Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard

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Miracle of the Sun

This articles puts forward the fringe theory that a miraculous event happened, and underrepresents the scientific consensus that there are non-paranormal explanation to this event.

Attempts to change this have been met with disruptive edits and edit warring from several users. The article needs to be changed significantly to belong in an encyclopedia.

The parent article Our Lady of Fátima as the same issues. KarlPoppery (talk) 20:46, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Update : The skeptical lead has been restored and the article has been semi-protected, which should prevent some of the problematic edits. It still needs a lot of attention from this board, if you can improve it please do so. KarlPoppery (talk) 21:51, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Two quick points. First, there should certainly be a properly sourced and neutral section that presents a critical examination of the claimed event. Whether or not that currently exists is a fair topic for discussion. Secondly, I would take a deep breath before labeling this as a fringe theory. I think it doubtful that there would be a consensus in favor of that. While there have been a number of attempts over the years to label various religious beliefs and or practices as fringe, the community has generally declined to endorse them. So tread cautiously. -Ad Orientem (talk) 21:55, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Well, that's not precisely true. Whenever religious beliefs make testable predictions, those claims for what reality is tend to be WP:FRINGE. Thus, creation science, faith healing, etc. We can, for example, know for certain that the Sun did not move in actual fact during the event in spite of the fact that many believers are convinced that this is the case. jps (talk) 20:34, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I read and did a quick edit run through the page a few minutes ago, popped in an 'alleged' in an External links descriptor, and although the lede needs more description of what is actually alleged to have occurred this seems like a balanced page. Full disclosure, I created a template for the incidents quite a while ago, and named it something like '1917 Fatima events' which I thought was a neutral name. The template has since been merged and changed into a more religious one, and titled 'Our Lady of Fatima' (the common name descriptor). I've done some editing on it off and on to keep check of bias, but would welcome other eyes on it. As for calling this a fringe theory, probably not, due to the amount of witnesses and journalistic coverage both at the event and afterwards. Whatever happened in the fields that day, a large amount of people agreed that something did, so in the population present during the predicted event their sensory input sensed something unusual, and in many cases identical, so calling it 'fringe' itself seemingly wouldn't be encyclopedic. Randy Kryn 22:07, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
        • I agree that this does not fall into the "fringe" category. It is not pseudoscience, questionable science, or a conspiracy theory. I quite understand why religion skeptics, among others, might consider it so; but disrespecting people's faith, particularly their belief in allegedly miraculous events, is a slippery slope. I also agree that the article needs to be watched - but not from a "fringe" perspective. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 22:15, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
          • I think Wikipedia tends to err too much on the side of caution in these matters. Those who claim miracles occur, much the same as those who believe that ghosts are real, argue something about the testable world. Once the religious believer crosses the divide between the two non-overlapping magisteria, WP:FRINGE is the inevitable result according to Wikipedia's definitions. Of course, there are other ways to interpret what precisely is meant by belief in the miraculous, but we're talking about those literalists who think, for example, that things like bilocation is physically possible. jps (talk) 20:37, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Points taken. I still think that the specific belief that something supernatural happened in 1917 can be described as "fringe". I certainly don't want to disrespect anyone. My only concern is that the article doesn't claim or imply that this event is impossible to explain by natural mean, when that's not the case.
Thanks to those who've said they'd keep an eye on the article. KarlPoppery (talk) 22:52, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Nope, it's not fringe, per se. But proponent rebuttals should be removed from the Criticism section, such as: "...However De Marchi states that the prediction of an unspecified "miracle", the abrupt beginning and end of the alleged miracle of the sun, the varied religious backgrounds of the observers, the sheer numbers of people present, and the lack of any known scientific causative factor make a mass hallucination unlikely". It may be a religious belief, but when a religious scholar cites "lack of any known scientific causative factor" as justification for a miracle then WP:FRINGE is invoked and scientific mainstream views can be given primary weight. - LuckyLouie (talk) 23:01, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Maybe remove the sentence portion containing 'scientific causative', but his other observations seem like good descriptors of the event and could even be used in the lede (which lacks an adequate description of what the page is about). Randy Kryn 23:23, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
I did a cleanup of the Critical Eval section, removed or relocated all the pro-supernatural rebuttals. - LuckyLouie (talk) 02:19, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
  • It would be quite erroreous to state there is a "scientific consensus" on the matter. To my knowledge, no serious inquiry has ever been performed, aside from maybe idle speculation from meteorologists or astronomers, and more recently, television producers. While individual theories presented by tv producers are likely nonsense, belief in Fatima is mainstream, and no more "fringe" than religion itself. –Zfish118talk 10:51, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
That, I have to strongly disagree with. Belief in Fátima is not mainstream. It's a fact that the sun didn't become a spiral and started dancing in the sky in 1917. Nothing unusual about the sun was reported that day by the observatories around the world. To make a claim that breaks all laws of physics, like that the sun started doing zigzags in the sky, you'd need solid evidences. Anecdotal evidence is not enough. The contradictory accounts of eyewitnesses who were staring at the sun expecting to see a miracle is not enough. Sources already in the article show that the event was thoroughly investigated. Author Kevin McClure, who tried to compile these accounts, said he had "never seen such a collection of contradictory accounts in any of the research I have done in the past 10 years."
What the article can explain is that some people believe that a miracle happen. This should be done in a respectful way. It also has to report that no such miracle did occur as far as we can tell, looking at the event from the lens of the scientific method. KarlPoppery (talk) 13:36, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Actually a 'miracle' did occur. As a 'miracle' is a specific religious label for an event which is confirmed by the religion. If the event did or did not happen according to secular sources, is not relevant to if it is a confirmed miracle or not. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:00, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
It's only relevant if the article makes claims about the physical world (which it did in previous versions, but it's getting better). If the article claims that according to scientists the event was impossible, it's misusing science and forces us to examine the event from a scientific perspective. KarlPoppery (talk) 14:14, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

 Done Miracle of the Sun now seems fairly balanced and clear. Our Lady of Fátima may still need some cleanup. KarlPoppery (talk) 16:06, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

I added the material to the all important lede to provide a summary of the non-religious POV already presented in the article. Have had to fight to keep it there. (Rp2006) (talk) 19:05, 6 May 2017 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sorry to see, recent additions to the lead put undue weight on pseudoscientific explanations, bringing the article into WP:FRINGE territory. - LuckyLouie (talk) 14:57, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Oh well, I'm working on something else... I guess I'll clean it up again in a few days if it's not done. KarlPoppery (talk) 15:15, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
This is definitely within WP:FRINGE territory now. - LuckyLouie (talk) 02:31, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Now, a persistent campaign by a Christian activist blogger editor who argues it's "censorship" for the article not to give the beliefs of "Catholics who are scientists" equal weight with the scientific mainstream. - LuckyLouie (talk) 12:54, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

False memory syndrome

This appears to be fringe, ie pseudoscience.[1] [2] [3] As it stands the article says it's disputed but also describes it in Wikipedia's voice as though it's a real syndrome, which it isn't. We all have false memories. See for instance the work of Julia Shaw (psychologist), whose book I've just finished - anyone interested in the subject of memory needs to read article by her Doug Weller talk 09:55, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

