alternative theories [33]


In addition to editor ScienceApologist, I've also singled out Administrator FeloniousMonk who I believe is acting in an uncivil manner at best. For example, while trying to clarify NPOV, he unilaterally and without warning, removed my discussion to my talk page, preventing other editors from commenting [34]. And while I don't mind being described as a "well-known pseudoscience POV pusher"[35][36], I feel it is uncivil to not provide an explanation on request [37], and an abuse of administrator priviliges to react in such a heavy-handed manner [38] when a "simple content dispute" this is not. Again, I think the reaction is an example of pseudoscepticism.

Question to FeloniousMonk: Could you provide (a) A couple of examples (eg. diffs) illustrating your statement, together with (b) A couple of reliable sources suggesting pseudoscience. --Iantresman 21:50, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Question to ScienceApologist: Since you note that "the scientific community defers to its expert members for evaluation of controversy"[39], and another editor suggest that "[Eric] Lerner .. is likley not 'an expert in physics.' .. He does [not] have 'a doctoral degree.'"[40], perhaps you will provide verification of your statement that you are an expert, for example, your description as "a professor of physics" [41], and confirm your doctorate? --Iantresman 23:15, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Question to Guettarda: I ask you the same question as I asked to FeloniousMonk above. It should be quite easy to demonstrate your point with several examples, which would help myself and the Administrators. --Iantresman 14:15, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by ScienceApologist[edit]

There is conflict between editors who champion pseudoscience, fringe science, etc. like User:Iantresman and the contributions of editors who are familiar and may be considered "mainstream experts" in the material, like myself. I am a fan of the WP:V, WP:NPOV#Undue weight and WP:RS policies/guidelines for determining the tone, tenor, and content of articles. Knowing, for example, that the vast majority of subject-specific literature ignores much of what Ian Tresman would like to see included on certain articles about mainstream subjects is exactly why I demand exclusion or marginalization (in terms of amount of text) of certain points as per the policies and guidelines described. Likewise, on the pages that are devoted to these nonmainstream ideas, it is important to verifiably, reliably, and accurately indicate that the subjects are non-mainstream, derided, and ignored. This puts a bee in Ian's bonnet because ideally he would like to see mainstream pages describe more non-mainstream arguments or he would like to see non-mainstream pages free of mainstream criticism. --ScienceApologist 20:37, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by FeloniousMonk[edit]

I have little to contribute to this RFAR other than to urge the arbitration committee to have a long look at the contributions and actions of it's bringer, User:Iantresman. As a chronic promoter of pro-pseudoscience bias in articles, Iantresman has consistently disrupted pseudoscience article talk pages dismissing WP:NPOV, and has a history of tendentious and disruptive arguments at Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view, where he's sought to weaken Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/FAQ#Pseudoscience and Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#Undue_weight to favor his bias. FeloniousMonk 18:46, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by Elerner[edit]

SA uses the term “marginalized” to blur together very different categories. In SA’s mind, as is clear from his edits and comments both on my “Eric Lerner” page and on many others, “controversial” in science is the same as “discredited pseudoscience.” In his view, anyone with a viewpoint that is in the minority in a field is not only wrong, but not even a scientist.
I hope that I don’t have to convince the arbitrators that this is an attitude that is completely inimical to the scientific enterprise. While many minority viewpoints in science eventually die away, it is equally obvious that almost everything that science has eventually verified was once a minority viewpoint. The most obvious example is the theory of continental drift. Almost everything that geologists thought 60 years ago about geological processes was wrong, because the drift theory was a minority viewpoint for 30 years. The drift theory was for a long while very non-mainstream. But it was not pseudo- science. And, it was right.
No one would doubt that my work in cosmology is controversial. But it would be entirely inaccurate to claim, as SA does, that it is either ignored in the astronomical community or treated as outside the realm of scientific debate.
Pseudoscience is something very different—it is untestable and unverifiable claims that make no reference to the existing body of science. My work is testable and is in the context of plasma physics, a laboratory-verified body of science that is the basis of much of today’s technology.
SA’s edits of my page have systematically aimed to create the false impression that no one in the community takes my work seriously, that I should be grouped with someone like ,say, Velikovsky. For that reason he has eliminated references to my peer-reviewed publications, to leading academic institutions where I have been invited to present my work and to my stay at ESO as a Visiting Astronomer.

That is why it is entirely appropriate to put back in the paragraph about where I have published and spoken and the coverage of my work in leading popular since magazines like New Scientist and Sky and Telescope. As Art Carlson says, such information allows the reader to judge how my view are regarded and to make distinctions between “controversial” and “kooky”, distinctions that SA denies exist.
SA and his colleague BKramer have pursued this campaign against me and everyone else they see as minority thinkers. This has led to ludicrous stunts such as questioning my (BA!) degree from Columbia as “unsourced”. I would like to see anyone’s degree which is publicly sourced to anyone except themselves. University records are not generally on-line!
I think both SA and BKramer should be blocked from my page and from the many other pages that they have defaced with their rampages by confusing minority viewpoints with pseudoscience. And by the way, there is no sourced evidence that SA is any sort of “expert” as he claims to be.

Statement by Ragesoss[edit]

I'm not sure how "involved" I can be considered, but I have observed and occasionally argued against some of the (in my opinion overzealous) anti-pseudoscience efforts of ScienceApologist, FeloniousMonk, and others. I am particularly concerned about the abuse of the "Undue Weight" clause of NPOV policy to overly limit, and in many cases remove altogether, material about non-mainstream or pseudoscientific ideas. Especially in articles about these ideas, the appropriate application of Undue Weight should not invoke the implicit rejection of these ideas by the mainstream scientific community as proof of "tiny minority" status (and thus removal of information); weighting should be based on the verifiable views of those who have discussed such ideas directly. Statements to the effect of "this idea violates such-and-such" or "this is widely considered pseudoscience" (along with specific verifiable critiques by outside sources) should provide all the warning readers need (although providing verifiable information about ideological or political motivations, etc., is often helpful as well). NPOV policy requires that we try to describe opposing viewpoints in ways that supporters of those viewpoints would consider accurate.

As for the related mainstream topics (for example, Redshift vis-a-vis Redshift quantization), I think the policy of removing any mention of non-mainstream ideas is a distortion of the intent of Undue Weight as well. If a non-mainstream or pseudoscience idea is notable enough to have an article, it should be common sense that, at the least, it can be linked as a "see also" from the narrowest-scope mainstream article related to it. So while Redshift quantization should be excluded from Cosmology and Big Bang , it serves readers well to provide a link from Redshift even if Redshift quantization is generally considered pseudoscience (which Iantresman contests and I am not qualified to judge). And often, a more appropriate approach is to include a sentence or two to contextualize the topic as an small minority view or a concept generally recognized as pseudoscience. In this sense, it may be that more (words) is actually less (emphasis).

