Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Welcome to the fringe theories noticeboard
This page is for requesting input on possible fringe theories. Post here to seek advice on whether a particular topic is fringe or mainstream, or whether undue weight is being given to fringe theories.
  • Questions related to articles on fringe theories may also be posted here.
  • The purpose of this board is not to remove any mention of fringe theories, but rather to ensure that neutrality is maintained.
  • Familiarize yourself with the fringe theories guideline before reporting issues here.
  • To aid in promoting constructive dialogue with advocates of a fringe theory, {{talk fringe|fringe theory name}} may be added to the top of the corresponding talk page.
Sections older than 12 days archived by MiszaBot II.
Click here to purge this page
(For help, see Wikipedia:Purge)
If you mention specific editors, please notify them. You may use {{subst:ftn-notice}} to do so.

Search this noticeboard & archives

Additional notes:

  • If your question regards whether material constitutes original research or original synthesis, please use the no original research noticeboard instead.
  • Discussion of fringe theories will depend entirely on their notability and reliable coverage in popular media. Above all, fringe theories should never be presented as fact.
  • Volunteers: To mark a discussion resolved, place {{Resolved|Your reason here ~~~~}} at the top of the section.
To start a new request, enter the name of the relevant article below:

WP:FRINGE being cited to push fringe edits on Hurricane Harvey

Climate change and their relations to the increasing power of recent hurricanes has been being talk about at least as far back as Katrina, yet an editor is trying to say that it's a fringe theory.

2600:1017:B005:9E3B:A826:7531:6556:C27D (talk) 01:25, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

That's because it is a fringe theory. The most recent draft of the National Climate Assessment suggested that the science linking hurricanes to climate change was still emerging. Looking back through the history of storms, "the trend signal has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes" the report states.[1] --Guy Macon (talk) 02:36, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
The climate models do predict that, as the earth warms, hurricanes will get more frequent and more severe... but any climatologist will admit that there is a huge distinction between climate and weather. The models do not predict that any specific storm will be more severe than others. Blueboar (talk) 03:02, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
No, not more frequent, but larger in extent and more severe. While the signal has not yet emerged from the noise in a statistical sense calling this a "fringe theory" is silly; the underlying physics is pretty basic stuff. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:53, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Fringe as in 'not currently mainstream proven science' - not fringe as in 'loonytunes'. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:47, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This isn't a fringe theory. There aren't any serious mainstream arguments that have been made against the actual claim that global warming contributes to stronger storms. Direct attribution of individual storms to global warming is problematic not because it's a fringe theory but because extrapolating single incidences from a population is hard to do. jps (talk) 10:13, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

Its not a case of anyone arguing against it, its more that there is not a significant body of science that has demonstrated that it is the case beyond predictive models - the 'background variability' issue as Guy quotes above. (FWIW I don't disagree at all that the severity of storms is directly linked to climate change) Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:33, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

The climate change coverage on Hurricane Harvey should not be about science, models, statistics, or noise. It should be about the political debate, the effect on and of Trump's denial policies (it is long established here on Wikipedia that climate denial is real and can be mentioned by name), and the coverage this is leading to in the US and international media. The coverage and the debate is huge. To ignore it in a Wikipedia article is clearly wrong. --Nigelj (talk) 11:34, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Harvey is simply being used as a hook in this. It's not a particularly strong storm (the surge was not an important effect), and while it powered back up relatively quickly upon hitting a warm patch in the Gulf, well, that happens. What's perhaps unprecedented about it is how it came up to the land and stopped, essentially turning into a conveyor belt to pick water up out of the sea and drop it back on land. But the only odd part of that is the stopping, which is weather, not climate. It's a lead-pipe cinch that for every major hurricane, there are going to be climate change tie-in stories, and the same will be true every time there's a particularly active season; but the odds say that 2005 is going to remain unmatched for a very long time. So I would file this stuff under "routine coverage" at this point. Mangoe (talk) 15:07, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
  • If news sources are writing stories linking Harvey to climate change, then this is not a FRINGE issue at all, this is a WEIGHT issue. We can always put anything the sources say into their own voices to avoid reporting tenuous links between the specific power of this hurricane and climate change as fact. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:59, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
  • No, it's not really a fringe issue, but hurricane articles don't need to be padded with "did global warming make Hurricane Everyman worse?" clickbait. Due to the quality and quantity of info, they already tend to be large. Mangoe (talk) 16:06, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
I agree with what you're saying here, but going against RS coverage (many of which do not understand the difference between a specific weather event and climate) is probably a losing battle. If the bulk of sourcing about hurricanes were coming from peer reviewed journals and not the media, this wouldn't be a problem. But it is, and the way Wikipedia is set up really doesn't allow it to be handled well. Geogene (talk) 16:27, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, WP:DUE (just like almost every policy) is entirely up to editorial judgement. I'd bet there would be more agreement with the opinion that global warming material doesn't belong in hurricane articles than you might think. To be fair, I think the only editors who support this will be editors who want to push for more AGW material and those who actually believe there's a direct link between every individual hurricane and AGW. I hate on AGW deniers as much as anyone, but I tend to agree with you here, myself. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:08, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
What I've seen is a lot of knowledgeable mainstream sources agreeing that that multiple factors have caused the hurricane and determined its intensity and duration over one area, that the contribution of global warming to this can't be quantified at present so it's incorrect to say that the hurricane was caused by AGW, but global warming had contributed through basic physics to aspects such as sea level rise and sea surface temperature which have affected the storm, and it would be equally wrong to exclude that factor. Thus, the instrumental record shows that temperatures in the region have been exceptional, and this is consistent with the exceptional severity of the problems caused by the hurricane. Coverage should give due weight to these issues, as well as noting factors unconnected with climate change. It's a misrepresentation of sources to say this aspect is trivial or fringe and try to exclude it from the article, and there are already sufficient sources to improve the section and briefly cover the above points. Finding time to rewrite the section is a problem! . . dave souza, talk 20:26, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
The question is whether that contribution is enough to merit coverage in the article. Global sea level rise over the last century is around seven inches; Harvey's storm surge was seven feet. That is a contributing factor, but actually a fairly trivial one. One that disappears when compared to other changes like population growth and development in the affected area over the same time period. This is not to say that there aren't lots of legitimate concerns about 1000 year flood events becoming, say, 600 year flood events over the next century. That's a completely differently issue from AGW contributions to a specific storm event today. (Because not only is the quantity of atmospheric CO2 increasing, the *rate* at which it is accumulating in the atmosphere is increasing.) Geogene (talk) 21:19, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