As you say, false memories are a real thing, another well known researcher in this area is Elizabeth Loftus who has demonstrated in a number of studies that false memories can be created quite easily. The whole idea of "false memory syndrome" came into being to fight back against prosecutions of people that were based on false memories inadvertently created by poorly trained therapists using bad techniques with their patients. The activists fighting for people who were victims of these false prosecutions needed a name to slap on this. I see Shaw's point in her article, she's undoubtedly right, this article should really be called "False memory prosecutions" or something like that. But the problem is "False memory syndrome" is entrenched as the name for this, so it seems like under Wikipedia policy that's what the name of the article should be. --Krelnik (talk) 13:07, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
@Krelnik: probably. But it needs a revamp as I think it has too much bias towards the claim that it exists. False Memory actually has a "see also" that says "False memory syndrome, a condition in which a person's identity and relationships are affected by strongly believed but false memories of traumatic experiences" which has Wikipedia stating that it's a real diagnosis. I just finished listening to Julia Shaw's book. Fascinating and well read. Doug Weller talk 15:48, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Here is my commentary on the extant article, posted to Doug's wall and, for luck, a copy to my own. :)
Greetings, Doug! The phenomena of False Memory Syndrome itself is not fringe science, it's an area of psychology and psychiatry and, interestingly enough, an aspect of magic and organized David Hume-class skepticism, complete with clinical as well as field studies which employ scientific methodology to observe as well as to implant-and-observe false memories.
I was heavily involved in the McMartin Preschool "child abuse" fiasco which involved false memory implantation in numerous children of very young ages as well as false memory problems among some of the adults who expressed strong religious delusions, to the point where eventually some of the more affected adults started to accuse law enforcement officers, District Attorneys, you-name-them of sexually raping their children as part of "Satanic rituals," among other false memories.
Because of the strong religious beliefs harbored by some of the adults, investigators, and because of the belief by Janet Reno (who involved herself and her office in the cases) in "Satanic Ritual Abuse" (SRA) wherein upwards of 300,000 children are ritually abducted, raped, murdered, and eaten by "Satanists" in the country every year. (Reno was not alone in that belief, it was a very common belief among Christian Republican extremists and still has a fairly large following.)
So the extant article covering False Memory Syndrome is accurate, it itself is not pseudo-science, there are academic research papers covering the phenomena and, of course, false memory implantation is part of the science behind why people believe they have been abducted by aliens. (One of the reasons. Michael Shermer, the Professor of History, was abducted by aliens while performing a long distance bicycle race however after re-hydrating and cooling off, no long-term memories of being abducted remained and of course cognitively he was aware of why he hallucinated. Other people harbor long-term false memories resulting from such transient brain issues, ergo False Memory Syndrome.)
So I don't think that the article warrants update or removal, it's certainly a science-based phenomena. The article itself need far more references and citations to the extant academic research. EDIT: Formatting my comment better. Damotclese (talk) 16:42, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
By the way, Google Scholar returns numerous academic research publications, the first one being The Lancet. GS False Memory Syndrome and I see that some of the publications reference the McMartin "Satanic Ritual Abuse" false memory implantation. Damotclese (talk) 16:44, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. As I said on my talk page, where we disagree is the word 'syndrome'. There is no such syndrome, and if you add 'pseudoscience' to your search[4] you will see articles stating that the syndrome claim is pseudoscience. We've got an article on False memory, but the article in question is on this alleged syndrome. Doug Weller talk 17:00, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
(e/c) I don't think it is fringe (at least no more than the rest of psychotherapy, and in particular its antithesis, Repressed memory). Britannica says "False memory syndrome, also called recovered memory, pseudomemory, and memory distortion, the experience, usually in the context of adult psychotherapy, of seeming to remember events that never actually occurred. These pseudomemories are often quite vivid and emotionally charged, especially those representing acts of abuse or violence committed against the subject during childhood." This more or less matches with my own impressions - false memories, usully in a context of accusations of criminal abuse. As Krelnik says, it was a bad name, but this is the name under which it is commonly known. We just need to be careful how we describe it. Agricolae (talk) 17:07, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
@Agricolae: No, false memory is covered by False memory and is scientifically valid. That's not in dispute. The Britannica is out of date. False memory syndrome is the claim that there is a syndrome, almost an ailment, that some people have. The first link in my Google Scholar search that I've given above is an article that states that "This article critically examines the assumptions underlying "False Memory Syndrome" to determine whether there is sufficient empirical evidence to support it as a valid diagnostic construct. Epidemiological evidence is also examined to determine whether there is data to support its advocates' claim of a public health crisis or epidemic. A review of the relevant literature demonstrates that the existence of such a syndrome lacks general acceptance in the mental health field, and that the construct is based on a series of faulty assumptions, many of which have been scientifically disproven. There is a similar lack of empirical validation for claims of a "false memory" epidemic. It is concluded that in the absence of any substantive scientific support, "False Memory Syndrome" is best characterized as a pseudoscientific syndrome that was developed to defend against claims of child abuse." Julia Shaw (psychologist) writes in The Memory Illusion that "For one thing, I often encounter the use of the term false memory syndrome by lawyers, therapists and the police. This term is simply inaccurate, false memory syndrome docs not exist. The use of the word ‘syndrome’ has an inherently medical connotation, almost as though one could catch a false memory like one can catch a cold. It also has the connotation of being an abnormal process. But, as we know from the research covered by this book, such a conceptualisation is simply not true. We are all capable of forming elaborate false memories, and small false memories happen all the time without our knowledge. False memories are just memory illusions due to normal kinds of memory processes. Thus, the correct thing to do is simply to say that someone has - or may have - a false memory, omitting the unnecessary term ‘syndrome*." The Handbook for Teaching Introductory Psychology, Volume 2[5] says "Although the terminology implies scientific endorsement, false memory syndrome is not currently an accepted diagnostic label by the APA and is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th cd.: American Psychiatric Association. 1994). Seventeen researchers (Carstensrn rr al., 199.1) noted that this syndrome is “a non-psychological term originated hy a private foundation whose stated purpose is to support accused parents" (p. 23|. These authors urged professionals to forgo use of this pseudoscientific terminology. Terminology that implies acceptance of this pseudodiagnostic label may leave readers with the mistaken impression that false memory syndrome is a hona fide clinical disorder supported by concomitant empirical evidence." "Pseudo-science terminology". Doug Weller talk 17:54, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Doug, with all due respect, the edit comment of your statement above[6] (" 'False Memory Syndrome' is best characterized as a pseudoscientific syndrome that was developed to defend against claims of child abuse") shows your bias. Yes some abusers use this as a defense, but there are legitimate cases where the following happens:

"I have three wonderful daughters – two teenagers and one young adult. I can hardly imagine anything more horrible than the prospect that one of them might one day enter therapy for help with some common psychological problem such as anxiety, insomnia or depression and, at the end of that process, accuse me of childhood sexual abuse on the basis of "recovered" memories. Even though I would know with absolute certainty that such allegations were untrue, the chances are that nothing I could say or do would convince my accusers of this."
"A few days ago I sat in a lecture theatre mostly filled with middle-aged or elderly parents living through this exact nightmare. Typically, their adult children had started therapy with no pre-existing memories of being sexually abused, but had become convinced during the therapeutic process that they had indeed been victimised in this way. So convinced were they that the "recovered" memories were true, they more often than not accused their parents directly of this vile act and then cut off any further contact, leaving their parents devastated and confused, their lives shattered."