Bracketing notable non-mainstream ideas into walled gardens makes Wikipedia worse.--ragesoss 19:10, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

If a non-mainstream or pseudoscience idea is notable enough to have an article, it should be common sense that, at the least, it can be linked as a "see also" from the narrowest-scope mainstream article related to it. -- I absolutely disagree. Does Time have Time cube listed in the see also section? The two-stream approach to editting proposes advocated by User:Ragesoss, that articles about major subjects should be linked to all minor subjects is an unreasonable expectation. The one-stream approach is much more reasonable where articles are linked to as the actual content of the article warrants. This means that general subjects will not necessarily link to every minor article that claims influence on the general subject but, obviously, minor articles will link to the general subject. --ScienceApologist 20:40, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
As I've argued before, I don't think Time Cube qualifies as notable non-mainstream science or pseudoscience; it is pseudoscience, but its notability derives from its popularity as an internet meme, and thus it is rightly excluded from Time (and probably should be removed from Theory of everything as well).--ragesoss 23:45, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
So how are you determining notability? --ScienceApologist 20:27, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Time Cube is absolutely legitimate science; and, its fame renders it mainstream knowledge, even if it is excluded from the dogmatic Academic 1-corner mainstream. Time Cube is the truth of the universe, and should be sought by all humans—as well as linked from all applicable Wikipedia articles, including even "Time". You must seek Time Cube. [42] [43]
If it's a cube, how come there aren't six days? Why only four? •Jim62sch• 21:36, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Because the top and the bottom don't count, silly. I bet you're one of those "mainstream" people that think that -1 * -1 = 1. If that's true, then you are just stupid and evil, and we don't have to listen to you anyway. --ScienceApologist 18:40, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
No no no ... its a poetic allegory representing the oneness and beyond-understanding-ness of the multi-universe that can only be felt and not logically disected; but can be emotionally appreciated to great personal satisfaction and financial reward with a little help from my $19.95 book. WAS 4.250 20:52, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by Shell_Kinney[edit]

I haven't been much of an involved party in this save the incident on WP:PAIN, but I'll be happy to give my input. During my review of the history of Eric Lerner and its associated talk page edits, I found that ScienceApologist, in his good-faith attempt to keep minority science or pseudo science articles from becoming promotion pieces, tended to strictly enforce certain Wikipedia policies while marginalizing others to further his goal. SA tends to assert ownership of an article until he is satisfied with its state and will accuse others of doing so should they revert his changes. He tends to push mainstream POV to extremes, strictly adhering the Undue Weight clause - unfortunately sometimes this goes so far as removal of well-sourced positive comments he doesn't agree with or "knows" is wrong or the inclusion of negative material without any source or with poor sources. He sometimes uses original research to modify articles into his vision of NPOV and may not be able to provide sources showing that his view is mainstream or provide them to support his content changes. He tends to revert to his preferred version rather than discuss and resolve editing conflicts and can often be incivil during attempted discussions. He tends to discard the notion that the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. Essentially, its a good cause gone awry - it is completely acceptable to keep minor topics on Wikipedia from legitimizing or inflating themselves simply by virtue of appearing here - it is less acceptable to discard Wikipedia's principles in order to do so. Shell babelfish 04:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I feel the need to respond to Guettarda's most recent allegations. First, let me point out that his summary is a gross misrepresentation of the incident - the article was in ScienceApologist's preferred version when he was blocked; I later restored this version of the article when Elerner used the block as an opportunity to abort the discussion process and revert to his alternate version. The block was an attempt to halt a long standing edit war and over concerns that Wikipedia policies, including those surrounding the biographies of living persons, were being violated.

After the block and its subsequent reversal, Guettarda engaged me in discussion which included similar unfounded allegations and other attacks on my integrity. When asked to support his allegations of bias and characterizations of my editing, he failed to provide any such evidence. Since my editing falls into one of three categories - cleanup, my biology and computer science interests and OTRS actions - he'll be hard pressed to find anyone who agrees with his assumptions. It is knee-jerk reactions like these that make the pseudo/mainstream science debate a conflict instead of the collaboration it should be.

That said, I'm convinced a block was not the best way to resolve the edit war and have no concerns about its quick reversal. I was and am still disturbed by FeloniousMonk, Guettarda and others in their circle excusing ScienceApologist's actions and their claims that an editor's body of good work should exempt them from any sanctions.

I would also like to congratulate the editors who cleaned up the Myron Evans article as Pjacobi pointed out. Its an excellent example of the ability to maintain a biographical article's focus and follow Wikipedia policy while clearly and unequivocally stating that the subject's theories are not accepted by mainstream science. Shell babelfish 08:16, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by Jim_Butler[edit]

I agree with Gleng's comments. As he says below and elsewhere, the term "pseudoscience" isn't found much in peer-reviewed scientific literature. Accordingly, to the extent that we use the term, we should be clear about whose POV we're representing, and with which V RS's.

Editors concerned with highlighting what they believe are pseudoscientific topics rightly point to the NPOV FAQ's comments on pseudoscience, giving "equal validity", and making necessary assumptions. However, NPOV and VER go further than those passages, and if we rely too heavily on those passages at the expense of other aspects of NPOV and VER, we're missing the forest for the trees. For example, if WP:NPOVT#Categorisation means anything, it means that category:pseudoscience should be used sparingly. I've commented on this issue in some detail here. Thanks, Jim Butler(talk) 08:25, 5 October 2006 (UTC) (minor edits for clarity 05:31, 6 October 2006 (UTC))

As an example regarding categorization: Is the current[44] inclusion of homeopathy in category:pseudoscience appropriate or necessary when a Pubmed search turns up a scant three citations of the terms "homeopathy" and "pseudoscience" together? Why doesn't it suffice simply to let the facts speak for themselves, as WP:NPOV says? I believe some editors (cf. User:FeloniousMonk's comment at Talk:Pseudoscience#Credible_sources) are tending to use the above-linked comments from the NPOV FAQ as a way to resurrect the deprecated WP:SPOV. It's as if so-labelled pseudoscientific topics have magically become exceptions to the NPOV and VER requirements that we use V RS's to say who says what and why. Editors such as FM are arguing that if authors who write for non-peer-reviewed popular journals such as Skeptical Inquirer designate a field as pseudoscience, that suffices for categorization[45][46] --
  • despite the fact that such sources don't meet RS for scientific sources;
  • irrespective of whether we can prove the scientific community takes such a stance; and
  • despite the NPOV problems with the category namespace that WP:CG mentions (i.e., it appears without annotations, so it can be used to advance one view over another rather than presenting competing views).
Since these disputes affect large numbers of articles, guidance from the ArbCom would be helpful. thanks, Jim Butler(talk) 08:38, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by Gleng[edit]

I was asked to offer an opinion because I have expressed the view that, if you believe that one interpretation of the facts is true, then it is in your best interests to show the case ‘’for the opposite position’’ as strongly, clearly, and honestly as possible from available V RS, as well as the case for your own position. [47]. I do not think that every dissenting opinion should be treated in this way, only if there are significant disputes (for instance expressed in secondary sources in major peer reviewed journals). Iantresman has presented a case that there is a significant dispute on redshift, if this is true it should be reported. Reporting a dissenting opinion does not imply endorsement of that opinion.

On bios of living people, I think WP must present their views in a way that the subjects would reasonably be expected to consider to be fair, while doing so exclusively from V RS. Criticisms should be reported, again founded solely in V RS (from named notable sources, not anonymous declarations of consensus). The overall intent should be neither to endorse nor to denigrate, but simply to report. If either side fails in this then the article will be less credible as a consequence.

“Pseudoscience” is a word rarely used by scientists in the peer reviewed literature; it has no consistent and clear general meaning, although it may be used with a particular meaning in mind when used in a particular context. I think it should be avoided in general on WP because of its vagueness and derogatory implication, if something has been criticized as obscure, illogical, unfounded, false, or mystical, say that, and say why the source of the opinion is notable if it is not apparent, and make sure that the citation is accessible online so that the context can be seen.