Environmental factors and Tropical cyclone#Climate change appear to be giving undue weight to a fringe theory. I have no problem with the fringe theory being mentioned, but the mainstream scientific view has been deleted and the fringe theory is being presented as being mainstream.

Here is the science:

  • "The most recent draft of a sweeping climate science report pulled together by 13 federal agencies as part of the National Climate Assessment suggested that the science linking hurricanes to climate change was still emerging. Looking back through the history of storms, 'the trend signal has not yet had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes,' the report states." --Source: The New York Times.[2]
  • "According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, "The total number of hurricanes and the number reaching the United States do not indicate a clear overall trend since 1878" and "changes in observation methods over time make it difficult to know whether tropical storm activity has actually shown an increase over time." --Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency.[3]
  • "Detection and attribution of past changes in tropical cyclone (TC) behavior remaim a challenge ... there is still low confidence that any reported long-term (multidecadal to centennial) increases in TC are robust... This is not meant to imply that no such increases in TC activity have occurred, but rather that the data are not of a high enough quality to determine this with much confidence. Furthermore, it has been argued that within the period of highest data quality (since around 1980) the globally observed changes in the environment would not necessarily support a detectable trend of tropical cyclone intensity (Kossin et al. 2013). That is, the trend signal has not had time to rise above the background variability of natural processes." --Source: Draft National Climate Assessment (section 9.2).[the Draft National Climate Assessment
  • "Observed regional climate variability comprises a number of factors, both natural and anthropogenic, and the response of tropical cyclones to each factor is not yet well understood. Long-term trends in tropical climate due to increasing greenhouse gas can be regionally dominated by shorter-term decadal variability forced by both internal and external factors such as changes in natural and anthropogenic aerosol concentrations ... In concert with these natural and anthropogenic external forcings, internal variability can play a substantial, and possibly dominant, role in regional decadal variability. Thus, when interpreting the global and regional changes in tropical cyclone intensity shown in the present work, it is clear that framing the changes only in terms of linear trends forced by increasing well-mixed greenhouse gasses is most likely not adequate to provide a complete picture of the potential anthropogenic contributions to the observed changes." --Source: NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison.[4]
  • "It is premature to conclude that human activities -- and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of the changes or observational limitations, or are not yet confidently modeled (e.g., aerosol effects on regional climate)." --Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory[5]
  • "The term climate change detection as used in this abstract refers to a change which is anthropogenic in origin and is sufficiently large that the signal clearly rises above the background “noise” of natural climate variability (with the “noise” produced by internal climate variability, volcanic forcing, solar variability, and other natural forcings). As noted in IPCC AR42, the rise of global mean temperatures over the past half century is an example of a detectable climate change; in that case IPCC concluded that most the change was very likely attributable to human-caused increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
  • In the case of tropical cyclones, the WMO team concluded that it was uncertain whether any changes in past tropical cyclone activity have exceeded the levels due to natural climate variability. While some long (century scale) records of both Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm counts show significant rising trends, further studies have pointed to potential problems (e.g., likely missing storms) in these data sets due to the limited density of ship traffic in the pre-satellite era. After adjusting for such changes in observing capabilities for non-landfalling storms, one study found that the rising trend in tropical storm counts was no longer statistically significant. Another study noted that almost the entire trend in tropical storm counts was due to a trend in short-duration (less than two days) storms, a feature of the data which those authors interpreted as likely due in large part to changes in observing capabilities.
  • A global analysis of tropical cyclone intensity trends over 1981-2006 found increases in the intensities of the strongest tropical cyclones, with the most significant changes in the Atlantic basin. However, the short time period of this dataset, together with the lack of 'Control run' estimates of internal climate variability of TC intensities, precludes a climate change detection at this point." --Source: Article in Nature Geoscience[6]
  • "A satisfactory answer to the question of what sets the annual global rate of tropical cyclone formation, roughly 80 per year, has thus far evaded climate scientists. Several empirical relationships have been derived to relate tropical cyclone formation to large-scale climate variables, such as genesis potential indices, but there is to date no established theory relating tropical cyclone formation rate to climate." -Source: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Natural Hazard Science[7]