Source: Chris French, a professor of psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he heads the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, writing for The Guardian.[7]

This is a delicate situation. On the one hand, there is no doubt that some legitimate sexual abusers of children use this as a defense. But there is also no doubt that some innocent people are accused. The answer is neither to blindly accept or blindly reject claim of childhood sexual abuse but rather to seek collaborating evidence.

Related:[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19] --Guy Macon (talk) 23:22, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

@Guy Macon: Exactly what am I biased against? False memories are real. We create our own false memories and false memories can be induced. You do realise that the sentence you quote is from an article in the Journal of Child Sex Abuse,[20], right? Did you check my other sources. I am not saying "false memory" is pseudoscience. False memories exist. "False memory syndrome" is not the same thing, it's meant to be a 'diagnosis' of something people "have" - a bad description I know. Let's stay away from specifically child abuse, as although the phrase suggesting there is such a syndrome was invented in that context, false memories are, well, once again, something we all have, it's part of the human condition, not a syndrome. Doug Weller talk 17:13, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
You say that with such certainty, that the reader may be tempted to think that all or most cognitive scientists agree with your claim that false memories exist but false memory syndrome does not. That simply is not true. Some say that it exists, some say that it does not, and some say (and I tend to agree) that the term itself generates a bias and should be labeled "recovered memory syndrome", "induced memory syndrome" "repressed memory syndrome" etc. Your focus on the minority that claims that false memory syndrome is a pseudoscientific syndrome that was developed to defend against claims of child abuse (implying that the memories are always or nearly always true memories) ignores the other side that claims that the memories are always or nearly always false and the majority who claim that either could be the case and that further investigation is needed instead of dogmatically accepting or rejecting the claims of someone who has recovered memories from early childhood. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:16, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
I say what with such certainty? That Fms is not a generally accepted diagnostic term? Again, can we drop the emphasis on child abuse. The fact that the term was invented in that context isn't the central issue. The central issue is the word syndrome. You are also moving from "false memories" which does seem almost universally acknowledged to exist in virtually everyone to "repressed memories" which is disputed. But I don't think this is getting anywhere, although on the other hand I think there are probably enough reliable sources using the term pseudoscience for us to use it in some way. Doug Weller talk 18:41, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree with that, but it should not be in Wikipedia's voice as if it were an uncontested fact. I think there are more than enough WP:MEDRS-compliant reliable sources saying that for us to include the "this is pseudoscience" views with sources saying who says what. Likewise with the other side, which also has plenty of MEDRS-compliant reliable sources. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:00, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Of course, that's all I've ever wanted here and is the normal way for dealing with such issues. Doug Weller talk 06:32, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
It is not pseudoscience, it is a condition which may or may not exist and is controversial because it has been used to defend people accused of child abuse. TFD (talk) 21:34, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I would call attention to a link that Doug Weller provided at the very beginning of this thread, written by a respected memory scientist named Julia Shaw, which succinctly focuses the core issue at hand: "False memory syndrome" implies an abnormality or disease, and there is no evidence that false memories are abnormal or representative of a disease state. False memories are real, normal, and probably ubiquitous, but they do not constitute a syndrome. Now, whether you want to describe "false memory syndrome" as simply an ill-conceived and unnecessary term (as Shaw does) or a bona fide "pseudoscience" is another discussion - and one I don't particularly care to get involved in. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 23:32, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
  • It's fringe. Describe it as such, with sources. Montanabw(talk) 10:52, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

William Happer

The section William Happer#Views is in need of some serious attention -- it consists primarily of a long list of quotes from the subject's publications, without the accompanying context that the quoted statements are rejected by the scientific community, false, misleading, or some combination thereof. (One lovely paragraph observes that criticisms exist, without mentioning what they are; others use sources that perform critical analysis only to support the existence of false claims and not to evaluate them.) --JBL (talk) 19:40, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

I have made a very crude attempt to cut out content of the form "Happer said X" with a primary source and no comment on the fact that X is false (as well as some similar paragraphs that were implicitly more negative). The result is smaller and less embarrassing, but still not in good shape and also in serious need of some additional eyes (probably on an ongoing basis: some IP has already tried to remove the fact that his views are fringe). --JBL (talk) 00:50, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Should the lede not include the fact that he is a climate change denier, since that is apparently what he is mostly known for at present? DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 00:37, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes -- I have made no attempt at edits outside the CC section, but the lead should certainly reflect both the body and reliable sources. (FWIW, I do not think that any of the non-garbage sources in the article use the word "denier" at present; in a sentence I added in the CC section I used climate change contrarian, which I think conveys the gist clearly without triggering edit wars in the same way.) --JBL (talk) 00:45, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
My objection to the "contrarian" descriptor is that it implies a legitimate challenge to mainstream scientific consensus using established scientific methodologies. This guy is practicing classic denialism, based on junk science or no science at all. Furthermore, your link to "climate change contrarian" redirects to "climate change denial". I do understand your desire to avoid a major argument, however; I'll look for a legitimate secondary source that describes him accurately. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 01:46, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

While no one is actively editing the article at the moment, the discussion on the article talk page has expanded. It would be nice if a few other editors would weigh in on which of the two versions (old new) is more appropriate. (And also perhaps to further improve the section, which is still in need of work!) --JBL (talk) 20:18, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Jason Martell

Jason Martell (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Questionable sources in an article about a paranormal researcher. See also the decade old Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Jason Martell. -Location (talk) 03:28, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks to jps for taking care of this. -Location (talk) 02:46, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Journal article about edit wars over Acupuncture

Apologies if this is a repeat, but I could not find it in the archives. Readers of this noticeboard will no doubt be interested in an article titled WikiTweaks: The Encyclopaedia that Anyone (Who is a Skeptic) Can Edit by Mel Hopper Koppelman in the Journal of Chinese Medicine from February. (A full text PDF is available there, it's only 5 pages). It seems to document problems the author points out in trying to update our article. A friend of mine dug around in the archives of the Acupuncture page, and near as they can tell (and assuming they identified the right account) this person never actually tried to edit the article itself, they just got into fights on the talk page and got themselves banned without actually doing any editing. It amazes me how often that happens. --Krelnik (talk) 18:28, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

ETA: Here's a blog post by the same author that is apparently the source material for that journal article. She mentions her blog on the second page of the article and refers to this post. --Krelnik (talk) 20:10, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Notice how the blog post never once mentions the difficulties of designing a sham acupuncture treatment, despite holding up the difference between real and sham acupuncture as evidence? Notice how the blog makes subtle changes to the meaning of comments before responding to them? Notice the persecution complex? Notice that it's six months old without a single comment? Good stuff, thanks for sharing. :D ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:12, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for posting the article. Unfortunately, one would have to do a lot of research to evaluate the claims. Do the sources about accupuncture meet rs standards and they are they isolated experiments or review studies? I agree though that whatever the answer that a lot of the writing about alternative science is written in a biased tone. It is sufficient to say that a theory has no support in the scientific community without repeating it ad naseum in every single paragraph. I find it ironic that the source for acupuncture being a pseudoscience is an undergraduate textbook for non-science majors. Finding that type of source in an article is a symptom of tendentious editing because it shows that rather than identifying the best sources and reporting what they say, it shows that editors have determined what the article should say and searched for sources to support what they want to include. TFD (talk) 22:32, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
it shows that editors have determined what the article should say and searched for sources to support what they want to include Actually, doing exactly that produces much better results so I think your argument fails here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:45, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
  • There's a response at SBM[21]. Alexbrn (talk) 16:34, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius

In the article, this plant is described as quite a panacea : "The corm is prescribed for bronchitis, asthma, abdominal pain, emesis, dysentery, enlargement of spleen, piles, elephantiasis, diseases due to vitiated blood, and rheumatic swellings." The main source for these claims is behind a paywall. A quick search on Pubmed does give a few results. Does anyone here feel competent to evaluate the claims in this article? KarlPoppery (talk) 08:00, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Chinese herbal research? Automatically unreliable. Alexbrn (talk) 08:02, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Going to go with Alex on this one. Too many red flags. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:58, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Also, the name means "deformed-penis singing-plant" which is awesome. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:03, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
The host,, describe the 'journal' as "Publication to promote and develop the characteristics of Chinese pharmaceutical industry ..." - this appears to be an auto-translation of its self-description. Agricolae (talk) 14:05, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
As a general rule, the more things any treatment is supposed to "cure", the less likely it is to be effective for anything, other than enriching the manufacturer. Another red flag is the "potentiator" descriptor; when something actually works, we usually just call it "medicine". Nevertheless, some ayurvedic practices have some science behind them. I'll have a look at the medical literature as time and spouse permit. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 15:51, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
I've done what I can, with my limited medical knowledge. KarlPoppery (talk) 03:34, 22 May 2017 (UTC)


Just gonna leave this here. Seems...odd on it's face, but not sure what to do with it. TimothyJosephWood 14:50, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

WP:TOOSOON at least. In any case, I think a redirect to the plant from which it is apparently based is appropriate. [22]. jps (talk) 14:58, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Ann Louise Gittleman

This BLP has gone through a long series of back-and-forth editing instigated by a paid editor. There were some direct statements that mentioned she is a "promoter of pseudoscience" that were recently removed from the lede and sorta worked into the line about alternative medicine and fad diets. More eyes on this article are needed to make sure the fringe issues are adequately addressed. Perhaps some of the editors from the BLP noticeboard are less aware of the vulnerability of such an article to PRO:FRINGE. Delta13C (talk) 06:40, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

RFC in Talk:Political decoy

See Talk:Political decoy#RfC about the inclusion of Lee Harvey Oswald. Thanks! -Location (talk) 17:50, 14 May 2017 (UTC)

Koren Specific Technique

The Koren Specific Technique article is virtually duplicate content of Chiropractic_treatment_techniques#Koren_Specific_Technique. I don't see a reason for a stand alone article. Thoughts? QuackGuru (talk) 16:32, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

I quite agree! DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 00:19, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
At the moment Koren Specific Technique redirects to Chiropractic_treatment_techniques#Koren_Specific_Technique. Let's see if that sticks this time. QuackGuru (talk) 03:53, 16 May 2017 (UTC)


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

An IP has added quite a lot of content to this article in the past couple of days. At first glance the edits look pretty legit, but I only had time for a first glance, and will give it a better look this evening. Extra eyes appreciated. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 23:23, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

I reviewed it edit by edit and did not see anything alarming. -Location (talk) 23:37, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Karyn Kupcinet

Karyn Kupcinet (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

For those of you who have been involved in trimming the conspiracy stuff in Dorothy Kilgallen (@Ad Orientem, Cullen328, LuckyLouie, and JzG:), the same editor appears to be having a go at Karyn Kupcinet. -Location (talk) 02:47, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Oh dear. That looks really bad. I have tagged the article and will look at it more closely when I have a chance, but my first impression is that this is largely based on non-RS fringe sources. -Ad Orientem (talk) 14:43, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Gunung Padang Megalithic Site - another Bosnian pyramid type hoax

Just thought I'd mention this here after reading this] over at the Fraudulent Archaeology Wall of Shame. The problem with stuff like this is of course the lack of reliable sources, few if any archaeologists or geologists are going to waste their time over something like this. It is a genuine archaeological site, but not nearly as old as claimed.[23] Nor surprisingly it has government support. Doug Weller talk 14:40, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Oh for the love of... That article is awful.
On top of that, modern Indonesians are descended from a people who migrated to the area long after that thing was supposedly built. Them being proud of it is as bad as Turks being proud of all the ancient Greek and Romans ruins in their country. (talk) 22:20, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
On top of that, there is substantial evidence that it's a natural rock formation, and wasn't "built" at all! DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 22:38, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
I've removed the claim from several articles today, eg Pyramid. Doug Weller talk 14:54, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Argument from authority

The problems with this article are ongoing. There have been blocks and TBANs, and now that some of the blocks have expired it's getting POV-ish again. More eyes would be appreciated. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 05:52, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

One of the great commandments of science is, "Mistrust arguments from authority." ... Too many such arguments have proved too painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like everybody else.[1]

- Carl Sagan
There are many reliable and very mainstream sources point out the weaknesses of these types of argument. Holding that these types of arguments have weaknesses is the furthest thing from a fringe theory. FL or Atlanta (talk) 11:22, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia is built on reliable sources. Essentially, all our articles are appeals to authority. If you think a source's opinion outweighs the many many reliable sources to the contrary, thats not how we do things. Also you may find it hard to persuade that Carl Sagan is an authority on what constitutes an appeal to authority. Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:35, 17 May 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Sagan, Carl (July 6, 2011). The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Ballantine Books. ISBN 9780307801043. 

B. Alan Wallace

B. Alan Wallace (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

While the article is about a relatively minor figure, there has been steady trickle of editors periodically showing up to make unambiguously WP:PROFRINGE edits, most recently one with an apparent COI making edits from an IP at the institution where the article subject resides.

I have no idea how I first became involved with the article, and really I wish it could be deleted, but apparently that's been tried before.

No urgent attention is needed, but it'd be nice if some of y'all could add it to your watchlist. Manul ~ talk 13:00, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Tedd Koren

Tedd Koren (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

I propose the article be nominated for deletion. QuackGuru (talk) 14:01, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

But is he notable? It looks like at least some of his notability comes from being challenged, but that could still be notability. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:45, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Source for the challenge is a chiropractic publication (one charge was "absence of scientific merit" - Mr Kettle, meet Mr. Pot!), but his purported responses are completely unsourced. Only other sources are a couple of blog posts, a worshipful passage from a self-published book, and one newspaper article obviously written by a publicist. The technique itself does appear to have a smidge of notability - sufficient to justify mention in the chiropractic techniques article - but since Koren is notable for nothing else, I don't see any realistic justification for a standalone article about him. I second the AfD motion. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 18:49, 17 May 2017 (UTC)


IPs adding Sitchin nonsense. Doug Weller talk 21:07, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Watergate scandal

Watergate scandal (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Please see Talk:Watergate scandal#Conspiracy theory content. An observant IP noted that recent changes are cited to Ashton Gray's book that states that the Watergate burglars were attempting to distract from the kidnapping of L. Ron Hubbard as well as Jim Hougan's book which has been described by The New York Times as "Watergate revisionism". -Location (talk) 22:54, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the editors who visited over there. Pretty sure that was done by Ashton Gray himself. -Location (talk) 16:13, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Remote viewing