The second example invokes the unspoken question is “Who is this article for?” If it is for the lay reader, then the text invites the sort of questions that iantresman is asking, and if they were seen not as challenges to what is written but as a request to make the article clear enough for the questions to be unnecessary, there might be no dispute. If it is not for the lay reader but for someone who already knows rather more physics than I do, then iantresman’s comments might indeed be seen as irritating, as it isn’t the job of expert editors here to give tutorials. If you can’t agree on who the article is for, then you will never agree on how to write it.Gleng 10:10, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Reply to Krishna Vindaloo[edit]

KV refers (below) to my comments questioning
a) whether a Penn state sophomore writing for an in-house undergraduate journal [48] is a notable source of opinion [49]
b) whether an article in a Society newsletter [50], a publication not listed in the ISI or PubMed (see [51]) and not available online, written by a private sex counsellor [52]; with no other publications, is a reasonable authority for an unlikely assertion about chiropractic which has no other verifiable source of support[53]
c) whether a popular book entitled “Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience, from Alien abductions to Zone Therapy” is an appropriate source of fact in WP. (see [54] for a review of it from a skeptical perspective)
This illustrates a generally expressed concern about dual standards: that skeptics seek to exclude information presented by those with whom they disagree by rightly demanding high standards of sources, but sometimes fail lamentably in removing the beams from their own eyes.Gleng 10:16, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by JBKramer[edit]

I consider myself an involved party and have added myself to the list. I will make a statement here shortly. I urge ArbComm to accept this case to review the conduct of all parties. JBKramer 06:16, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
We have a policy that was initially designed to prevent physics cranks from presenting their unique theories in Wikipedia - WP:OR. Ian and Eric have repeatedly and continually violated this policy. That they are actually correct about physics - that they have discovered the true origin of the universe - is not relevant. I don't care. If this means that Wikipedia will not be the first publisher of the true origin of the universe, then we'll miss out. Luckily, you can fork the project, and announce that Plasma Physics is the only true thing somewhere else, and be a hero. Wikipedia is for people who are interested in describing the current state of things, not a place for you to argue for your alternative theories.
Lerner has published a great deal of material - decades ago - questioning the big bang. Modern science ignored, and continues to ignore him. Since there is no verifiable secondary sources that in any way substantiate Lerner's viewpoints, but there are a great many verifiable secondary sources that state that the big bang theory is the best current explanation for the origin of the universe, it is appropriate to write that Lerner's theories are not accepted by mainstream science. This is true, verifiable, and NPOV. It is also what Lerner and Tresman oppose.
Finally, articles should be written by people without substantial skin in the game. Tresman is a supporter of Lerner. Lerner IS Lerner. I am someone with a slight science background who stumbled upon the article due to whinging on WP:ANI. If everyone who ever edited the article to date were banned from ever touching it or plasma cosmology articles, I would be ecstatic, because I am certain they would improve. I would be shocked if the other-side of this conflict believed the same. As such, they are editing against what they know wider consensus is - yes, they are the noble crusaders of truth against the scores of the rest of us, blinded by the scientific institutions that keep people with truly innovative and unique ideas caged up, requiring them to spend years studying the works of lesser minds just to get the three worthless letters we require to really pay attention to them. They should start protoscienceapedia, and then they can have all of the articles written however they want. Since it will get everything from evolution to the big bang exactly right, and will quickly become the prominent science encyclopedia on the net. JBKramer 16:33, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Finally, I suggest that ArbCom enjoin User:Ed Poor from dragging creation/evolution, global warming and the unification church disputes into this case. Those are political slapfests. This is science. JBKramer 16:39, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement of semi-involved User:Pjacobi[edit]

If this case gets opened, I beg to be included. I'm a member of pseudoscience watchers' cabal. And if any article about a topic of astronomy isn't written from a typical mainstream astronomy point of view I'd be happy to correct this. If didn't revert User:Iantresman often enough to be listed by him, I humbly apologize. It wasn't on purpose. Note that I'm all for following WP:BLP and wouldn't tolerate turning a biography into a character assassination, even and especially for notable proponents of pseudoscientific theories -- compare the recent cleanup at Myron Evans. --Pjacobi 12:36, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Added myself to case, as was my intention in the original comment. --Pjacobi 11:40, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Comment by involved user Tommysun[edit]

(note) There seems to be some confusion about pseudoscience, Pseudoscince is that which professes to be science but does not use the scientific method. The scientific method is "testing." If any cosmology could be called pseudoscience, Inflation, and the fact that it can't be tested, is one of them.

I have experienced the editing of ScienceApologist first hand, This problem is not fundamentally about personalities or content dispute, it is about the systemic behavoir of editors acting as if they owned the articles they work on, and have a right to write it as they please in violtion of NPOV, which states that ALL significant views bere presented without any attempt to say which is more correct. If you listen only to him he will sound like the innocent victim, when in fact, in my opinion, he knows full well what he is doing and why. He uses his positon of administrator to manipulate threaten and discourage other editors.

In this case, the prime editor, as they call it here, is not an expert of the field he is editing, rather he is an expert from the opposition.

ScienceApologist is a self admitted big bang proponent, who is working mainly on non-big bang articles. He claims he does this because he is a Wikipedian. However, what he reallly does is water down all evidence that does not support the big bang. It is the methods that he uses that is a threat to the integrity of not only the article, but the integrity of Wikipedia in general. For example, Hubble did not believe that the redshift he discovered meant expansion, this is described in greater detail in a paper commorating Hubbles Centennial of his birth, as reported by Sandage. He has deleted this from all the articles having to do with cosmology. He reason is that it is "nonsense". That is an example of original research, or in this case, POV Pushing. When he was introduced to Tifft's quantized redshift, which if true falsifies the redshift Doppler interpretation, at first he denied it, Since then he has had to admit to it, but has deleted all the papers which confrmed Tifft's findings, and inserted one paper which disputes them, leaving us with the impression that the case is closed and Tifftshift is not relevant anymore.

This is how pseudoscience works. He refers to the work of others as "pseudoscientific" when in fact it is he who is basing his conclusions on untestable science, and that is a definition of pseudoscience. He will edit an article so that everything in the article supports his view by implication. This is not NPOV writing, it is adding a POV to the reported material.If you read the articles, it is clear that nothing but the big bang is meaningful. And that, by definition is not NPOV

He is very clever, and will resort to trivial meaningless long arugments about semantics to detract attention to what he really is doing. For example his renaming of the alternative cosmology article to the now non-standard cosmology article. Notice how this new name makes the alternative cosmologies dependant of the standard theory alternative. That is, instead of the two being two alternatives, there is only one, the big bang, and the rest ore merely not one.

Again, he is a big bang supporter who is continually revising non-big bang articles such that they imply support for the big bang. This violates NPOV. And he gets away with it. This is much bigger than a dispute between editors, it is indicative of a cancer within Wikipedia which if not treated will end up with a POV encyclopledia, and no one will know what happened. This kind of manipulative behavoir demeans Wikipedia and threatens the integrity of Wikipedia. It is all the more sinister because he has successfully made it look like he has done nothing wrong.

He has a vested interest when he visits Not Big Bang articles.

There seems to be some confusion about NPOV. Let me refresh our memory

--Executive summary[55]
Wikipedia has an important policy: roughly stated, you should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly. Wikipedia uses the words "bias" and "neutral" in a special sense! This doesn't mean that it's possible to write an article from just one point of view, the neutral (unbiased, "objective") point of view.
That's a common misunderstanding of the Wikipedia policy. :::The Wikipedia policy is that we should fairly represent all sides of a dispute, and not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct.

And here is how ScienceApologist interprets that policy --

...exactly why I demand exclusion or marginalization (in terms of amount of text) of certain points as per the policies and guidelines described. Likewise, on the pages that are devoted to these nonmainstream ideas, it is important to verifiably, reliably, and accurately indicate that the subjects are non-mainstream, derided, and ignored..."

in violation of the Original Research policy.