--Guy Macon (talk) 21:23, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

Pinging Prokaryotes. Geogene (talk) 21:47, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, wasn't aware of this talk here, basically same arguments are over here and at Have not really anything to add, everything has been said. prokaryotes (talk) 21:54, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Those of us with a canine IQ appreciate the BBC environment correspondents take [here] -Roxy the dog. bark 22:00, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Burning coal may not have caused Harvey. But if you liked Harvey, burn more coal. Geogene (talk) 22:33, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Have not really anything to add, everything has been said. Well, it has ended up at ANI, but has anyone been compared to Hitler yet? Because if we keep going, it's inevitable. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 02:01, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
Wait... Hurricanes... Harvey... Hitler... Hister.... ah ha! They all start with the letter H... proof that Nostradamus predicted that Hitler caused global warming! Blueboar (talk) 02:20, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

Isn't Hister another term for the Danube, deriving from Greek "Istros" (Ἴστρος) and Latin "Ister"? What does it have to do Hitler or anything Nazi-related? The Hitler family name is simply a variant spelling of "Hiedler". Dimadick (talk) 19:43, 2 September 2017 (UTC)

@Dimadick: Some of Nostradamus’ verses mention “Hister” in an ominous context (see note C in his article), which has been ‘interpreted’ as a prediction of WWII.—Odysseus1479 21:21, 2 September 2017 (UTC)

The simple fact that there is insufficient data to empirically prove a theory doesn't make it a fringe theory per se. Being based on established physical/climatological principles is sufficient. Otherwise the science of astrophysics would be one big fringe theory, because we haven't been there to measure that other solar systems care much about Newton or Einstein. PizzaMan (♨♨) 19:04, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

If interested, see Wikipedia:Reliable sources/ -Location (talk) 22:01, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

For future reference, discussion archived here. -Location (talk) 19:29, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Voynich Manuscript

A recent decipherment claim in the popular press is causing a debate at the article's talk page. The question seems to be what constitutes a notable decipherment claim? And does it matter that it's probably wrong?

Personally I don't think it matters much whether this particular claim winds up in the article or not, but the argument might set some kind of precedent for how the article should be handled going forward. ApLundell (talk) 14:22, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

A five days' wonder news story. There's no need for specific mention, if WIkipedia were not the news. Mangoe (talk) 15:16, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm with Mangoe. If they're still writing about this in a week, or if some academics get behind it, then it's notable. Otherwise such stories are just another clickbait headline. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:20, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, there are many such claims and we only care about the notable ones. —PaleoNeonate – 16:58, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Although I haven't read through it all, I see there is an informal Rfc on the talk page. Today's article in The Atlantic is probably enough to warrant a very brief mention, but I wouldn't bother to fight for it if others were opposed. (I assume others are more familiar with the topic to know which claims are notable and which are not.) The "Decipherment claims" section could due without all the sub-headings which might give undue weight to minor media mentions. -Location (talk) 17:07, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
The Atlantic article is a classic "when the headline asks a question, the answer is 'no'" exploration of the doubt being cast on this claim. Mangoe (talk) 17:44, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Seems to me the answer is simple, do RS notice it.?— Preceding unsigned comment added by Slatersteven (talkcontribs) 09:37, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
No, that's not the right answer. Sources need to be more than reliable; they also need to not be ephemeral to establish notability. This was a three days' wonder which some gullible news outlets passed along uncritically, and which others, a day or so later, talked to the experts, who were skeptical. We don't need to react to every news story. Mangoe (talk) 13:46, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
  • See The Voynich Manuscript and Truth on the Internet. Alexbrn (talk) 08:03, 13 September 2017 (UTC)


Major Arcana#Criticism very briefly presents the view that reading the tarot is mere mumbo jumbo, but counters this with the defence that it has had many adherents over the centuries and even now, adding that "the tarot is variously a tool for therapy, something that can facilitate the process of 'individuation', an instrument capable of 'heal[ing the] human psyche and lift[ing the] human spirit', even offering transcendence, transformation, and self-awareness." The latter claims are backed by references not to psychology but to what looks like more tarot-believer stuff. The thrust of this section looks like mere hogwash to me, but I imagine that the majority of those who care to contribute on tarot take tarot seriously (whereas I, who don't take it seriously, think about it for an average of perhaps one minute per year), and thus that an attempt to limit claims for efficacy to non-fringe sources would be overridden by a "consensus" of the energetic.