Remote viewing (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Related to the above discussion on Watergate scandal, I noticed Ashton Gray has a couple of citations in Remote viewing. My suggestion is to revert the recent changes, however, I'm developing a strong bias against this source so I think someone else should check on it, too. Thanks! -Location (talk) 15:56, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Gray's book is hopelessly fringe. The publisher admits "Chalet Books takes on subjects that the giant mainstream publishers are too “politically correct” to touch". Shouldn't be used as a source for factual data in Wikipedia's voice. I removed it from Remote viewing. Also, editors should have a look at the article lead, it appears to be openly touting something called "Associative Remote Viewing" cited to parapsychology sources and including a handy sales link to a product. - LuckyLouie (talk) 17:53, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
Update: just noticed a Croatian IP had added the material promoting "Associative Remote Viewing" and Croatia-based RV product in the lead, so I have removed it. - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:37, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
The Ashton Gray nonsense is back along with lots of soapboxing on the Talk page. - LuckyLouie (talk) 22:22, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Now they are edit warring [24] to glorify "Ingo Swann" and promote that remote viewing really works and the government secretly used it for over 20 years. - LuckyLouie (talk) 12:37, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps it's time to seek some administrative assistance? This is well beyond a simple content dispute, with one editor aggressively bullying and POV pushing, and clearly not interested in any opinions other than her own. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 13:50, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Surgeon's photograph

On the Loch Ness monster article is a couple of extreme fringe views about the Surgeon's photograph. One reads as follows "The hoax story is disputed by Henry Bauer, who claims that the debunking is evidence of bias and asks why the perpetrators did not reveal their plot earlier to embarrass the newspaper.[41] According to Alastair Boyd, a researcher who uncovered the hoax, the Loch Ness Monster is real; the surgeon's photo hoax does not mean that other photos, eyewitness reports, and footage of the creature are also, and he claims to have seen it."

I really do not think Henry H. Bauer should be cited on the article. He is unreliable. Below Bauer, Tim Dinsdale is quoted as disputing the hoax photograph. Problem is, Dinsdale was writing a long time ago. It is pretty much accepted now by almost everyone that the surgeon photograph is a fake. I think these fringe viewpoints should be removed? Anyone else agree? I have a big foot (talk) 14:49, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

Bauer's and Dinsdale's statements and views can be used to the extent that they are mentioned in reliable secondary sources, however, they should not be as primary sources. See WP:REDFLAG and WP:FRIND. -Location (talk) 15:13, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree, they can be given as long as it is made clear that they are personal views.Slatersteven (talk) 15:22, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
I would remove the last sentence re: Alastair Boyd, which is inadequately sourced (and even if properly sourced would likely fail RS), and also reeks of somebody's POV masquerading as sourced content. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 17:34, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
I am in the conflicted position of having had Hank Bauer attack me personally online for my actions here on Wikipedia. Suffice to say that I don't think we should be referring to Bauer's opinions in any article other than his own biography and possibly the one on AIDS denialism. Bauer is in the unique company of highly esteemed academics who seem to be hoodwinked by every single maverick proposal ever made. At some point, quoting such people becomes something like the game that news-stations play of getting the "contrary opinion" when there really are no contrary opinions to be had. Playing Devil's Advocate is fine, but it does not lend itself to accurate encyclopedia-ing. jps (talk) 17:55, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
In a field that is over-saturated with pet theories and alternative realities, we have no obligation to mention every theorist who published their own analysis. Unless an independent party thinks these objections merit mention, including them suggests WP:FALSEBALANCE. Agricolae (talk) 18:28, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

Page Move Request on the page Murder of Seth Rich

Move request:

I think there are some Fridge Theory issues involved in the requested move and I would encourage you to visit the page and take part in the discussion.Casprings (talk) 22:00, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

Colonel Mustard did it in the kitchen with the Frigidaire. -Location (talk) 01:30, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Muscle response testing

This article has just been created. It claims to not be about Applied Kinesiology, but what I see described really looks like Applied Kinesiology, unless I'm missing something... It claims that the technique has been shown efficient to identify truths from lies. That's a pretty blunt statement to make. It's probably based on this study done on 48 people. I don't think the study is enough to claim with confidence that a new lie detector has been found. Please keep an eye on the article. KarlPoppery (talk) 00:54, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

It is definitely Applied Kinesiology, we should propose a merger before too much work gets put into this. --Krelnik (talk) 01:10, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I have to avoid "outing", but it seems like there's also conflict of interest issues.KarlPoppery (talk) 01:12, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Clairvoyance (book)

Newly landed, and at first glance has some issues, like asserting in Wikipedia's voice that astral sight happens, and discussing "possible applications". Alexbrn (talk) 07:18, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Oh. Those things can be a nightmare. You have to dig pretty deep to find sources that discuss those topics without giving credence to the crazy ideas of their subject. The article on aura (paranormal) that I just rewrote can be a starting point to find sources on Leadbeater, the author of the book. KarlPoppery (talk) 08:07, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Maybe the simplest approach would be to challenge the author of the article on whether or not it as an original synthesis. If no serious scholarly work has been done on a specific topic, we can't summarize it on Wikipedia without breaking WP:SYNTH. I doubt that there's enough good sources to make a long article about this topic, it seems to be mostly original research. KarlPoppery (talk) 08:42, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Voynich manuscript

User:ApLundell raised a question about this at RSN which I think is more relevant here. A source that doesn't seem to be used in our article is the 2016 publication of a facsimile by Yale including some scholarly essays. This New Yorker article gives a glimpse into what some of these say. An Amazon.Com review says the book has "six chapters dedicated to the history of the manuscript and the attempts that have been made to decipher it. While these chapters contain little new information, they are well researched, and cover what can be known about the manuscript without straying into the realm of unprovable hypothesis." So definitely, these would be excellent sources and perhaps give us guidance as to what should be included in our article. Doug Weller talk 10:48, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

J. D. Tippit

J. D. Tippit (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

J. D. Tippit#Conspiracy theories contains a number of citations to the primary sources of JFK conspiracy theories (i.e. Jim Marrs, James W. Douglass, Kenn Thomas, and Sterling Haywood). Per various policies and guidelines (e.g. WP:REDFLAG), I thought these types of theories were only to be reported on to the extent they are mentioned in reliable secondary sources. Thoughts? Thanks! -Location (talk) 13:27, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

I made a change per this edit. -Location (talk) 21:39, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Rapa Nui people

Rapa Nui people (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Inappropriate original research and WP:FRINGE material was removed from History of Easter Island . [25] However, similar text is included in the article on the people. I think what is happening here is that the fringe theory that there was contact between South America and Easter Island is getting more play on Wikipedia than in the WP:MAINSTREAM literature and while I see that obscure journals have published extremely speculative claims about all this, it is absolutely the case that there is no evidence that Rapa Nui culture is at all connected to South American indigenous culture (Rapa Nui traditional culture is 100% Polynesian according to all mainstream accounts I have been able to find). Can we get some help with this issue?

jps (talk) 16:46, 21 May 2017 (UTC) (talk) 08:07, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