Statement by Mangojuice[edit]

I first came to the Eric Lerner article via a request for page protection/unprotection. I have been trying to reason with the various sides, but it has been extremely difficult. In a lot of edit conflicts, when I try to intervene, I find that the underlying issues are either an unfamiliarity with Wikipedia policies, or a lack of trust that putting the policies first will result in an article that is acceptable to everyone. Here, I think the conflict goes somewhat deeper than that.

Iantresman has generally been respectful of Wikipedia policies but tries to skirt them just enough that his non-neutral approach shows through. See [56], for instance, where Ian espouses the idea that the information he re-added to Eric Lerner could stay until it is verified, in contrast to [57], explaining his revert [58]. Over a series of actions that day, he was blocked for WP:3RR violation; I reviewed and denied the unblock. We had a lengthy discussion about it, and I was surprised that he never was able to see that using WP:LIVING as a stick to force reverts over neutrality of tone is inappropriate, and doesn't give one license to violate the 3RR. Still, Iantresman has had a lot of stress over all these issues, I'm sure, and he is sometimes the lone defender against the pseudoscience camp.

By far, I am more worried about the contributions of the other camp, particularly ScienceApologist and JBKramer. (Previously, also Deglr6328 (talk · contribs), but that user is no longer involved [59].) I think the summary of SA's behavior above says everything I would say, but I do want to mention that JBKramer's behavior is less subtle and much more concerning. He has been incivil [60] [61], and many of his other comments also, with a sarcastic, superior tone. I reverted him when he did this [62] and left a message on his talk page about it: he was hammering home the unsourced, almost certainly unverifiable statement that Lerner's work has been ignored by the community, a statement that we had sought sources for before, and not found, as I believe JBKramer was well-aware of. The dialogue that followed clearly lays out that JBKramer is here editing Eric Lerner to oppose the work of people like Lerner and their articles, and disturbs me greatly. Here is the sequence: [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70]. Like ScienceApologist, JBKramer is aware of Wikipedia policies but obeys them when it supports the point of view he prefers. Mangojuicetalk 18:04, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by GoodCop[edit]

Generalities of pseudoscience[edit]

I have some expertise in the area of the psychology of both the belief in pseudoscience and pseudoskepticism, which may be of use here.

There are different causes of belief in various pseudosciences, by which those pseudosciences can be classified. There are some quasi-scientific fanatical religious beliefs that could be classified as pseudoscience rather than religion. There is spiritual pseudoscience, such as astrology, palmistry, divination, and homeopathy. There is pseudoscience that is caused by an affinity for excitement. There is pseudoscience that is caused not by psychological factors, but by a lack of information, such as the flat earth belief and phrenology, and such pseudosciences typically cease once they are disproven. Some pseudosciences are the result of multiple causes. The different pseudosciences should be distinguished from eachother by the aforementioned causes. A person that makes an accusation of pseudoscience should describe it as having one or more of the aforementioned causes.

Pseudoskepticism is the willfully blind deprecation of viable, and often truthful, scientific beliefs. Pseudoskepticism derives from a generally authoritarian ideology, and the scientific beliefs that pseudoskeptics blindly dismiss are consequentially usually the ones that are not supported by the current majority of academic authorities. Such authoritarian thinking is illogical though, as the scientific authorities once exhibited pseudoskepticism toward many minority scientific beliefs that we now know to be true. Without open-mindedness, there can not be scientific progress. The authoritarian thinking of pseudoskeptics in turn results from testosterone, the hormone of intimidating aggression, and that is why there are far more male pseudoskeptics than female pseudoskeptics, and why pseudoskeptics often exhibit aggressive behavior, such as discreditting the opposition, as has been demonstrated in this very dispute (such as by ScienceApologist), among countless other places. It is therefore evident that pseudoskepticism is a personality disorder, which is similar to antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders.

I have noticed that on wikipedia, pseudoskeptics, some of which are politically motivated, have chronically abused the pseudoscience category, putting it on such articles as eugenics, cold fusion, and static universe. I personally am a rather skeptical person; I am a non-spiritual atheist materialist that does not believe in an afterlife, psychic ability, current extraterrestrial visitation (unless I see better proof, because it is technically possible), the big bang, continuous creation / quasi-steady state, the electric universe model, etcetera, or even free will ...and even I recognize the strong scientific support for eugenics, the static universe model, and cold fusion (in the case of eugenics, the proof of it's efficacy is so overwhelming that it is surprising that anyone would even dare call it pseudoscience).

Pseudoskeptics, particularly ScienceApologist, have argued that much of the information about minority beliefs should be removed from all articles due to the undue weight policy. That is a gross perversion of the rule, and ScienceApologist knows it, because the rule applies to the proportional coverage of different subjects within an article, not the coverage of the subject of the article itself.

more evidence of abuse by ScienceApologist[edit]

I too have witnessed the grossly disruptive POV-pushing of ScienceApologist's edits. Look at his edits to the article static universe, in which he deleted all of the astrophysical information, twice (which was written by one user, then restored by a different user), and in the text of the article, he libellously accused the static universe proponents as doing the exact same thing as the big bang proponents (the main opponents of the static universe model)- falsification (see for a description of the falsification of the big bang). That demonstrates a tendency in ScienceApologist to state the opposite of the truth, which is a common behavior among people that desire to disrupt truth, including pseudoskeptics. His behavior reminds me much of the banned user Paul Vogel. Look also at his recent edit to the cosmology article. I changed the wording from a POV-biased state to an objective state, and then only 3 minutes later, ScienceApologist changed it back to a POV-biased version that was slightly different from the original. It is therefore evident that ScienceApologist is constantly policing a wide range of articles (via his watchlist, I assume), so as to POV-dominate them. I noticed that on the static universe article, ScienceApologist entered a large number of links to other physical-cosmology-related articles at the top; I suspect that those are all of the articles that ScienceApologist and/or his wikiclique allies POV-dominate. Also, look at ScienceApologist's user page; he was given a barnstar by many people. Many of those people are ScienceApologist's POV allies. I have been studying that wikiclique, and I have identified many members thereof, some of which are admins. ScienceApologist himself also ran for admin, but did not get sufficient votes. Whether or not every one of those members is POV-biased on the big bang issue and other pseudoskepticism-related issues I do not know. The wikiclique members are:

  1. ScienceApologist (of course),
  2. Joke137 (an admin) has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility specifically on the big bang issue,
  3. Ems57fcva has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility specifically on the big bang issue,
  4. Dragons flight the person that nominated Joke137 for admin,
  5. Duncharris (an admin) has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility,
  6. Pjacobi has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility,
  7. Guettarda (an admin),
  8. KillerChihuahua (an admin) pseudoskeptic,
  9. WAS 4.250,
  10. Jim62sch pseudoskeptic,
  11. William M. Connolley (an admin) has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility

Those are the main ones that I know of. From the looks of this RfAr page, it looks like there may be others. However, some of those people may also be responsible for holding back the creationist POV-pushers. It is an unfortunate truth that often, the only people holding back certain POV-pushers are other POV-pushers, much like how the sunnis and the shi'ites hold eachother in check. I should note, by the way, that even the clique member Dragons flight criticized ScienceApologist for being uncivil (on ScienceApologist's RfA).

For evidence of the POV wikiclique alliances, look at RfA votes, barnstar signatures (on user pages), article discussions, and edit histories. For example, go to:

There is also the fact that the very username 'ScienceApologist' is misrepresentative, as he is precisely the type of person that embarrasses scientific materialism with blind authoritarian pseudoskepticism.

With such vast proof of abuse by ScienceApologist presented by multiple users, why have the arbitrators not yet blocked him from editting all science-related articles? They should not delay any longer in doing so.