What to do? (Normally, when I see credulous material in a WP article about a silly subject, I think "Ugh" and pretend I haven't seen it.) -- Hoary (talk) 00:45, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

Remove the whole section. The article is supposed to be about the Major Arcana only; such a general discussion of Tarot belongs in the main article. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 01:34, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, good point. -- Hoary (talk) 02:42, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
That whole article is a mess of POV and personal reflection essay. It also seems like a bit of a content fork from Tarotology. I also noticed that every card has its own article. It kind of seems to me like all that stuff should be lumped into the article at Tarotology. But that all seems like a sizable job, and I'm certainly not sure that my way would be best. --Deacon Vorbis (talk) 01:41, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps you're going a little too far here: The individual articles (e.g. Strength (Tarot card)) are, I think, of some historical/cultural interest (even to me, with no time for magical thinking). Which is more than I can say for Hoth, for example. -- Hoary (talk) 02:42, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
I tried to fix the thing, but there is a lot more work to be done. WP:YESPOV is the key here. There is a lot of unattributed opinion being pushed out in the voice of Wikipedia. Removing the unsourced bits and recasting the others as attribution will allow us to arrive at what is necessary, but the bigger issue is trying to figure out which sources are reliable and which are total nonsense. Not easy when the subject is tarot. jps (talk) 10:37, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
Good changes, but "Among the more sophisticated apologists for tarot, the claimed understandings are sometimes connected..." might be a bit much. - (talk) 16:22, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
I have difficulty editing this kind of thing. Putting aside the mystical/Jungian woo, even what at first looks straightforwardly historical turns out to be odd. Example (after markup-stripping, and with my own emphases):
In 1870 Jean-Baptiste Pitois (better known as Paul Christian) wrote a book entitled Historie de la magie, du monde surnaturel et de la fatalité à travers les temps et le peuples. [...] Christian's fabricated history of tarot initiation are [sic] quickly reinforced with the formation of an occult journal in 1989 entitled L'Initiation [...]
Although it's conceivable that in this area of human endeavor, 119 years is but a brief interlude. -- Hoary (talk) 23:38, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a stab at it, like so many occult things the cultural/historical notability is absolutely there but the people who care enough to contribute to the articles tend to be true believers. That Dummett source in the lead looks intriguing, more information on the original courtly symbolism would be excellent to have in all of the tarot-related articles. - (talk) 19:21, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Göbekli Tepe redux

Göbekli Tepe (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

First it was Kate Mulgrew narrating Robert Sungenis's geocentrism movie. Then Patrick Stewart narrated the pseudophysics claims of (now deleted) Nassim Haramein. This morning I wake up to find George Takei posting about the fringe theory that a swarm of comets caused the Younger Dryas quoting none other than Graham Hancock as saying we will have a comet strike in 20 years. [8]


Just keep a look out in case the masses come in hoping to expose THA TRUTH.

jps (talk) 12:04, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

To be fair to Stewart and Takei (Mulgrew can be a woo-maniac all she wants; I never liked Voyager), I'd narrate a YEC slash 9/11 truther slash birther documentary if they paid me enough. And I have a good voice, too. I've done pro voice work before (hint hint to any woo-documentary producers on WP). ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:40, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

Peer reviewed journal with a climate change denier's article

Geoscience Frontiers, published by Elsevier, has published Modulation of ice ages via precession and dust-albedo feedbacks] by Ralph Ellis and Michael Palmer, University of Waterloo, Department of Chemistry, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Palmer admits that he is not a climate scientist.[9] Ellis does not.[10] See The Climate Scandal] by him. What does this say about peer review? I see that peer review for this journal is entirely "under the responsibility of China University of Geosciences (Beijing)" and it seems to be their journal.[11] Is there a better place to post this? Doug Weller talk 13:37, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

I believe there was/is a page somewhere that describes how we treat Chinese journals. I cant find it currently. Guy/Jzg would probably be the person to ask. As I recall the summary is 'don't trust Chinese peer review'. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:47, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Like a baby treats a diaper Ravensfire (talk) 13:54, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Sadly Guy left in April, feeling burnt out.[12] Doug Weller talk 14:07, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
That is sad (I had noticed his absence, but not his intentional wikibreak). But yes, Chinese journals should always be given additional scrutiny. I'm not aware of any essays or PnGs regarding them, but they're categorically not trustworthy for anything in which the Chinese government has an interest, including climate change and acupuncture. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:22, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Beall's blog is down, but all the Frontiers journals are a joke. Talk to anyone at Elsevier and they will (if off the record) admit it. It's their skin in the game to make money off the predatory journal racket. jps (talk) 10:21, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