"careful analysis of the Native American chromosome tract length indicated that the Native American admixture event probably happened between AD 1780 and AD 1425, well before the arrival of the first Europeans (Moreno-Mayar et al., 2014). These findings are the first genomic evidence for contacts between the Americas and Faster Island in prehistory, and represent a huge breakthrough in our understanding of the origins of the Rapanui. The genetic make-up of living Rapanui indicates that the first people to settle the island were Polynesians, and after settlement there was contact with the American mainland. We should remember, however, that comparison data arc still relatively limited, particularly in the case of the putative Polynesian source populations (Wollstein et al., 2010), and a precise time ami place of origin of the various ancestral genetic components in present-day Rapanui will have to await large-scale analyses of appropriate reference data. Regarding the genetic affinities of the prehistoric Rapanui, at the time of writing (November 2014), the only available data are still those of Hagelberg el al. (1994). which demonstrate that the Rapanui bad the same type of maternal lineages as other Polynesians." Skeletal Biology of the Ancient Rapanui (Easter Islanders) [26] But none of this shows that the culture is anything other than Polynesian, you need to show cultural influences to do that. Doug Weller talk 12:06, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't normally bother with typos, but it is critical here - "probably happened between AD 1280 and AD 1425". Agricolae (talk) 15:53, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I have rewritten this, using references from Current Biology, Science, and PNAS - I don't think the idea of contact is fringe any longer, though exactly when (there is a conflict between radiocarbon dating of Polynesian crops and revised dating of arrival at Easter) and where (was it on Easter, or were the arriving Rapa Nui already carrying South American DNA and crops) is still an open question. Agricolae (talk) 15:23, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
And now my edit has been reverted without explanation other than 'there is already a discussion of this at FT/N', which is no explanation at all. Perhaps the reverting IP can explain here what their objections are to material sourced to decidedly non-fringe, mainstream scientific publications. Further, I don't see why the 2007 genetic study by Erik Thorsby should be acceptable, but the 2014 study of which Thorsby was a coauthor is unacceptable. Agricolae (talk) 15:35, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I would argue that the pre-Columbian contact hypothesis is still highly controversial at least and WP:FRINGE. The claims are based on a small (<10 %) match of the Rapa Nui with South American indigenous genomes from modern day. These are estimated to be consistent with genome crossing dates estimated above. However, this estimation is done on the basis of the assumption that the telomere and other DNA clocks which work on larger populations can be extrapolated to the bottleneck population of the Rapa Nui who are known to have had rather severe interactions with Peru and Chile in the late nineteenth century. An obvious thing for the authors to do would be to check what their analysis would argue for a European DNA admixture since no one is pretending that this part of the Rapa Nui genome is indicative of anything else other than post-eighteenth century interactions. This, then, is precisely the problem -- especially because the later contacts were so devastatingly close to nearly a genocide of the Rapa Nui people.
The only other pieces of evidence we have are the sweet potatoes and chickens. The chickens evidence has not been interrogated carefully, as far as I can tell and there are further questions as to whether the sweet potato claims are evidence for direct contact or other explanations (misdating or even ocean current transfer).
jps (talk) 17:08, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
In short, I would say identifying the DNA evidence for genetic population makeup of the modern Rapa Nui people is uncontroversial. Arguing that this says something substantive about pre-fifteenth century contact is something best left couched as WP:FRINGE. jps (talk) 18:10, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
The sweet potato data was published by PNAS, then accepted as noteworthy and relevant to the Rapa Nui contact question by a paper in Current Biology and a commentary in Science. You may want to argue that it is not yet fully accepted, but that doesn't turn it into FRINGE - I was very careful in mirroring the sources in presenting this as 'possible' support. The chicken evidence is problematic, but again, considered worth mentioning by both Moreno-Mayar and Lawler, and I specifically indicated the dating issues that call this relevance into question. It is certainly is possible to come up with alternative explanations, and these can be incorportated if you have a reliable source for them, particularly one that postdates the genetic analysis. As to dating, you seem to be more critical than either the Science commentary or the Skeletal Biology work quoted above, which are accepting of Moreno-Mayar's dating. The dating had nothing to do with telomeres or other traditional molecular clocks, nor is it based on population size assumptions: it is based on the size of blocks of contiguous admix sequence, and this depends almost exclusively on the number of generations, not population size or bottlenecking, and has been used to model the decidedly-mainstream Neanderthal/human interbreeding. And a 10% admixture is not a small signal, as admixtures go - the Neanderthal admixture is only 4-6%, and the (also mainstream) Denisovan signal in Polynesians is smaller than that. So what do you have that is actually based on sources, that would cause us to say that, yes, it is accepted by Current Biology, in PNAS, in Science, reported by Reuters [27], Australian Broadcastng Company [28], The Independent [29], etc., but we shouldn't include it anyhow because it is fringe? You want to argue UNDUE, fine, you want to argue a variant of TOOSOON, OK, but FRINGE just doesn't fit the situation at all. Poor Thorsby - when he presented HLA-based genetic data in the relatively obscure Tissue Antigens and got a wide date range, he was a legitimate scientist, but when he then went and used standard genomic aproaches to narrow that range and published it in the much less obscure Current Biology, he became purveyor of fringe. Agricolae (talk) 18:41, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not arguing that the dating was done inconsistent with normal methods or that the markers are incorrectly identified. Include the information, by all means. I am saying that the contact implications are met with skepticism for good reason. The issues, broadly are that dates for the admixture may not be relevant to any contact event at that time because it isn't at all clear to what event the particular date refers owing to small number statistics that the observed split is properly rigorous (in spite of your claims, population size is definitely relevant as one-off events in bottlenecks can cause ambiguity -- e.g. an admixture can look older or younger than it is because of particular ancestral components or particular statistical flukes). Broadly, I'd consider the following paragraph to be a decent explanation of the controversy:

Whether Polynesians reached the Americas and admixed with Native Americans during their eastward expansion that ended about 1 kyr ago remains controversial. A genetic study of ancient chicken remains from South America supports this scenario but has also been questioned. Genome sequencing of the remains of humans from Brazil that date to around AD1650, and therefore pre-date the recorded trade of Polynesian slaves to South America, shows that the individuals are closely related to contemporary Polynesians. These data potentially provide further support for early contact between Polynesians and Native Americans but they could also be the result of the European-mediated transportation of people. More convincing are the results of a genome-wide study of the modern-day inhabitants of Easter Island, which provided statistical support for Native American admixture that can be dated to 1280–1495, several hundred years before Europeans reached the islands in 1722. However, only evidence of Polynesian and Native American admixture in human remains that pre-date colonization in the Americas would settle the debate.(source)

In an article on the Rapa Nui people, this controversial point should not be stated as bare fact and probably should not be dwelt upon as WP:TOOSOON the declaration is being made. It's much the same here as if Wikipedia had existed back when Thor Heyerdahl's claims were first made. The temptation at the time may have been to report this "new discovery" as breakthrough fact, but we should be adopting a conservative reporting as through the WP:CRYSTAL we cannot see.
jps (talk) 19:16, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
It wasn't stated as bare fact and there wasn't the slightest bit of WP:CRYSTAL. As long as we are saying things to avoid, how about WP:IDONTLIKEIT. Here you quote another reliable source (one I tried to incorporate as well, but alas, the paywall) that thinks this material is worth discussing in order to argue this material isn't worth discussing. Agricolae (talk) 19:53, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Okay, are we talking past each other? These are the points I would like to see in the article: (1) some wonder whether the Rapa Nui traveled back-and-forth to South America, (2) there are genetic markers of Europeans and Amerindians in their modern genome, (3) it is controversial to assert pre-eighteenth century contact, but there are researchers who are currently making this claim on the basis of genetic evidence, sweet potatoes, and chickens. I think, however, that this shouldn't be the defining feature of the history of the people, though, and focusing on this controversy in the discussion of their history without mentioning their connection to Polynesia prominently is what I think may be WP:UNDUE. jps (talk) 20:27, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