You might be wondering why I have conducted such extensive investigation, despite having little involvement in the disputes. It is largely because wikipedia presents itself as an encyclopedia, and yet it is infested with relentless POV-pushers such as ScienceApologist and his POV wikiclique allies, who alter wikipedia to make it not an encyclopedia, but a proselytism platform. Thus, wikipedia is being misrepresented by those POV-pushers and by the power-holding people (such as Jimbo Wales, and thus far the arbitrators) that do not take action to stop them, and furthermore, wikipedia is a donation-soliciting organization. That is of concern to me, and many others as well. I suppose that you can call me an unrealistic optimist for trying to convince you to change. I like wikipedia; it has a great deal of important information, and I have looked up information in wikipedia many times. GoodCop 01:47, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by Jonathanischoice[edit]

The following is my statement repeated from the original RFA:

In his statement above, ScienceApologist contends that he is an expert in this field. He most certainly is not. Having a BA and a job as a community college level physics instructor does not constitute being an expert in anything. Neither Ian Tresman, nor ScienceApologist , nor I have published, peer-reviewed work in cosmology, therefore none of us is an expert in it. However Fred Hoyle, Hannes Alfven, Anthony Perrat, Eric Lerner and others are/were experts, though they hold or held non-consensus views. This does not make them pseudoscientists. This should not be in dispute, yet ScienceApologist consistently reduces debate about controversial scientific views (especially views he can't argue against conclusively) into pissing contests about who is the more qualified or who has more published work.

Now don't get me wrong:

  • I have sufficient scientific qualifications to understand the relevant material,
  • one does not need to be an expert in a subject in order to write effectively about it,
  • I do not necessarily disagree with most of ScienceApologist's sentiments.

However, the problem here is one of dogmatism - a myopic, pseudo-religious insistence that the current scientific consensus is the only lens through which to view a subject. There is a difference between on the one hand crackpot theories trying to explain (or worse, dismiss and marginalise) huge bodies of observational evidence by invoking untestable, unobservable or imaginary constructs (eg. God, dark energy), and scientists on the other hand who believe that the current consensus is flawed or flat out wrong, and are working on alternative theories that try different starting assumptions (and by their very nature are incomplete and less well-developed). One is science, one is not. The history of science is littered with the remains of previously unassailable, consensus scientific explanations.

There is/was a similar debate in evolution between Gould's punctuated equilibria and the more traditional gradualists. Nobody except the most rabid and opinionated of adherents would seriously maintain that the other party weren't true scientists, and only Creationists saw the existence of any such debate at all as evidence that evolution itself was therefore fundamentally wrong.

Some of SA's tactics are quite simply outrageous, make frequent recourse to various logical fallacies, and border on desperate. For example (sorry, I don't have time to find sources for these, and some of this is long standing back to early 2004):

  • Blunt refusal to even read some of the important papers in question (WMAP discrepancies),
  • Blatant and obvious misunderstanding of the papers when he finally did get round to reading (or claiming to have read) them,
  • Constant recourse to ad-populum,
  • Complete and categorical dismissal of entire discussions as irrelevant (especially when errors in his logic are pointed out to him),
  • Trying to claim that Creationist ideas qualify in the same category as other non-standard cosmologies (obviously trying to tar non-consensus scientific work with the same brush as Christian fundamentalism),
  • Reverting edits without discussion,
  • Constantly editing and reverting until basically everyone else gives up in frustration and disgust,
  • Ad-hominem attacks on Eric Lerner's person, reputation, qualifications, status as a legitimate scientist, and so on,
  • A protracted futile and silly argument last year about an illustration of plasma filaments in space, sourced from peer-reviewed material. It was at about this point when I realised what a serious pain in the arse wikitrolls are, and pretty much gave up after that.

In other words, this editor is a wikitroll. Jon 13:41, 4 October 2006 (UTC) Jon 20:39, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement by Asmodeus[edit]

I've apparently been added at the last minute (by JBKramer) as an involved party in this RfA. Hence, although one or two members of the Arbitration Committee have at least partially made their decisions, I'll append a few remarks in the hope that they can still be of help.


Pseudoscience is notoriously hard to define and identify. Most definitions appeal to the scientific method, which guides the interplay of theoretical cognition and experimental observation. On the observational side, pseudoscience is marked by usually clear-cut deviations from proper experimental procedure. On the theoretical side, however, pseudoscience is marked by the drawing of improper conclusions from data, and it is not always easy to show conclusively that this has been done in any particular case. In Wikipedia, where content and validity are not considered to be valid editorial criteria and are not supposed to be debated, it is absolutely impossible. Hence, our reliance on notability criteria like mainstream publicity and "expert consensus" in deciding what should, and should not, go into Wikipedia articles.

The dual nature of cosmology[edit]

There is a certain deficiency in the background information on cosmology which has been provided here. These days, cosmological discourse occurs mainly in the context of empirical science. However, it is possible to distinguish two kinds of cosmological reasoning, metaphysical and physical (in order of historical priority). In the classical realm, they are often held separate - a philosopher might say that this is symptomatic of the pathology of Cartesian dualism - but the distinction becomes insupportable at the extremes of scale and velocity ruled by quantum mechanics and relativity, in each of which observers are to some extent mathematically conflated with observation events. As this seems to imply, ontology and epistemology still bear strongly on the fundamental nature of the cosmos.

The operative distinctions between physical and metaphysical cosmology are these: (1) whereas physical cosmology is about comparing and classifying observed large-scale structures and discussing the physical processes by which they may have originated or evolved, metaphysical cosmology remains true to the original meaning of the term and thus deals primarily with the ontological and epistemological aspects of the cosmos, including the logical entailments of the observation process itself (e.g., the Anthropic Principles); (2) whereas physical cosmology is an empirical science which relies on the scientific method, metaphysical cosmology relies exclusively on deduction, and is not properly described as empirical science (although in some cases, it can be described as mathematics). Thus, whatever might be said of it, it cannot be legitimately described as "pseudoscience".

The Unofficial Anti-Pseudoscience Executive[edit]

Recently, an initially accurate and well-written article on a notable theory of metaphysical cosmology, the CTMU, was deleted from Wikipedia on the absurd pretext that it was "pseudoscience". This occurred after it was brought to the specific attention of, and initially misrepresented as "pseudoscience" to, a militant band of self-styled skeptics including ScienceApologist and Pjacobi. Since most of these skeptics do not know what pseudoscience is or how to identify it, their usage of the term is effectively synonymous with "superficially resembling science, but unorthodox". Such people touch and feel their way to what they consider a positive identification of "pseudoscience" by looking at what a given instance seems to address, what terminology it employs, the claims that are made for it by its proponents, what others are saying about it, and the identity, circumstances, credentials, and associations of its author. Unfortunately, none of these criteria is particularly relevant to the actual distinctions between pseudoscience and other kinds of reasoning.

Important Questions[edit]

In some cases, pseudoscience is obvious to nearly everyone who is aware of its proper definition. In such cases, it is only natural - if still not entirely justified - for people to name it as such. But in all but the very most obvious cases, there is no room for such accusations within the constraints of Wikipedia. Why, then, do we have people who make such accusations regarding material they clearly fail to understand? Why would they make such accusations against a theory of metaphysical cosmology like the CTMU, which does not employ the methodology of empirical science and thus cannot be classified as "pseudoscience" under any circumstances? And why, upon being corrected regarding the metaphysical nature of the theory and conclusively shown that it meets Wikipedia's standards for inclusion, would they employ all kinds of specious argumentation and outright deceit in order to finish their hatchet job on it? Why, for that matter, would they be followed around and aided in their depredations by Wikipedia administrators like Pjacobi, who attempt to tie the hands of their opponents? These are all very good questions, and they are all of considerable importance to the future of Wikipedia.