I may be remembering a particularly in-depth discussion rather than a specific essay/guideline then MPants. Sadly due to ENWP's crappy search system for archived discussions I have no idea where it was. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:44, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Possibly that WP:PUS could be updated. —PaleoNeonate – 14:23, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
I found this article which is about fraud related to peer review, but I don't think that's the problem here. However, in the article a Chinese researcher mentions "academic journals that show insufficient diligence over peer review". China journal takes 300 articles offline after shutdown threat discusses interference by the Chinese Communist Party with peer review: "“The partnering Chinese institutions typically profess allegiance to the unchallengeable leadership of the Communist Party and to its Four Cardinal Principles of socialism, proletarian dictatorship, Marxism, and Mao Zedong Thought. That’s Chinese for censorship.” So while each of the journals claims to be refereed according to the norms of international peer review, many are also policed for compliance by the Communist Party secretary of the partner institution in China. Such institutions, he said, were duty bound to comply with party authorities over content and process, as a prior condition to their launching a journal in association with a respected foreign publishing house." Again I don't think that's the case for this specific issue but it is a general worry, more for social science journals than scientific ones probably. Doug Weller talk 15:14, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Doug Weller, are you so sure that American universities are free from political pressure? I read this morning that Chelsea Manning has been purged from a Harvard position because of pressure from the CIA. 1 Also, FWIW, the Chinese government has been signing treaties to control carbon emissions. So if the Chinese Communist Party was attempting to influence peer review in this case, one might expect pressure in the opposite direction. 2 JerryRussell (talk) 22:27, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
@JerryRussell: I've seen the Chinese gov't go both ways on climate change. But in general, they tend to be more skeptical of it, because reducing carbon emissions is not something an economy that's growing at China's rate wants to do. Sure, they pay lip service to climate change, just like we do, here. That doesn't mean they're not going to support CC denialism when it suits them, which is pretty much any time it appears with a veneer of scientific respectability. The problem isn't so much their POV push, but the culture of dishonesty that has grown in Chinese science as a result of the government's heavy-handed approach to censorship.
Also, Manning didn't have a "position" with Harvard in the sense of having been hired, and she wasn't "purged" in the sense of having been fired; she was initially offered a visiting fellowship, then the offer was rescinded in the face of protests. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:39, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
MjolnirPants, you are saying that a visiting fellowship at Harvard is not politically prestigious or important or even a "position" because it isn't paid? And that Harvard yielded to unnamed "protests", which just randomly happened to include protests by past and present CIA directors?
I appreciate your understanding that the politics of climate change are rather subtle, with pressures pushing in both directions. What is often missed in these discussions, is that US universities get considerable pressure from "liberal" foundations whose agendas are not necessarily transparent.
The Palmer & Ellis paper makes the point that climate change has also occurred in the past without being driven by anthropogenic factors. I don't understand why this should be controversial at all, much less why it should be called "climate denial". JerryRussell (talk) 22:59, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
Re: "I read this morning that Chelsea Manning has been purged from a Harvard position because of pressure from the CIA." You might not want to confound your argument by citing World Socialist Web Site. -Location (talk) 00:17, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
Useless source but sadly it's true. And irrelevant to a discussion about peer review. JerryRussell seems to be still pursing the argument elsewhere when he accused me of racism or nationalism, and isn't even reading my posts here carefully. I said clearly "I don't think that's the case for this specific issue" - so why is he arguing about an issue I said wasn't relevant? And so far as I know, most academic journals don't limit peer review to one university. If he wants to raise issues about pressure on US universities making US academic journals unreliable then he can take the evidence to WP:RSN, this is the fringe noticeboard. Doug Weller talk 10:42, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
It's true that Harvard rescinded the fellowship, but the implication that there is a CIA plot to influence the academic output of Harvard is not. As you have alluded to, this is a very weak attempt to introduce doubt into what Wikipedians typically consider to be reliable sources thereby "leveling the playing field".-Location (talk) 15:27, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
  • @9SGjOSfyHJaQVsEmy9NS: That's a good point. The word "frontiers" in the name never even registered with me. I agree: the various "frontiers" journals are not respected, academic journals, but predatory clearinghouses for articles that wouldn't cut it in a real journal.
@Only in death: You may be interested to know that I'm actually (if very slowly) working on an off-site tool to do text-based searches of one's contributions. I'm aiming for a more library-type search than a google-type search too, so it should end up being very powerful for finding this sort of thing, assuming I ever finish. Feel free to occasionally pester me to get back to work on it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:19, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
@MPants at work: you're thinking of Frontiers Media, not directly related to this, but this April Fools post is interesting even if it's an April Fools post. Doug Weller talk 16:06, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
@Doug Weller:Indeed I was. In fact, I was completely unaware of any journals with the word "frontier" in their name that weren't part of that group. So I guess my only remaining complaints about the publisher are that the article probably costs an arm and a leg and that Elsevier will likely send anyone who purchases it a cease and desist demand the instant they download it, quote it or admit to reading it. Still, the issue of government interference in Chinese science remains. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:46, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
This is Ralph Ellis, author of the paleoclimatology paper concerned, and I have been notified of this discussion by Jerry Russell. I find the western elitism here odd. So let's clear one thing up - Bejing University paid for the paper to be published, allowing the paper to be free to all readers. (Check it out, on Science Direct: Modulation of Ice Ages via Dust and Albedo .). Many western institutions do the opposite, with Chryosphere Today charging thousands of euros to publish an article (or charging €35 per download).
Secondly, the term 'denier' here is deliberately perjorative, and I am surprised that Wiki would allow such a title. As Jerry said 'who denies climate?'. I would appreciate the title being changed. This is science, not politics, and the objective of science is to test a range of theories, to advance understanding. More often than not, science is hindered by the consensus, not advanced by it.
Thirdly, the western peer review by the Royal Society was laughably incompetent. If you think western peer review is good, you are sadly mistaken. One reviewer marked my paper down for having an incorrect description of the precession of the equinox. This esteemed physicist (apparently) said the earth's rotational axis actually precesses around the north pole. I kid you not. Another reviewer said that plants could not be starved at altitude, as the concentration of CO2 was the same at altitude as at sea level - and so my entire thesis was incorrect. I kid you not. I did ask in reply, whether he-she would be starved of oxygen at the top of Mt Everest. Another reviewer said that Ganopolski had already proved that Arctic dust was Canadian glaciogenic, and so my paper was completely wrong. (Quote: 'for some reason the author (myself) does not like glaceogenic dust.). But isotopic analysis has demonstrated that Arctic ice sheet dust came from the Gobi desert, and there were no glaciers in the Gobi during the ice age (too much dust - glaciers cannot live in a dusty environment). So again the criticism was baseless. Another reviewer said the (log) dust reponse to CO2 would not be linear, and so the paper is wrong, without realising that mountain areas are not linear - the land area exposed is logarithmic as the treeline descends down the mountain.
And so it went on. The bottom line is that western peer review was determined to weed out a paper that went against the political consensus. And the arguments used to achieve that goal were baseless and puerile, exposing a chasm in comprehension at the highest of levels. If you think that western peer reviw is a reliable process, not subjected to political peer-pressure and personal bias, you are very much mistaken. Ralfellis (talk) 10:39, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
As for "climate denier", the phrase "climate denier" is in the Oxford Dictionary defined as "A person who rejects the proposition that climate change caused by human activity is occurring"[13] so my usage was after all correct. For those those who say 'denier' is pejorative , the term is commonly used as a descriptor for those who reject, "doubt or deny, the scientific community’s consensus on the answers to the central questions of climate change" and according to the National Center for Science Education is "intended descriptively, not in any pejorative sense, and are used for the sake of brevity and consistency with a well-established usage in the scholarly and journalistic literature."[14] We have an article called Climate change denial. Doug Weller talk 15:15, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