  • The following comments are based upon years of researching fringe theories about the Rapa Nui (mostly that they hung out with aliens), a little bit of pre-existing knowledge about the culture and history (some of which might have been skewed by those fringe theories), the arguments presented in this thread, about a half-hour of google/google scholar searching and a complete unfamiliarity with this particular hypothesis before now. You have been forewarned.
Seems to me like you're both right. This seems like a minority-position hypothesis that's being taken seriously, but hasn't made any real impact. So, by the definition of "fringe" as "being on the fringes of science" it's fringe and jps is right. But this hypothesis operates on a whole other level than the "the Easter island statues are alien landing beacons, man!" type of fringe, whereby "fringe" is generally defined as "pseudoscience". So my advice is to make sure that you're both using the same definition of "fringe", then compare notes and see if you really disagree with each other. Bear in mind that "on the fringes of science" might be utterly fascinating, but it should still generally be treated as something that's on the fringes of science: with very little coverage. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:31, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
OK, and here is what I am seeing, based on little prior familiarity with the fringe history of the question. One genetic study with very large error bars that is perfectly acceptable and included in the article, while a second genetic study with much narrower error bars (plus mention of several others that have been interpreted by secondary sources as consistent) is rejected as Thor-Heyerdahlesque fringe and criticized for potential inaccuracy and lack of significance (e.g. only 10% admixture). Why is a genetic study with a confidence interval just barely large enough to encompass the conventional view noteworthy while a genetic study that is a bit more precise not? As I see it, our criteria for genetic evidence (from the same author, no less) being noteworthy shouldn't amount to choosing the data to fit the hypothesis. Agricolae (talk) 15:38, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
As I see it, the amount of coverage any study (regardless of its structure, weaknesses, authorship, etc) gets in reliable sources should be the factor that informs our use of it in the article. It may be an impeccable study, with no recognizable weaknesses, from a well-respected scientists and an unimpeachable structure that was subsequently confirmed by independent researchers, but if it only has 2 cites in the literature, it's barely worth a mention. On the other hand, if a study is just all around piss-poor to the point that homeopaths point at it and laugh at its ludicrous controls, but it has 150 cites in the literature, we should describe it and its results in some detail. Remember, we're not the arbiters of truth, we're just cut-rate journalists. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:44, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I remember, but that is not what I am saying. I am saying that there is not an appreciable difference between them in terms of citation in secondary sources (the younger one is cited fewer times but in 'better' secondary sources), that the second should not be subjected to our own critical evaluation of its quality while accepting the first at face value, and that if anything we are being 'arbiters of truth' in only including the one with conclusions we like. Agricolae (talk) 16:52, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
The study from 2014 has been cited 10 times while the study from 2007 has been cited 28 times. I don't think one study deserves more or less inclusion than the other, nor do I think that's necessarily the thing I may take issue with. What I'm not particularly fond of is the large amount of text devoted to this speculation in this version: [30] Two full paragraphs are devoted to the speculation about South America contact while almost nothing is said about what is known about the history of the Rapa Nui on the island itself! It strikes me as WP:UNDUE. jps (talk) 15:55, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
I would tend to agree. I guarantee that the accepted work on the history of the people is much more widely accepted by the scholarly community (a criteria I was using just as a rule of thumb; there's more to it than just counting cites). ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:25, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
(e/c) And I did that because the inclusion of the 2007 study seemed to open the door for it, particularly as I had seen both the genetic and yam studies mentioned in 'better' secondary sources than was the case for the 2007 one, making them, in my mind, more noteworthy by comparison. The article does need more on the people themselves, but I lack the source material or basic knowledge to expand that part. How about you? Agricolae (talk) 16:52, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, I am reading a book on Rapa Nui right now which is why I noticed the issue in the first place. I think a Google Scholar search of the history of the island itself can be useful for this. I don't find your text particularly objectionable -- only that it was all that was written and so it gave a sensation that this was the only important aspect of this well-studied history. jps (talk) 17:01, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

I'll have to get that printed on my business cards - 'not particularly objectionable.' ;) Agricolae (talk) 17:15, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
As long as you give me the citation! ;P jps (talk) 17:54, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting conspiracy theories

More eyes on Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting conspiracy theories would be greatly appreciated - there has been a spate of fringe promotion recently from at least two users.

One user, Chippy55 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log), has introduced unsourced fringe-promotional text.

A second user - Gosale (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) - did a mass PROFRINGE edit throughout the whole article, then another edit to downplay the antisemitic nature of various conspiracy claims advanced by Iranian media. Gosale also did the same thing in 2015 (example), so I'm concerned about the pattern.

More eyeballs would be greatly appreciated. Neutralitytalk 22:59, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

It is slander because the information added to this article is emotionally motivated. The goal of the editor is to provide a label to TV station. the TV station already have a an article and in that article all labels can be provided.

In the article "Sandy Hook..." the TV station publishes an article that is produced by someone else, why do the editor feel the need to label the TV station as anti semitic in this article. Surly the editor would not accept that every news source that publishes other people articles to be labelled in every wiki article that news agency is mentioned.

This is clearly a effort to include the foul label "anti-Semitic" in a effort to slander that organ.

I suggest we respect the articles main function and provide facts and allow the labelling of people and organizations for other articles.

Have in mind that there are many sources out there, video and audio sources that shows that not only are, press TV ant the Iranian government members including the supreme leader, not anti Semitics but in reality they hailing the Jewish people and the Jewish faith on MANY points in time. BUT this is not the place to argue the fact that a tv station is worthy of a label.

I would love to read your thinking.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Gosale (talkcontribs)

It would seem to me that the fact they are anti-Semitic is relevant to the fact that blamed ""Israeli death squads" for the shooting.", it's called context.Slatersteven (talk) 10:30, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
While even anti-Israel propaganda does not necessarily equate to anti-semitic or anti-Jewish, in this case, the Press TV article does appear to have been an anti-semitic rant, and that label is supported by the cited source in The Atlantic. Sławomir Biały (talk) 11:09, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
"Have in mind that there are many sources out there, video and audio sources that shows that not only are, press TV ant the Iranian government members including the supreme leader, not anti Semitics but in reality they hailing the Jewish people and the Jewish faith on MANY points in time." I'm not racist, I have black friends!
Iran is anti-Semitic. Like it or not. (talk) 15:23, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
That's far too much of a generalization. Iran is a signatory of the International Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Officially, Iran is anti-Israel, rather than anti-semitic, alough their propaganda and political hardliners do exploit racial animus. Interestingly, a recent scientific poll conducted by the Antidefamation League [31] found Iranians on average the least antisemitic people in the middle east, excluding Israel. Sławomir Biały (talk) 15:38, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Please note that "least antisemitic" means 56% of responding Iranians, according to that article -- which also notes that Iranian state institutions use anti-Jewish propaganda, and the state-run TV networks and media outlets (and its last president) have a record of denying the Holocaust, blaming "influential Jews" for many of the world's problems, and using crude anti-Jewish imagery. So being the "least antisemitic" Middle East country is sort of like being the "smartest Kardashian" - not a particularly high standard. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 17:44, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
True enough. But dismissing "Iran" as "antisemitic" without qualification is, at best, an oversimplification. We do have a source that the particular article in question is antisemitic. But let's not paint all things Iranian with the same brush. Sławomir Biały (talk) 18:31, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
The word "antisemitic" is used not as a potentially superfluous adjective but as part of a link to antisemitic conspiracy theory (which links to antisemitic canard). I think that link is useful. Further, the article new antisemitism presents the view that modern antisemitism is manifested against the state of Israel rather than the Jewish people. Not all opposition to Israel is antisemitic, but accusing the country of sending death squads to murder American children is. However, the subject matter of the section is not about the state of Iran but about views presented on Iranian state television. For this reason I support the word "antisemitic" but I think the word "promoted" should be changed to "presented." Roches (talk) 23:05, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Autism Research Institute - Here's a can of worms...