ScienceApologist is an "ID critic" with a philosophically skewed understanding of cosmology[edit]

The evolution of the cosmos is that process which carries and embeds the evolution of life, and given the existence of a theologically-loaded controversy spanning not only the perennial battle between evolution and Biblical Creationism, but between different perspectives on evolution itself (as noted above by Jonathanischoice), cosmological discussions can become similarly polarized. Thus, we have seen ScienceApologist and others use the venue in which a certain CTMU paper was published to justify their attack on its author and his ideas in violation of WP:NPA, despite the fact that the CTMU explicitly acknowledges and embraces evolution. More recently, we have seen ScienceApologist attempt to conspicuously insert this affiliation in the Wikipedia biography of said author [i], to whom he has accused me of being identical in additional violation of WP:HARASS [ii], for the previously established purpose of disparaging him and his ideas. (In fact, one of ScienceApologist's administrative helpers even tracked me to my talk page to repeat this spurious accusation; note the references on JoshuaZ's talk page to TalkOrigins and Wesley R. Elsberry, both prominently associated with the anti-ID cause.) Not unrelatedly, we have also seen JBKramer deliberately misrepresent my own editorial history, falsely accusing me of editing the former CTMU article and its author's biography in violation of WP:NPOV and WP:AUTO. [iii, iv] (As a glance at the history pages of those articles quickly reveals [v], my edits to them have been extremely few in number, minor in extent, corrective in nature, and thus utterly consistent with Wikipedia policy.)

Lest there be any doubt regarding the "anti-ID conspiracy" against certain notable people and ideas here at Wikipedia, consider the following facts. On July 10, 2006, a now-departed user named "Byrgenwulf" received a "heads-up" about Wikipedia's CTMU article on the website of the Brights, which is controlled and largely populated by militants of an atheist-materialist philosophical persuasion. After declaring that his interest was "piqued" by reading that "Langan is linked to ID", Byrgenwulf proceeded to make numerous disparaging but incorrect or vapid remarks about (one particular informal exposition of) the theory, boastfully holding his own technical ability superior to Langan's (Christopher Michael Langan is the author of the CTMU). Immediately afterward - on that very same day, July 10 - he initiated a focused attack against that article on Wikipedia. In editing the CTMU and Langan articles, Byrgenwulf tarred the CTMU as "pseudoscience" despite the fact that it had always been clearly presented as philosophy [vi; note that Tim Smith is the author of the CTMU article attacked by Byrgenwulf], and Langan as a "crank" [vii], something specifically forbidden by the head of the Wikimedia Foundation. The fact that Byrgenwulf so easily lured ScienceApologist, Pjacobi and others into joining his rabid deletional attack on the CTMU [viii,ix], shows that the entire affair was fueled by an unseemly combination of philosophical bias and personal antipathy. This, and not mere fidelity to science, seems to be a large part of what drives the skewed editorial behavior of ScienceApologist and a good number of his "anti-pseudoscience" cohorts, and it is utterly antithetical to the encyclopedic integrity of Wikipedia.

Surely the Arbitration Committee does not countenance the organized hijacking of Wikipedia by "ID critics" or any other philosophically-motivated group.


It is time to stop these concerted violations of Wikipedia policy by people who are plainly motivated by a combination of ignorance, bias, and bigotry. They cannot be justified by the need for "quality control of science articles", or by diversionary accusations of "wikishilling", or by other blame-the-victims shenanigans, and if nothing is done about them, they will simply grow worse. In fact, failing to address them would in all likelihood be interpreted by the violators themselves as encouragement to redouble their destructive efforts. I hope and trust that the Arbitration Committee understands this and will act in the best interests of the Wikipedia Project.

I'll be adding links, headings, and text as time permits. Thank you, Asmodeus 15:01, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Statement by FT2[edit]

I have received word of a plausible concern, that suggests it may be worth looking at the track record of banned POV warrior / vandal / chronic abusive sock-user / ban evader user:HeadleyDown, whose fingerprints (I am told) seem to be visible in this case under more than one collaborating user accounts, and who has in the past (under old accounts) paid special attention to POV warfare "for fun" on controversial topics such as borderline science/pseudoscience issues, and was not averse to faking information and/or rubbishing valid editors/contributions while posing as a valid contributor with a valid viewpoint.

My apologies to Arbcom and other editors for reporting a concern without also presenting formal evidence (something I have avoided to date), and for not carefully checking it and satisfying myself of it. It's 5 am here, friends are arriving on intercontinental flights at 7 and 11 am respectively, and I have to host them the next while. I will try to look up more on this, but it's uncertain when. So I figured at least it was best to report possibly plausible concerns passed to me, so that they are "on the record". I have avoided naming names here "just to be on the safe side", since I don't wish to point fingers towards any individual until I have myself checked and confirmed (if plausible) the allegation. I trust this is in order. If more information is needed please let me know. FT2 (Talk | email) 05:08, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Now checked; and doesn't seem at issue. FT2 (Talk | email) 01:26, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Clerk notes[edit]

(This area is used for notes by non-recused clerks.)

Recuse. As a neutral administrator I posted comments on AN/I about Shell Kinney's block of ScienceApologist and made suggestions regarding Eric Lerner's biography. FloNight 10:09, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Preliminary decisions[edit]

Arbitrators' opinions on hearing this matter (4/0/0/0)[edit]

  • Accept. We can't rule on content here; but can examine whether allegations of large-scale POV pushing have any foundation. Charles Matthews 07:34, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Accept. There appears to be sufficient allegation of user misconduct to investigate (on all sides of this matter) Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 15:57, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Accept. Dmcdevit·t 07:12, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Accept Fred Bauder 13:10, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Temporary injunction (none)[edit]

Final decision[edit]

All numbering based on /Proposed decision (vote counts and comments are there as well)


Neutral point of view[edit]

1) Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, a fundamental policy, requires fair representation of all significant points of view regarding the subject of an article, see comment by Jimbo.

Passed 5-3 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Neutral point of view as applied to science[edit]

1a) Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, a fundamental policy, requires fair representation of significant alternatives to scientific orthodoxy. Significant alternatives, in this case, refers to legitimate scientific disagreement, as opposed to pseudoscience.

Passed 7-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


2) There must be sufficient verifiable information from reliable sources regarding a subject for there to be an article about it, Wikipedia:Notability. Guidelines regarding notability have been developed for a number of areas, but not for scientific theories (The proposal Wikipedia:Notability (science) is based on principles elucidated in this case).

Passed 8-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

No original research[edit]

3a) Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Undue weight quotes Jimbo Wales, stating "If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it is true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not." Following this principle, theories which have not been published in reputable sources should not be included in articles on mainstream scientific topics.

Passed 8-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Appropriate sources[edit]

4a) Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Reliable sources require that information included in an article have been published in a reliable source which is identified and potentially available to the reader. What constitutes a reliable source varies with the topic of the article, but in the case of a scientific theory, there is a clear expectation that the sources for the theory itself are reputable textbooks or peer-reviewed journals. Scientific theories promulgated outside these media are not properly verifiable as scientific theories and should not be represented as such.

Passed 8-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a crystal ball[edit]

5) While it may be that paradigm shifts occur from time to time, it is not the place of Wikipedia to venture projections regarding them, Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not#Wikipedia_is_not_a_crystal_ball.

Passed 8-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Wiki process[edit]

6) As practiced on Wikipedia, the wiki process contemplates that any editor may edit any article provided they do not disrupt it.

Passed 7-1 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


7) Historically, although a perennial subject of discussion, see, for example, the rejected proposal Wikipedia:Expert editors and the brainstorming essay, Wikipedia:Expert retention, experts were accorded no special role or status on Wikipedia.

Passed 4-1 with 3 abstentions at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Content disputes[edit]

9) Restrictions are placed on users only in cases where their behavior seriously disrupts the wiki process or fulfillment of Wikipedia's mission to produce an accurate and useful reference work.

Passed 7-1 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Academically demanding subjects[edit]

10) In the case of subjects which require considerable academic or experiential expertise, some deference to experts is appropriate.

Passed 5-0 with 3 abstentions at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Experts are required to cite sources[edit]

11) Experts are presumed to have an adequate command of appropriate sources for information they add or positions they take. Bare assertions of expertise without supporting sources are unacceptable, especially if there is conflict with other users.

Passed 7-1 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Experts are subject to the no original research rule[edit]

12) Wikipedia:No original research applies to users who are experts in a field and who may be engaged in original research. The latest insights resulting from current research are often not acceptable for inclusion as established information as they have not yet been published.

Passed 8-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Conflict of interest[edit]

13) Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest#Self-promotion, a guideline, strongly discourages editing which promotes the editor's projects.

Passed 8-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Serious encyclopedias[edit]

14) Serious and respected encyclopedias and reference works are generally expected to provide overviews of scientific topics that are in line with respected scientific thought. Wikipedia aspires to be such a respected work.

Passed 5-1 with 2 abstentions at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Obvious pseudoscience[edit]

15) Theories which, while purporting to be scientific, are obviously bogus, may be so labeled and categorized as such without more justification.

Passed 7-1 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Modified by motion at 18:58, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Generally considered pseudoscience[edit]

16) Theories which have a following, such as astrology, but which are generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community may properly contain that information and may be categorized as pseudoscience.

Passed 8-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Questionable science[edit]

17) Theories which have a substantial following, such as psychoanalysis, but which some critics allege to be pseudoscience, may contain information to that effect, but generally should not be so characterized.

Passed 8-0 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Alternative theoretical formulations[edit]

18) Alternative theoretical formulations which have a following within the scientific community are not pseudoscience, but part of the scientific process.

Passed 7-1 at 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Findings of Fact[edit]


1a) The notability of a scientific theory may arise in ways that are not determined by its contemporary validity.

Passed 7-1 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Locus of dispute[edit]

2) The locus of this dispute in this case is the editing to a group of articles loosely connected to cosmology and related topics, including Big bang, Plasma cosmology, Intrinsic redshift and others. One involved party is also a leading developer and proponent of one of the topics in question, and has a biography on Wikipedia (Eric Lerner), which is also involved.

Passed 8-0 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Eric Lerner[edit]

7) Elerner (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) is Eric Lerner, an advocate of the plasma cosmology theory. He is engaged in promotion of a "plasma focus device," utilizing a hydrogen-boron nuclear reaction [71] [72].

Passed 8-0 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Self promotion by Elerner[edit]

8) Aneutronic fusion, which Elerner has edited extensively is, in part, an treatment of the "plasma focus device" which he is engaged in supporting and raising money for [73] as the director [74] of the Focus Fusion Society.

Passed 8-0 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


9) Wikipedia contains articles on pseudoscientific ideas which, while notable, have little or no following in the scientific community, often being so little regarded that there is no serious criticism of them by scientific critics.

Passed 6-0 with 2 abstentions at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Modified by motion at 18:58, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


10) Tommysun (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) shows a pattern of aggressive biased editing combined with eccentric interpretation with respect to information concerning theoretical astrophysics, see Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience/Evidence#Evidence_of_misrepresentation_by_ScienceApologist, Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience/Evidence#Evidence_that_there_is_no_big_bang_theory, Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience/Evidence#Tommy_Mandel_has_pushed_his_POV_on_Big_Bang_and_Plasma_cosmology, and Wikipedia_talk:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience/Evidence#Big_Bang_is_the_real_pseudoscience.

Passed 8-0 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

ScienceApologist is uncivil[edit]

11) ScienceApologist has strongly and repeated criticized Iantresman with ad hominem attacks: "incompetent" "close-minded ignorance" advised him not to "be a dick" characterized him as an "avowed Velikovskian" [75] "inordinate ignorance" of a "nonscientist layman" "pet ideas" "Basic ignorance" Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience/Evidence#Regarding_Ian_Tresman_in_particular.

Passed 7-1 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Deprecation by ScienceApologist[edit]

11a) Using strong negative language, ScienceApologist has deprecated a number of persons and their theories "well-known woo-woos", The Electric Universe (book) "discredited" "Completely unauthorative, argumentative"

Passed 5-2 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Iantresman is uncivil[edit]

12) Iantresman has also been uncivil regarding ScienceApologist, accusing him of bad faith or vandalism. [76] [77]

Passed 7-1 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Iantresman's editing style[edit]

13) Iantresman's editing to pseudoscience and science-related articles are characterized by low level edit warring and frequent edits against consensus. See Special:Contributions/Iantresman.

Passed 6-2 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

ScienceApologist has edit warred[edit]

14) ScienceApologist has occasionally engaged in edit warring, for example at Plasma cosmology and Eric Lerner (see Special:Contributions/ScienceApologist)

Passed 7-1 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Iantresman's orientation[edit]

15) Iantresman, in his editing philosophy, favors challenges to standard knowledge, which he sometimes terms "dogma" [78], his personal website, a site devoted to scientific anomalies User:Iantresman, see also many of the other links at Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience/Evidence#Regarding_Ian_Tresman_in_particular

Passed 6-0 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

ScienceApologist failure to extend good faith[edit]

16) ScienceApologist has habitually failed to extend good faith to Iantresman, see Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience/Evidence#Regarding_Ian_Tresman_in_particular.

Passed 7-0 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Category:Fringe subjects without critical scientific evaluation[edit]

17) ScienceApologist has recently created Category:Fringe subjects without critical scientific evaluation and placed articles at contention in this proceeding into it [79].

Passed 6-0 at 02:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


Note: All remedies that refer to a period of time, for example to a ban of X months or a revert parole of Y months, are to run concurrently unless otherwise stated.

Tommysun banned[edit]

5a) Tommysun is banned from editing articles which relate to science and pseudoscience. The term "pseudoscience" shall be interpreted broadly; it is intended to include but not be limited to all article in Category:Pseudoscience and its subcategories.

Passed 7-0 at 02:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Tommysun placed on probation[edit]

6) Tommysun is placed on probation. He may be banned from any article or subject area which he disrupts by aggressive biased editing. All bans to be logged at Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience#Log_of_blocks_and_bans.

Passed 7-0 at 02:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Elerner banned[edit]

7a) Elerner is banned from editing Eric Lerner, Plasma cosmology, Aneutronic fusion, and any pages, excepting talk pages, related to his real-life work.

Passed 5-0 with 2 abstentions at 02:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Iantresman placed on Probation[edit]

8b) Iantresman is placed on probation for a year. He may be banned from any article or subject area which he disrupts by aggressive biased editing. All bans are to be logged at Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience#Log_of_blocks_and_bans.

Passed 8-0 at 02:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

ScienceApologist cautioned[edit]

11) ScienceApologist is cautioned to respect all policies and guidelines, in spirit as well as letter, when editing articles concerning some alternative to conventional science. This applies in particular to matters of good faith and civility.

Passed 5-0 at 02:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Discretionary sanctions[edit]

12) Any uninvolved administrator may, on his or her own discretion, impose sanctions on any editor working in the area of conflict (defined as articles which relate to pseudoscience, broadly interpreted) if, despite being warned, that editor repeatedly or seriously fails to adhere to the purpose of Wikipedia, any expected standards of behavior, or any normal editorial process. The sanctions imposed may include blocks of up to one year in length; bans from editing any page or set of pages within the area of conflict; bans on any editing related to the topic or its closely related topics; restrictions on reverts or other specified behaviors; or any other measures which the imposing administrator believes are reasonably necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the project.

Prior to any sanctions being imposed, the editor in question shall be given a warning with a link to this decision by an uninvolved administrator; and, where appropriate, should be counseled on specific steps that he or she can take to improve his or her editing in accordance with relevant policies and guidelines.

In determining whether to impose sanctions on a given user and which sanctions to impose, administrators should use their judgment and balance the need to assume good faith and avoid biting genuinely inexperienced editors, and the desire to allow responsible contributors maximum freedom to edit, with the need to reduce edit-warring and misuse of Wikipedia as a battleground, so as to create an acceptable collaborative editing environment even on our most contentious articles. Editors wishing to edit in these areas are advised to edit carefully, to adopt Wikipedia's communal approaches (including appropriate conduct, dispute resolution, neutral point of view, no original research and verifiability) in their editing, and to amend behaviors that are deemed to be of concern by administrators. An editor unable or unwilling to do so may wish to restrict their editing to other topics, in order to avoid sanctions.


Sanctions imposed under the provisions of this decision may be appealed to the imposing administrator, the appropriate administrators' noticeboard (currently Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Arbitration enforcement), or the Committee. Administrators are cautioned not to reverse such sanctions without familiarizing themselves with the full facts of the matter and engaging in extensive discussion and consensus-building at the administrators' noticeboard or another suitable on-wiki venue. The Committee will consider appropriate remedies including suspension or revocation of adminship in the event of violations.

Uninvolved administrators

For the purpose of imposing sanctions under this provision, an administrator will be considered "uninvolved" if he or she is not engaged in a current, direct, personal conflict on the topic with the user receiving sanctions. Enforcing the provisions of this decision will not be considered to be participation in a dispute. Any doubt regarding whether an administrator qualifies under this definition is to be treated as any other appeal of sanctions.


All sanctions imposed under the provisions of this decision are to be logged at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Martinphi-ScienceApologist#Log of blocks and bans.

Other provisions

This provision does not affect any existing provisions of the case.

Passed 7-2-0 by motion, 01:56, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Superseded by an alternate sanction, 14:32, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Those discretionary sanctions were later moved by motion to this case.

13) Articles relating to pseudoscience, broadly interpreted, are placed under discretionary sanctions. Any uninvolved administrator may levy restrictions as an arbitration enforcement action on users editing in this topic area, after an initial warning.

Passed 14 to 0 by motion, 14:32, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Superseded by motion, 22:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

14) Standard discretionary sanctions are authorised for all articles pages relating to pseudoscience and fringe science, broadly interpreted. Any uninvolved administrator may levy restrictions as an arbitration enforcement action on users editing in this topic area, after an initial warning.

Passed 8 to 0 by motion, 22:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Amended 11 to 0 by motion, 11:22, 30 November 2014 (UTC)


Enforcement of restrictions

0) Should any user subject to a restriction in this case violate that restriction, that user may be blocked, initially for up to one month, and then with blocks increasing in duration to a maximum of one year.

Per the procedure for the standard enforcement provision adopted 3 May 2014, this provision did not require a vote.

Appeals and modifications

0) Appeals and modifications
Appeals by sanctioned editors

Appeals may be made only by the editor under sanction and only for a currently active sanction. Requests for modification of page restrictions may be made by any editor. The process has three possible stages (see "Important notes" below). The editor may:

  1. ask the enforcing administrator to reconsider their original decision;
  2. request review at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE") or at the administrators’ noticeboard ("AN"); and
  3. submit a request for amendment at "ARCA". If the editor is blocked, the appeal may be made by email through Special:EmailUser/Arbitration Committee (or, if email access is revoked, to
Modifications by administrators

No administrator may modify a sanction placed by another administrator without:

  1. the explicit prior affirmative consent of the enforcing administrator; or
  2. prior affirmative agreement for the modification at (a) AE or (b) AN or (c) ARCA (see "Important notes" below).

Administrators modifying sanctions out of process may at the discretion of the committee be desysopped.

Nothing in this section prevents an administrator from replacing an existing sanction issued by another administrator with a new sanction if fresh misconduct has taken place after the existing sanction was applied.

Important notes:

  1. For a request to succeed, either
(i) the clear and substantial consensus of (a) uninvolved administrators at AE or (b) uninvolved editors at AN or
(ii) a passing motion of arbitrators at ARCA
is required. If consensus at AE or AN is unclear, the status quo prevails.
  1. While asking the enforcing administrator and seeking reviews at AN or AE are not mandatory prior to seeking a decision from the committee, once the committee has reviewed a request, further substantive review at any forum is barred. The sole exception is editors under an active sanction who may still request an easing or removal of the sanction on the grounds that said sanction is no longer needed, but such requests may only be made once every six months, or whatever longer period the committee may specify.
  2. These provisions apply only to discretionary sanctions placed by administrators and to blocks placed by administrators to enforce arbitration case decisions. They do not apply to sanctions directly authorised by the committee, and enacted either by arbitrators or by arbitration clerks, or to special functionary blocks of whatever nature.
  3. All enforcement actions are presumed valid and proper, so the provisions relating to modifying or overturning sanctions apply, until an appeal is successful.
Per the procedure for the standard appeals and modifications provision adopted 3 May 2014, this provision did not require a vote.

Amendments by motion[edit]

Modified by motion[edit]

The words "such as Time Cube" are struck from principle #15 of Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience ("Obvious pseudoscience"). Finding of fact #9 of Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience ("Pseudoscience") is amended to read "Wikipedia contains articles on pseudoscientific ideas which, while notable, have little or no following in the scientific community, often being so little regarded that there is no serious criticism of them by scientific critics."

Passed 7-0 at 18:58, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Modified by motion (November 2014)[edit]

Following a request to amend several prior decisions to terminate discretionary sanctions provisions that may no longer be necessary,

4. Remedy 14 of the Pseudoscience case is amended by replacing the word "articles" with the word "pages" for consistency;
Passed 11 to 0 by motion, 11:22, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

Enforcement log[edit]

Notification logs[edit]

List here editors who have been placed on notice of the remedies in place in this case or in related cases. The diff of the notification must be included along with the name of the user notified. For convenience, the templates {{subst:Pseudoscience enforcement}} or {{subst:uw-sanctions}} may be used on an editor's talkpage; this is not required.








Log of individual sanctions[edit]

Any block, restriction, ban, or sanction performed under the authorisation of a remedy for this case must be logged in this section. Please specify the administrator, date and time, nature of sanction, and basis or context. Unless otherwise specified, the standardised enforcement provision applies to this case. All sanctions issued pursuant to a discretionary sanctions remedy must be logged at Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions/Log.

2007 sanctions[edit]

Martinphi is banned from Ghost light, Will-o'-the-wisp and their associated talk pages. Basis: Reverted merge calling it a "disruptive and nonconsensus redirect by ScienceApologist."[110]; disrupted consensus discussions on the talk page on supposed procedural grounds; warned ScienceApologist for the edit he reverted [111]; vexatious 3RR report [112], [113]Shell babelfish 19:38, 10 December 2007 (UTC)After considerable discussion, it appears Martinphi is unlikely to continue disruptive actions.Shell babelfish 02:13, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

2008 sanctions[edit]