I don't see this as a big deal. Less-than-stellar papers get published all the time. Next... Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 14:03, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

I think I'm with Boris here: small paper, few killed. I watch GW type stuff a lot, and haven't even seen this come up, so I don't think it has much play. Is anyone even trying to use it as a ref in wiki? William M. Connolley (talk) 12:44, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
It looks like this is a political play for a backdoor discussion of denialist talking points (see the author's arguments above). While the main climate content here is likely to be unaffected, we are wise to monitor the borderlands, in my opinion. jps (talk) 13:26, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
@William M. Connolley: I don't think there is any way to tell how many attempts to use it have been made, perhaps only this one. The problem here is that there are attempts to say that Ellis is a reliable source because he has a peer reviewed paper, albeit one that doesn't seem to have been cited much if at all. Of course that's not likely to gain traction on Wikipedia, but elsewhere? Doug Weller talk 13:47, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
Ah, OK, I didn't realise it had been used (did no-one say that before or did I just miss it?). I'd be inclined to discuss the details at Talk:100,000-year problem William M. Connolley (talk) 19:44, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
Ralph Ellis also is a catastrophist, who promotess the fringy and imaginary Saginaw Bay impact crater and the creation of the Carolina Bays by iceberg size pieces of ice ejected from an impact on the ice sheet as written in The Carolina Bays and the Destruction of North America on the Ancient Origins web site. Paul H. (talk) 14:11, 20 September 2017 (UTC)


See Talk:The Exodus#Osman and Ellis where Ralph Ellis is being discussed and where I've been attacked for being racist or nationalist for asking how an Elsevier journal let through the article I mention above and Talk:The Exodus#Freund and Hengstenberg. I don't really want to carry on a discussion with the editor who still thinks I'm being nationalist and is pushing Ellis hard as a source (he's a fan) as that seems pointless, so it would be useful if others could chip in. Doug Weller talk 09:00, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

I'll take a look. -Location (talk) 15:28, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Doug Weller, I too found your critisism of Chinese academia to be perjorative. My experience of their peer review was that it was quite thorough. And presumably to placate western criticism, two of the reviewers were American. And might I remind you that most of the high-tech electrical goods you purchase, come from China. We are not talking about a review from Eritrea here. (Or is that observation pejorative?). Ralfellis (talk) 10:48, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
Wrong section and I didn't criticise Chinese academia, although I did quote some who have. It does occur to me that the Western reviewers might have been required in their contract with Elsevier. Doug Weller talk 14:52, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