This article is about the Autism Research Institute, an organization that used to promote the pseudoscientific belief that vaccines cause autism, but no longer does.

Two years ago, the article underwent a major rewrite by CorporateM (talk · contribs), who has disclosed a conflict of interest. The draft was approved by admin Crisco 1492 (talk · contribs), who may have acted a bit too quickly on this occasion.

The "new" and current version of this article is problematic. The article is a spin intended to convince it's reader that the organization has been completely transformed in a few years. But the main problem is that the writer removed any mention that the view the company still promotes, which is that nutrition and "toxins" cause autism, is also not supported by mainstream science. This was said clearly in the January 2015 version, but was removed in the corporate version of the article.

A Quackwatch article gives a more complete story about the organization, for those interested.

What I suggest, if this gains consensus, is that we start by reverting to the January 2015 version of the artice, and move on from there. KarlPoppery (talk) 20:29, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Sounds like a plan; I agree that many of the changes made since January 2015 are problematic. To cite one example, such statements as the one near the end, that the organization "now focuses heavily on nutrition and reducing a child's exposure to toxins" implies that there is at least some credible scientific evidence supporting that approach; there is not. To be clear, no one disputes that proper nutrition and reduced exposure to toxins are good things -- but the evidence that malnutrition and toxin exposure have any role in the pathogenesis of autism is anecdotal at best. And of course, everyone's definition of "toxins" is quite different. DoctorJoeE review transgressions/talk to me! 23:25, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

European medieval magic

The article European medieval magic opens with "This article will discuss...". Groan. Then at times it wanders into ambiguous, borderline-in-universe tone, about demons, or elves, and "those who practiced it put themselves at risk of physical and spiritual assault from the demons they sought to control".

I'm sorry I can't even think about taking on this page. But I figured someone(s) here would probably be motivated to do some work on it. Alsee (talk) 00:12, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

It sadly reads like a thesis dumped here.Slatersteven (talk) 12:14, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

KIC 8462852

The aliens are at it again. Apparently, so it is alleged, they've set up their Dyson shell to act like a beacon, possibly including mirrored surfaces. But more discipline needs to applied to the sourcing. There are some there that are working as a direct link from blogs, Twitter, and various expert email discussion lists straight into the article. Used to be (last time this was in the news) we'd wait for peer review instead of collecting primary sources. Geogene (talk) 00:39, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

New Coherent catastrophism

It's also got about twice the amount of words in a quote than we normally allow, but I haven't trimmed it yet. Parts of it have been added to Younger Dryas impact hypothesis and Göbekli Tepe (where the talk page discussion concluded that the research was too new to use, as well as by unqualified people, ie a Chemical engineers Professor and his student). See Talk:Göbekli Tepe#Sweatman and Tsikritsis 2017

The concept itself is mentioned in Impact winter, C. Leroy Ellenberger, William Napier (astronomer) and Victor Clube. The bulk of the main article is the huge quote from Sweatman and Tsikritis whose research mainly owes homage to Graham Hancock and Andrew Collins. Doug Weller talk 12:19, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Chopped the long quote and fiddled a bit with the rest, seems it was/is not ready to go live. Vsmith (talk) 12:37, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Coherent catastrophism should most definitely not be classed as fringe. It is accepted as mainstream in astronomy. Indeed, physically, it is simply stating the obvious - when a giant comet breaks up in the inner solar system the earth can be expected to experience increased risk of bombardment. It's a no brainer, and no academic would dispute it. What they might, and have, disputed are the catastrophic consequences of the Taurid meteor stream specifically, which corresponds to the very latest period of coherent catastrophism according to Clube and Napier and their colleagues. Again, this is not really disputed, as much as debated, within the current astronomical literature. Yes, the concept is mentioned very briefly elsewhere, but it is not explained. An explanation is necessary for other wiki pages (Gobekli Tepe, Younger Dryas etc). Your edits are over-cautious and biased.

Regarding the Sweatman and Tsikritsis paper - it is not relevant that they are engineers. Where does it say that engineers can't contribute to other research fields in the WIki Rules? What matters is where the article is published. It is published in a mainstream archaeological journal whose editor is highly respected in the field. It has been peer-reviewed by archaeologists (three, actually, if you care to read the paper). There is no reason to censor this.

You are quite right the quote is too long. I will correct this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MystifiedCitizen (talkcontribs) 15:03, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

@MystifiedCitizen: I see "three anonymous referees for constructive comments" with no information about their professions. Given that the journal covers "the dual nature of archaeology and cultural heritage with science which includes, amongst others, natural science applied to archaeology (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, geophysics, astronomy), archaeology, ancient history, cultural sustainability, astronomy in culture, physical anthropology, digital heritage, new archaeological finds reports, historical archaeology, architectural archaeology, ethnoarchaeological prospectives," I don't think you can state with such certainty that these were archaeologists. I'm not sure what the practical difference is between "disputed" and "debated" - what kind of debate could there be over something that isn't disputed? And of course it's completely relevant that the authors were engineers. How could it not be? And please don't throw around words like "censor". The issue here so far as the Sweatman paper goes is whether it meets WP:UNDUE - I think that this needs to wait until it is discussed by other peer reviewed sources. Extraordinary claims about Göbekli Tepe should only be added at that point. Doug Weller talk 14:38, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Coherent catastrophism. jps (talk) 18:02, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
@jps, would you mind weeding out the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis article? I started to do it but got chewed out by Oshawa. (talk) 23:21, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
To be fair, Oshawa did not "chew you out". You deleted a referenced sentence without any explanation whatsoever, and that is the reason Oshawa gave for reverting your change. I am not surprised in the least by Oshawa's action, given the level of IP-based vandalism on Wikipedia. When you make an edit the burden is on you to explain it, at a minimum in an edit summary, if you want it to stick. Agricolae (talk) 23:50, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
A good rational for that removal would be that Scientific Reports is a less-than reliable source in spite of its publisher. jps (talk) 03:32, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Public opinions on evolution

A new Gallup poll is out.

I cannot remember all the different pages on the creation-evolution controversy which reference public opinions on evolution, but they probably need updating.

jps (talk) 18:30, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Rape tree

This AFD [32] may be of interest, since the main keep argument is a probably fictional thing may still be notable as some people believe in it. My personal take is that it dies not meet WP:GNG in any case, though the article creator is insistent that getting mentioned in congress confers notability. Artw (talk) 21:07, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

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