(Sir) Jason Winters

  • Jason Winters (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) begins: "Jason Winters is known for his line of herbal teas and supplements which he credits with curing a cancerous growth on his neck. He has written at least four books on alternative healing and multiple versions of his memoirs have been published. Much of what is known about Jason (Raymond) Winters comes directly from Winters and is not verified through outside sources." He has questionable claims to being knighted, created an organization on Quackwatch's questionable organizations list, claims of having a Walk-in soul, etc. --Ronz (talk) 16:48, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
  • If we took out everything that is self-published or from a non-independent source, how much would be left in there I wonder? Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:09, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Exactly, and by apparently not being based primarily upon independent sources, how does it begin to meet NOT and related policies, like NPOV and FRINGE? --Ronz (talk) 21:17, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Attempting Only in death's thought experiment left me with almost nothing, not even enough for a stub. At least half the article is refutation or doubt about his various claims and the "knighthood" is completely fantastic. The one WP:RS is a Las Vegas Sun article larded with so many "he claims" and "somebody else says" and other qualifications as to render it useless. Nominated for AfD. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 21:36, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
I think it is hilarious and would be a fine addition to any magazine or to somebody's blog. I'd hate to see it vanish from the internet entirely but it looks like a lot of Original Research which is no good for us and we don't even have a category called "Egregious bullshitters" to put it in. I fear it should be pared back to just what the reliable sources support without OR, even if that only leaves a stub. --DanielRigal (talk) 21:49, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Mental Space Psychology

The AfD for "Mental Space Psychology" seems like it would be of interest to this community. XOR'easter (talk) 00:46, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

RfC to amend guidelines to accord with PSCI/NFRINGE

Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#RfC:_Amending_WP:NMEDIA_and_related_guidelines_to_accord_with_WP:PSCI.2FWP:NFRINGE -- Jytdog (talk) 21:21, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

Medicinal plants

If this actually a topic (as distinct from herbalism?). The article does not define what a "medicinal plant" is meant to be, and much of it looks like OR to me. This article is a GA! (despite containing stuff like "the effects of taking a plant as medicine can be complex"). Alexbrn (talk) 05:44, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Just from the first paragraph of the lead it's not a GA. It suggests that all plants contain chemicals which affect the human body to the same extent as pharmaceutical drugs, while few plants do. While the point is correct (it doesn't matter if a substance is natural of chemical of origin), it's not phrased well. Also the historic section suddenly stops before the application of science to medical use of herbs, which suggest an anti-scientific bias. It also has a broad definition of medicines. Any psychoactive substance will do, including caffeine, which is only a medicine for premature babies' lungs and perhaps - way off label - people with a CSF leak; but i doubt the author even knew all that; in general caffeine isn't considered a medicine any more than water - a medicine for dehydration which can be derived from plants... You get the point. And even including nicotine, which is only a medicine for detoxing from nicotine afaik. Also, the use of rhubarb as a laxative isn't well sourced (not even in the rhubarb article, the reference isn't a scientific article nor does that website refer to one). My point is: it's not nearly a GA imho and in it's current state i indeed see a lot of overlap with herbalism. I also don't like the way the two articles synergise. Just look at the only place where herbalism links to medicinal plants. PizzaMan (♨♨) 20:03, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Much of the above appears doubtfully correct or definitely wrong. Every statement in the article is cited. The article certainly does not state, nor should it be taken to imply, that all plants are medicinal, nor that all are identical in effect to modern drugs. "Medicine" is a term with a wide scope, intentionally including both traditional and modern Western forms. Herbalism is the use of medicinal plants; medicinal plants are also used in ethnobotany; none of these terms are synonyms. This article is about the plants; the herbalism article is about their use, so it can be considered a subsidiary article, and some overlap is inevitable: there is a very brief summary of herbalism in the relevant part of the article. This is a normal main link + summary relationship and a necessary part of the structure of the encyclopedia. "Medicinal plant" is a term with a long history leading back to Ancient Greece. The article is equally definitely based on the established sciences of chemistry, history, botany, and pharmacology, so I have no idea why it should be at this forum (and I will not be discussing things here further). That said, if people have specific comments, they can be made on the article's talk page and we'll discuss, agree and carry out any work required. Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:38, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with PizzaMan's analysis. I'm not seeing any reason why "Medicinal plants" is a distinct topic from Herbalism (or phytotherapy). Should probably be gutted of OR and any usable remnant merged into Herbalism. Alexbrn (talk) 17:51, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
@PizzaMan, without getting into the meta-point of whether we need separate medicinal plants and herbalism articles, your above comments are way off the mark. Medicinal-grade caffeine is very regularly both prescribed and sold OTC, particularly in combination with acetaminophen/paracetamol as a painkiller, while the use of rhubarb as a laxative is probably one of the most widely-documented traditional remedies in history (after tea it was probably 19th-century China's biggest export crop). ‑ Iridescent 17:56, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
"whether we need separate medicinal plants and herbalism articles" isn't a meta-point; it's the main point (that I was trying to raise anyway) - esp. since the present article is so woolly. Alexbrn (talk) 18:01, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
It's certainly a theoretically viable topic—there are medications like codeine, guaifenesin and medicinal cocaine which are undoubtedly plant-based medicines but wouldn't fit into even the loosest definition of "herbalism". The existing article doesn't really go into this; the best thing to do would probably be to merge the existing medicinal plants with herbalism, and rebuild plant-based medicines from scratch. I do not propose to be the one to do this, as it would be a monster undertaking and a magnet for every crank on the planet trying to spam their particular snake-oil. ‑ Iridescent 18:48, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
codeine, guaifenesin and medicinal cocaine which are undoubtedly plant-based medicines <- yes, but the article is not about "plant-based medicines" (though we have material on phytotherapy and Plant sources of anti-cancer agents), it is about "medicinal plants" - it doesn't define what this means, though in herbology AIUI the whole plant must be consumed according to the rules of the magicke. As it says "the effects of taking a plant as medicine can be complex" Alexbrn (talk) 18:53, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
What a strange idea, conflating medicinal plants and fringe theories. Have you never used aspirin, a product of the willow tree? What's fringe about that? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 18:55, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
I've used aspirin. I haven't eaten a Willow tree. Alexbrn (talk) 18:58, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── So attempts to remove the OR or even tag the problems are getting pushed back. Perhaps the next step is a WP:GAR? Alexbrn (talk) 20:12, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

In response to Iridescents point about caffeine: caffeine may increase the uptake of paracetamol and ergotamine, it may increase the analgetic effects, but i personally find the evidence behind this less solid than the examples i mentioned. I care little that it's a more common usage, especially since it's afaik never used purely as an analgesic. Perhaps the most substantial analgetic effect of caffeine in practice is that it treats caffeine abstinence, which is probably the real reason it's added. Which brings us to nicotine. Why did you cherry pick from my examples? As for the rhubarb: I'm not saying it's not a laxative, I'm just saying the reference lack any trace of science, either physiological or historical. It's exactly the lack of awareness of such issues that plagues the article. PizzaMan (♨♨) 21:27, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Haven't we had this conversation before? Possibly with half the same people involved, and with nobody ever admitting that his opinion was changed by the discussion(s) to date?
Pessimism aside, I think we're approaching this question from the wrong direction. The process is (and should always be): First, identify what the page is supposed to be about. Second, decide what to call it. So if we start off with "Is Title X actually distinct from Title Y?", then we'll get bad results, such as merging Low-carb diet into Ketogenic diet. Instead, we need to start off by identifying the (ideal) scope of the existing two pages. If they match, then we merge. If they don't, then we don't (but maybe add a hatnote to reduce confusion).
I think that there are a couple of rational possibilities that result in separate articles:
But step #1 is still step #1. Ignore the existing article title, ignore all the labels (on and off wiki), and figure out what the intended scope of the article is. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:47, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Nicholas Kollerstrom

Nicholas Kollerstrom (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) Just found someone changing the description of this conspiracy theorist and holocaust denier to "academic scientists" which I've now changed to "author and researcher". Might be worth a few more people adding it to their watchlist. He has done some science, 'tis true, but some of that looks dubious, other bits look ok. Doug Weller talk 13:04, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

I think we should make a distinction in time. He *was* an academic scientist who published proper research until about ten years ago. I doubt he's stil taken serious in scientific circles after promoting all kinds of very fringy theories. PizzaMan (♨♨) 20:09, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

Roger Leir Comment

Roger Leir (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Someone who may not be a native English speaker needs WP:FRINGE and WP:RS explained to them. - LuckyLouie (talk) 17:48, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

Stochastic terrorism

AfD discussion on this is degenerating. A large part of the problem is that searching books/scholarly stuff generates mountains of false hits due to juxtaposition; the idea itself is something of a conspiracy theory/political talking point. From what I can see it was pushed by one blogger and never really caught on, but others should take a look at it. Mangoe (talk) 20:02, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

Meg Patterson

Fringe theories in play since this person was an electo-acupuncturist and a credulous obituary is being used to air her notions. Alexbrn (talk) 11:40, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Japan Air Lines flight 1628 incident

Japan Air Lines flight 1628 incident (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

I'm wondering if we have a resident UFO debunker who might want to check the sourcing for this. I was watching "UFOs: The Lost Evidence" on AHC earlier and there was a brief discussion of Japan Air Lines flight 1628 incident which in typical fashion of UFO programs featured snippets of all sorts of credentialed peopled (e.g. people who worked for the FAA and former military personnel with secret clearances, etc.) confirming that there was a UFO. If this skeptical website is to be believed, the pilot had a history of reporting UFOs and told things to the press that he didn't tell the FAA or are not confirmed by the flight recordings, and the two other members of the flight crew did not see anything remarkable. The article reiterates the claims and allegations of various players as fact (e.g. meeting in which individuals were instructed not to talk to anyone, etc.).-Location (talk) 19:15, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

I found this blog post which has some useful links to skeptical analysis (beyond its own). It occurs to me, reading these, that really almost all UFO incident articles could be deleted as being based on the one hand on credulous and unreliable sources, but more so on a lot of primary sourcing, directed by the credulous behind the scenes. Mangoe (talk) 01:51, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

Ralph Ellis socking for over 8 years

See Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Tatelyle. I'd forgotten this. See also the 2010] ANI discussion. I'm wondering if a community ban is worthwhile or if it would just be unnecessary drama. Doug Weller talk 11:54, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA