Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard

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Living Dinosaurs, Young Earth Creationism, and quackery abound at Mokele-mbembe

Recently @Kiyoweap: restored a plethora of WP:RS violations and WP:PROFRINGE material I'd removed from Mokele-mbembe. These references include a tremendous amount of unabashedly fringe, including material sourced to Young Earth creationists (William J. Gibbons) and a boatload of cryptozoology quacks, including references to Roy Mackal's notorious A Living Dinosaur?. Prior to the user's restoration of fringe material, I started two threads on the article's talk page. They received no response.

Anyway, article needs some eyes, particularly as this user has a long history of edit-warring in favor pseudoscience on the site (lately, notably where Young Earth creationism and cryptozoology intersect). Pinging editors who frequently work in these corners: @Tronvillain:, @LuckyLouie:, and @Katolophyromai: :bloodofox: (talk) 22:55, 25 July 2018 (UTC)

The edit might have been a little over the top, especially since it eliminated most of the modern cryptozoologist material covered by Prothero and Loxton. I'm sure it was a work in progress, but as it was there was nothing left in the body actually explaining the modern conception of "Mokele-mbembe." --tronvillain (talk) 22:58, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I was in fact stubifying the article to make way to rewrite the section, and all the references I pulled were in violation of WP:FRIND. However, under no circumstances is it OK to restore material to this guy as a reliable source. :bloodofox: (talk) 23:03, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
Ye gads. There is no reason why we should be giving cryptozoology so much unwarranted attention here. Thirty-two sections about different expeditions to find the creature? Furthermore, I notice that neither the original version with all the expeditions nor the redacted version give any detailed information about what the actual Congo people say about the creature, presumably because their stories are not supportive of the idea that the mokele-mbembe is a "living dinosaur." Just about all we hear about their stories is in the first sentence, where the mokele-mbebe is described as "a water-dwelling entity, sometimes described as a living creature, sometimes as a spirit" and later in the first section, which quotes Hagenbeck's description of the creature from the Congo natives as "half elephant, half dragon." I assume there surely must be at least some reliable sources that have been written documenting what the Congo people themselves say about the mokele-mbebe. --Katolophyromai (talk) 23:46, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
Knock it off Bloodofox. You removed 32k bytes of material, thus gutting the article.
Tronvillain too thought the purge was excessive (" little over the top").
Now you're trying to paint me as " in favor [of] pseudoscience". If I revert your major purge, it does not translate to my endorsing Gibbons as a source of highest reliablilty. Give me a fricking break.--Kiyoweap (talk) 21:30, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Have you considered not writing essays in talk page edit descriptions? --tronvillain (talk) 21:36, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
That would indeed be nice. On top of that, restoring Gibbons is indeed par for the course for Kiyoweap's edits here, which seem to be locked in 'pro-pseudoscience or revert-war, now' mode. Given the support for Gibbons and other quacks in the cryptozoology circle (and then the backtracking when called on it here), I think a deeper look into the user's edit history might be merited. :bloodofox: (talk) 21:42, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Arguably a revert does not necessarily imply endorsement of all content contained within that revert. --tronvillain (talk) 22:02, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Given Kiyoweap's other edits, such as aggressively pushing to employ works by cryptozoologists as reliable sources, I think an assumption of a pro-Gibbons stance fits in just fine with what we've seen so far (for example, today's best known living cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman also employs Gibbons as a reliable source and provides a glowing introduction to his work in Coleman and Jerome Clark's Cryptozoology from A to Z — quite typical of the pseudoscience/subculture). That said, if the user is in fact currently not pushing for more Gibbons and Coleman as a reliable source on Wikipedia but is instead simply not bothering to read what he is reverting, that raises another set of questions entirely (and of course still means he's reinserting pseudoscience into the article). :bloodofox: (talk) 22:09, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
I believe the user has been warned in the past about sanctions. If so, take it to WP:AE. jps (talk) 15:34, 27 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes, they have been alerted to discretionary sanctions in the pseuodoscience area, and I've now given them a final warning. I'm surprised at Kiyoweap's statement (and edit summary) above, and also at Tronvillain's apparent agreement with them that "a revert does not necessarily imply endorsement of all content contained within that revert." Sure it does. If an editor wishes to endorse part of the removed material, they should do a partial revert, rather than continuing for several days to edit war to reinsert content that it turns out they don't even mean to endorse. Or else they can do a full revert and then reasonably promptly remove the inappropriate part of the content they restored. Kiyoweap did the opposite; after the original full revert,[1] they added 11 books in the form of a bibliography,[2] which Bloodofox had removed as "fringe sources" in a separate edit.[3] Thus Kiyoweap went on to compound rather than modify their previous restoration of fringe sourcing. (I can't parse their edit summary, but if the intention was to involve User:Sandstein, who had made a minor technical edit, in some responsibility for this version for the fringe bibliography, that would be absurd.) Bishonen | talk 16:51, 27 July 2018 (UTC).
I'm just saying it doesn't necessarily- whether it does or not in this case is another matter. People do knee jerk reversions because they don't like change without even really looking at the content or sources, or people can think the content is good even if the sourcing is currently bad but are too lazy to look at and remove the sources themselves. That in this case they didn't then go to the talk page themselves and edit warred (after my comment I believe) makes this case more problematic. --tronvillain (talk) 18:19, 27 July 2018 (UTC)
As for prompt action, it has only been 2-3 days, and that is not a whole lot of time for assess 32 kilobytes worth of content-gutting. I think user:Bishonen is being a bit too strict here.
I mean Bloodfox admitted he was stubifying the article to make way to rewrite the section. Why is it okay for a pending edit drag on for the same number of days for other editors? That's called a double-standard.
Right now I can only still sketch out my impending change crudely, but 1) Powell and Mackal expeditions are WP:DUE weight material 2) POV external link to a podcast by Prothero[4] supposedly connected with the MonsterQuest show, which starts with a theme from the Flintstones followed by a mocking narrative. 3) William Gibbons's books, webpages can be replaced. Gibbon's expeditions being given no appreciable coverage is fine. 4) Clark, an non-sci trained author's book from small press is not the ideal source, but some sort of backbone content is desirable.--Kiyoweap (talk) 07:08, 28 July 2018 (UTC)
Strict? I don't think so, Kiyoweap. It didn't have to be done all at once. A never so tiny edit, in the space of 2-3 days, to remove, say, Gibbons and Coleman, would have looked a lot better than what you did: edit-warring with three different editors to restore the material in toto. Also, do you have any explanation for this edit? Or for your aggressive notes to jps, complaining that he, who had reverted twice, to your own three times, was edit warring? You are apparently not aware of jps's formidable presence on this board over the years. That's OK in itself, you don't have to be. But when you don't know somebody's record, you'd be safer not to condescend to them with remarks like "Do not make drive-by visits to WP:FT/N and read a couple of postings on threads and imagine yourself to be able to make a well-considered decision". Furthermore, you have not set foot on the article's talkpage. I have trouble understanding why you didn't answer this, for instance. My advice for the proposed change you outline above would be to finalize it and then post it on talk for discussion. Of course that's not an order; you're free to instead post it as incremental additions directly to the article, giving others time to react before you add more. But IMO the talkpage would be preferable in a case like this, to give a chance for consensus to form while avoiding a lot of back-and-forth on the article itself. Edit summaries are not a discussion forum; that's what the talkpage is for. Bishonen | talk 10:59, 28 July 2018 (UTC).
Bishonen, of course 2 days is sufficient time some tiny gestural edits. But giving tiny concessions and representing this as only a partial revert hardly seems more good faith than doing an outright revert and saying so.
What I meant of course was 2 days was not ample time to make meaningful well-researched change. You're can't really make a time-assessment unless you've actually read the article and done the sourcing and fact-checking to see how tricky it is, viz.:
#1979: Thomas section stated that Rev. Eugene "Gene" Thomas had already heard stories of the 1959 Pygmy hunt and had 2 encounters himself in 1979 (prior to being engaged as the interpretor for the 1980: Mackal-Powell expedition). Which is significant information. The sources in the paragraph was a Gibbons websource and Coleman's Cryptomundo web source which are not desirable sourcing. Although I tried, I could nto find substantiation in Powell's paper and Mackal's book. So the situation where we have significant content I would like to retain, but it can apparently only be sourced using Gibbons book (communiqué to Crytpmundo /thomas-obit/). (Be warned that visiting Cryptomundo launches JSCoinminer Website)
Bishonen, I just botched my first revert using "undo" here because that coupled the old text with the new bibliography, causing harv error messages, so I had to do a double-take. It was just a mistake. To " compound rather than modify" wasn't what was on my mind.
In the retake I opted to version "851951305 by Sandstein" rather than "850193355 by Bloodofox" because there was no difference in the two, and Sandstein's edit was the easier to pick out from the crowded revision history. The suggestion that this was an attempt by me to blame this user for something is bizarre.I don't think you have so far taken me entirely in bad faith, I would like to see things otherwise.--Kiyoweap (talk) 20:21, 28 July 2018 (UTC)
Before madly mashing that revert button at any user who comes by, I might suggest that you get very familiar with WP:FRIND, because any attempts to reintroduce fringe sources without a reliable source putting them into context will be met with resistance. :bloodofox: (talk) 20:28, 28 July 2018 (UTC)

"cryptozoology quacks" Bloodofox, Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons also applies to talk pages, stop writing accusations about BLPs. Quackery specifically refers to "fraudulent or ignorant medical practices", and this in not the case here. Dimadick (talk) 15:00, 28 July 2018 (UTC)

Yes, I believe the standard Wikipedia term for pushers of such fringe "science" is lunatic charlatans. Black Kite (talk) 17:58, 28 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes I wanted to bring up Dimadick's point. It is undignified to refer to Prof. Mackal in that way, and I'm disappointed admins dont caution him to tone it down. Unfortunately the professor is no longer living, so BLP does not apply. --Kiyoweap (talk) 20:20, 28 July 2018 (UTC)
Like everywhere else, the very Wikipedia article you link to does not restrict the definition of quackery to a narrow medical sense ("a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to skill, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess; a charlatan", which it takes form for whatever reason). In reality, if you're selling snake oil or anti-evolution propaganda under the guise of science, you're a quack, whether inside or outside of a medical field.
And the term quack certainly applies to both Gibbons and Mackal. Yes, Mackal is dead, and Prothero and Loxton write that Mackal "had no training that would qualify him to undertake competent research on exotic animals". They highlight Gibbons's lack of appropriate credentials in a similar manner. A hallmark of the pseudoscience is misrepresentation and false credential mongering, which Prothero and Loxton also highlight commonly occurs in the case of Mackal but also occurs with Young Earth creationist cryptozoologist Gibbons, who "has a degree in religious education from a seminary". While use of terms like "undignified" and "the professor" by Kiyoweap above implies a reverence for the pseudoscience works of Mackal (Prothero, for example, would also be "the professor"), his revert-warring to reinstate references to works by figures like Gibbons implies a broader pro-pseudoscience stance point of view.
Of course, at the end of the day, this is all very typical pseudoscience-on-Wikipedia stuff. I hadn't seen the lunatic charlatans essay before — seems this is indeed a well worn path! :bloodofox: (talk) 20:25, 28 July 2018 (UTC)
No. Nobody in academia calls his colleagues a "quack" who happens to dabble in a field not quite within his expertise.
This is your own code, and it is not good enough excuse for trying to continue to use it.
And don't obliquely suggest Mackal peddles anti-evolution propaganda either. If you know for sure he has done it, put it on the table or just hold your tongue.
What exactly are the specific examples of what you accuse to be pseudoscience produced by Mackal? If he brings back the malombo fruit that the pygmies say the creature eats, and has it identified by a botanist, is that pseudoscience under your definition? If you can't get specific on these there is no sense in perpetuating the thread on this notice. --Kiyoweap (talk) 02:16, 29 July 2018 (UTC)
Oh, please. Mackal's A Living Dinosaur? is notorious (and unintentional hilarious) pseudoscience, and that's just the most obvious and relevant of a laundry list of deep fringe stuff Mackal produced in his free time. Fumbling around in the jungle in an attempt to find an antiquated notion of a dinosaur (while being duped by locals) makes for funny reading, yes, but it's also neocolonial dress pretending to be science.
Mackal's missionary guide, Eugene Thomas, himself baptized Gibbons (in the Congo, of course). Their two "expeditions" are directly connected. Anyway, Mokele-Mbembe makes for a revealing fixation among cryptozoologists, and highlights the strong undercurrents of Young Earth creationism that course through the pseudoscience, increasingly evident today. :bloodofox: (talk) 05:07, 29 July 2018 (UTC)
I realize Mackal was working with " antiquated notion" of a sauropod regarding its posture or appearnace or habitat, which Prothero points out. Which you are free to add to the article. But Mackal was not specifically 'searching for sauropods' -- that is only a shorthand or caricature description. Mackal only says he was invetigating a remote possibility of "sauropod dinosaur-like animals surviving" (p. 216)", which could be any unknown or unusual reptile or a mammal. Either only the caricature version is so deeply ingrained in Bloodofox that he cannot escape from it, or he is knowingly misleading us.
On the allegation of Mackal " being duped by locals". I presume this is from Prothero's reconstructed scenario that the Powell-Mackal expedition was beset by Congolese making up stories where money was to be had.(p. 279ff) I guess Bloodofox's amusement comes from thinking that Powell and Mackal were seriously recording anecdotes and all the while these greedy locals were scamming them, har har har. Sorry, I think of this rather as a chilling stereotyped accusation of African locals as to their morals and belief-systems rather than a pie-in-the-face-of-Mackal comedy entertainment.--Kiyoweap (talk) 21:44, 29 July 2018 (UTC)
Sauropod-hunting in the jungle = comedy gold. Also pseudoscience. Stick to reliable sources and you won't run into any problems with sourcing, thanks. :bloodofox: (talk) 16:21, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

"Mackal only says he was invetigating a remote possibility of "sauropod dinosaur-like animals surviving" (p. 216)", which could be any unknown or unusual reptile or a mammal." This is hardly the case. The typical description for Sauropoda consists of "long necks, long tails, small heads (relative to the rest of their body), and four thick, pillar-like legs. They are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some species, and the group includes the largest animals to have ever lived on land." The description would not fit the average mammal.

And to clarify what "enormous" means here, Sauroposeidon had an estimated height of 18 metres (59 feet). Dimadick (talk) 17:28, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

Dimadick, if you absorb information in soundbites you might get the wrong idea. The expedition did not claim they local reports of such behemoths. Mackal does not claim they were sauropod-like as in outsizing elephants by many-fold, and can be quoted saying "This is certainly the right size for a Mokele-mbembe, but, of course, also for a smallish forest elephant" (p.180, he is referring to footprints here). Don't attribute to him mistakes he did not commit.
Re emela-ntouka "elephant killer", Mackal states rhinoceros is a "viable" theory (p. 238). He is not married to large dinosaur hypothesis, and Bloodofox is attempting to make it seems this is a case with tasteless jokes and zingers. --Kiyoweap (talk) 01:56, 2 August 2018 (UTC)

This discussion, starting from "The edit might have been a little over the top", is about improving the article Mokele mbembe. That means it is pretty much what Talk:Mokele mbembe is for. This page, on the other hand, is a noticeboard. The first contribution, ending with "They received no response", belongs here. Should we move all the stuff after that to the Talk page? --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:07, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

It should not be moved, no. Discussion about the article should continue on the article Talk page, but copy/pasting the conversation isn't necessary. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 16:45, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
Besides the distortions, the other leg of Bloodofox's charge of "pseudoscience" is bullcrap innuendo: " Loren Coleman also employs Gibbons as a reliable source and provides a glowing introduction" or " Mackal's connection to Young Earth creationist and missionary Eugene Thomas, .. who went on to baptize cryptozoologist Gibbons here. Scientists do not abandon their conviction in evoltionary theory when they come in contact with devout Christians. These are guilt-by-association smear tactics that may belong in mudslinging dirty political ads, not here.
And while Gibbons may be a "creationist", Prothero's insistence that Gibbons set out to prove young earth,[5] is suspect because Gibbon flatly denied this in a communiqué to Coleman (/mokele09/) saying: "Finally, I should mention that any discovery of a living dinosaur will not, in my opinion, .. prove that the earth is 6,000 years old, or disprove evolution".
Therefore Bloodofox needs to stop and revert his sweeping propagandistic editing that tries to forcibly associate these well-known cryptozoolgist's works like Loren Coleman's Cryptozoolgy A-Z from Simon and Schuster or Mackal's book out of Brill Publishers as somehow promoting "young earth creationism". This is not a WP:DUE weight characterization of these group of people. It is blatant WP:NPOV smear. --Kiyoweap (talk) 22:02, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
"My child is an angel; all others are devils." I understand that people who hold dear a particular fringe proposition (say cryptozoology) may find associations with other fringe positions (say young Earth creationism) to be a smear. But the sources do not indicate that there is a hierarchy of forms with respect to these subjects. While it would be a mistake to equate creationists and cryptozoologists, it would be irresponsible not to let readers know that they do find common cause in their tilting at windmills -- even if they may disagree as to which maverick ideas are supposed to be taken seriously. jps (talk) 15:14, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

Spencer Proffer


Recently, two false claims were made against Spencer Proffer on his Wiki page. The false claims are the second (Admits to making false claims) and third (Settles for fraud) section of the page. Please have these sections deleted as there is no factual evidence of either of these claims.

Thank you.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 29 July 2018‎ (UTC)

This really belongs on the WP:BLPN. That article needs quite a bit of work, I would say. jps (talk) 23:53, 29 July 2018 (UTC)
Both those sections have sources, which amounts to "factual evidence".--Auric talk 13:03, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

Craig Loehle - climate change skeptic/denier with no mention of that

Lead used to call him a global warming skeptic until an SPA arrived and removed it. I'm wondering if this guy is notable. I did find this Guardian article. Doug Weller talk 11:31, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

Tried my best, but it isn't much. jps (talk) 12:44, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
He's really not notable other than for being a "skeptic." This is a perennial issue: scientists who reject the established findings of their field are by definition a small minority, so they seem more prominent than they are. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 19:52, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────What standard would you all say makes a denier notable for being a denier? WP:FRINGEBLP would generally argue that as long as there are independent sources on a person, they're notable. I'm a bit uncomfortable with that. jps (talk) 10:46, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

  • There would have to be sufficient profiled of him and INDEPTH coverage of his life and career to pass WP:SIGCOV. Because I'm not seeing it, I have tagged the page for notability.E.M.Gregory (talk) 12:05, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
I think it may be time to bite the bullet and ask for a community consensus to delete. jps (talk) 12:19, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Related: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Medawar zone. jps (talk) 16:02, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

Talk:Bat Creek inscription

Since I seem to be the "enemy " here, with the suggestion that I might be misusing my tools, I'd appreciate it if others could deal with this. Thanks. Doug Weller talk 17:43, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Still could use some help in an argument about using Jason Colavito. Doug Weller talk 12:32, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

Book reviews in non-RS that argue favorably for fringe theories

There's a content dispute on the Dinesh D'Souza talk page[6] over whether we should cite favorable reviews by Rush Limbaugh and a Moonie Times op-ed writer of a D'Souza book which asserts similarities between the Democratic Party and the Nazi party platform of the 1930s. Historians overwhelmingly reject the thesis of the book,[7][8] yet non-experts such Rush Limbaugh and Moonie Times op-ed writer Michael Taube support the thesis of the book. Per my understanding of WP:FALSEBALANCE and WP:FRINGE, we ought not cite non-expert minority opinions on matters that diverge from mainstream scholarship, as it gives readers the false impression that there is an on-going debate about the veracity of the claims. Perhaps you can add some clarification on this. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 18:13, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

We can say they said this, not that it is true. Also it is a widely publicized view [9], [10], [11], [12].Slatersteven (talk) 18:23, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
It's a ludicrous claim, I suppose we could attribute it to Limbaugh as a notable crackpot but the Washington Times is not reliable, per numerous prior discussions, so the opinions of its columnists are ignorable. Guy (Help!) 18:40, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
Doesn't matter if the source is reliable because reviews are always inherently biased opinions of writers who review and criticize books, music, films, and other forms of expression for a living. Reviews are not meant to be fact-based, they are meant to be opinion. We post them all the time. In the article in question, these reviews are about books, therefore the normal rules re: bias and "fringe" do not apply. WP:COMMONSENSE needs to be applied here. -- ψλ 19:20, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
The idea that all reviews are created equal is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. You can't possibly be serious. Parsecboy (talk) 20:52, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
This is one of the more ridiculous things I've seen anyone post on Wikipedia in a long time. :bloodofox: (talk) 23:02, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
  • These reviews are discussing the accuracy of the thesis: Everything he says here is accurate and There is not the slightest, tiny sliver in which this could be even somewhat accurate are statements of fact, not subjective opinions of the reviewers, and should not be placed next to each other as if they carry equal weight. –dlthewave 20:03, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

Reviews, as a rule, are only as good as the reviewer, so reviews of specialist non-fiction material in MSM are, as a rule, worthless unless they've called in an expert. There is also a timeliness issue in that reviews of novel claims pretty much fall under WP:NOTNEWS, since they are capturing initial reactions rather than the conclusions of long-thought-out consideration and discussion. Mangoe (talk) 13:42, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

UFO Phil

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

Article loaded down with WP:SENSATIONAL sources resulting in WP:UNDUEly bloated coverage of comically ridiculous fringe claims, thanks to many IP edits over time likely made by the Los Angeles-area actor who portrays this character. Obviously, the gimmick is all about maintaining the illusion that UFO Phil is a real person and not a character/performance, but IMO, it's now crossing the line into misusing Wikipedia for promotional purposes. If the character were to be treated as a real person, it would be subject to WP:FRINGEBLP. If the character were to be treated as a character, it would be subject to MOS:FICT. I'd be curious to know what others think. - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:14, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

This indeed looks very promotional. The very first sentence of the article contains the phrase "cult legend". Definitely needs a closer look. :bloodofox: (talk) 19:07, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
This is a misuse of Wikipedia. Suggest delete. jps (talk) 20:14, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
I updated the talk page AfD tag, there were multiple discussions closing as delete, but one closed as keep. I'm not sure if it'd pass another discussion, maybe worth trying. If it does, we'd have to trim or rewrite it and keep it watchlisted... —PaleoNeonate – 20:38, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

I have never heard of him, but a 2011 article from the Huffington Post simply describes him as a "comedy songwriter and filmmaker". RationalWiki describes him as "an over-the-top parody of a UFO believer and alien abductee played by actor Rick Still." See here:

  • "Los Angeles based actor/songwriter Rick Still created the UFO Phil character sometime in the late 1990s as a one-off radio prank, but soon discovered that his character's career had more chance of success than his own. He's since built a thriving cottage industry masquerading as Phil. Part of the schtick is pretending "Phil Hill" is a real person and not a fictional character. Still pursues various comic strategies designed to sow confusion, such as having "Phil" claim he's being stalked by Rick Still who's trying to steal his identity, making sure fans can't compare photos of the actor and the character, and even publishing fake birth certificates for "Phil Hill"." Dimadick (talk) 00:00, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
    • he's got some chutzpah, doing something like that. -Roxy, the dog. barcus 00:16, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Wow, this article has grown since I was here last in 2007, when his single aired on The Art Bell Show--Auric talk 00:16, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Yup. Lotta IP edits over the last half dozen years. He's even got a promotional link to Wikipedia on his website. - LuckyLouie (talk) 01:16, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Looks like it's time to put this up for deletion. :bloodofox: (talk) 01:34, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/UFO_Phil_(3rd_nomination) - LuckyLouie (talk) 02:28, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
And the socking has begun. - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:22, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Yep. They're multiplying. Think it's time for a CheckUser request? :bloodofox: (talk) 20:27, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
So far they are more bumbling than disruptive. Maybe wait until they total 3 or more? - LuckyLouie (talk) 20:30, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
FYI: He is canvassing on Twitter ((archived tweet} for people to help stop AfD. - LuckyLouie (talk) 20:47, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Noah's Ark

Some forum shopping appears to be going on in relation to this article (pointing at the current dispute at its talk page), so I'm also posting a notification here for balance. Thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 22:11, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

Appears some people have a confusion between facts and opinions. [13]. jps (talk) 13:10, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

RfC Announce: Should the EmDrive be labeled as Pseudoscience?

Talk:RF resonant cavity thruster#RfC: Should the EmDrive be labeled as Pseudoscience? --Guy Macon (talk) 22:25, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Donovan Courville

Article about a fringe amateur Egyptologist's ideas with no independent sources. Doug Weller talk 15:32, 8 August 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Donovan Courville. jps (talk) 20:05, 8 August 2018 (UTC)

Steven Goddard

In the vein of articles about people using aliases.

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Steven Goddard.

jps (talk) 00:18, 9 August 2018 (UTC)

Gay conversion therapy

FreeKnowledgeCreator believes that NARTH should be included in Category:Psychology organizations based in the United States. However, as the article makes clear, the American Psychological Association does not agree. Gay conversion therapy is a religious, not a medical or scientific, practice. It's slightly difficult to discuss this as his response to an attempt at discussion was [14], i.e. a reply in an edit summary deleting the comment. That's... unhelpful. Anyway, seems to me that religiously motivated psychological abuse is not a legitimate inclusion in this category. Guy (Help!) 10:48, 9 August 2018 (UTC)

To the best of my knowledge, the American Psychological Association has never expressed an opinion about whether NARTH should be included in Category:Psychology organizations based in the United States. Nor for that matter has it ever expressed any opinion about Wikipedia and the content of its articles, so far as I know. That part of JzG's comment above is thus incorrect. That "Gay conversion therapy is a religious, not a medical or scientific, practice" is an opinion that JzG or anyone else is free to hold but which should not have any relevance to the content of our articles. I've read any number of sources discussing conversion therapy and they certainly do not state that it is always practiced with religious motives, let alone that it is by definition a religious practice. There are of course numerous methods used in conversion therapy that have exactly nothing to do with religion. Aversion therapy for instance has been practiced by various secular psychotherapists with no religious views. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 10:57, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
"The policy manual of the American Psychological Association states that homosexuality is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation, and is not a mental disorder.[5] The APA's Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation affirms the tension between some religious values and other organizations, as well as the existence of a subset of individuals who are distressed about their same-sex attractions. Nevertheless, it says it has not found adequately rigorous studies that suggest sexual orientation change efforts are successful. The APA Task Force has also found that some individuals reported being harmed by change efforts.[6]" Guy (Help!) 11:03, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
Your point being? How does that quotation show that conversion therapy is by definition a religious practice? It doesn't. There are plenty of sources you could read that show it isn't. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 11:08, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
The predominant view among psychologists and psychological organizations in the US seems to be that proponents of conversion therapy are generally mystics or quacks. I think the inclusion of NARTH in that category should depend on the answers to the following questions: what are the inclusion criteria for Category:Psychology organizations based in the United States, and what do the majority of psychology experts think about NARTH. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 11:17, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
How do you know this? Is there a source that actually uses the term "mystics or quacks" or did you just make that up? I doubt that there is any evidence concerning what "the majority of psychology experts think about NARTH"; it is even questionable whether many of them have even heard of the organization. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 11:22, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
That's just my impression based on the way how psychological organizations describe conversation therapy, what psychologists say about conversion therapy, and evidence presented in hearings and lawsuits concerning conversion therapy. But putting that aside, the question whether NARTH is considered a psychological organization according to the criteria for that category. And the best way to discover would be to look at what experts in psychology think about NARTH. Do you have any sources pointing one way or another? Red Rock Canyon (talk) 12:43, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
"The founders held that homosexuality is a treatable mental illness and that a person's sexual orientation can be changed through therapy". Neither of these foundational claims on which the entire edifice is built, is actually true.
APS is absolutely clear: gay conversion therapy is bullshit. Their view on NARTH, which only promotes gay conversion therapy, which is bullshit, does not require much thought, but is irrelevant anyway because the point is that APS does not view gay conversion therapy as psychology, and that's the point at issue. As others have said, this is like characterising the flat earth society as geologists or the Discotute as paleontologists. Guy (Help!) 17:12, 9 August 2018 (UTC)

This might help [15].Slatersteven (talk) 12:54, 9 August 2018 (UTC)

That doesn't seem to address the specific issue of whether NARTH is a psychological organization, just the APA and other organizations' views of conversion therapy and homosexuality in general. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 13:17, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
True, but that seemed to be the way the conversation was headed. It is clear that the APA do not view it as valid therapy.Slatersteven (talk) 13:20, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
[[16]], [[17]].Slatersteven (talk) 13:23, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
I'm very much a layperson in these matters but doesn't it stand to reason that if all organization X does is to promote something that is not considered psychology by the vast majority of scientists in the field, then organization X cannot be considered a psychology society? Similarly a organization promoting the belief that the Earth is flat would not be a geodesy organization, would it? Regards SoWhy 14:47, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
Well is there a licensing system inn place, as with do doctors?Slatersteven (talk) 14:50, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
There is a licensing system in place for electricians too... doesn’t mean anyone considers them qualified to work on the plumbing. Blueboar (talk) 20:35, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
Unless it was a licence as a plumber, which was my point. If they are licenced as a physiological practice they are a psychological practice. If no such licencing (or professional accreditation) exists them we are reliant on what other professionals say about them.Slatersteven (talk) 09:57, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
As per WP:CAT, categorization of articles should be verifiable. Do we have reliable sources independent of the fringe theory describing it as a psychological organization or anything similar? Categorizing this as a psychological association seems a little like putting the British Homeopathic Association in "Medical associations based in the United Kingdom." --tronvillain (talk) 15:37, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
Agree with Tronvillian, the burden is on the editor who adds the category to provide a source supporting inclusion in that category. –dlthewave 18:15, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
Oh No. Somebody just invoked the Category Police. -Roxy, the dog. barcus 19:11, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
Category police? I'm not familiar... –dlthewave 19:51, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
Well, in principle verifiable - they don't get attached references, but if a categorization is disputed it seems worth asking if there's anything to support it. --tronvillain (talk) 21:22, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
JzG's comment above, "APS does not view gay conversion therapy as psychology", is confused. No informed person claims that conversion therapy is "psychology". Rather, it is a form of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy and psychology are related subjects but they are not the same thing; dictionaries might help here. As I tried to explain at the outset, the fact that conversion therapy has received much criticism does not alter the fact that it is a form of therapy, and it also has no relevance to whether NARTH is a "psychology organization" or not. JzG's comment that NARTH "only promotes gay conversion therapy" is incorrect. The organization does a variety of things. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:06, 9 August 2018 (UTC)
By this ridiculous logic, gaslighting, brainwashing, and torture are psychotherapies. jps (talk) 03:28, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
What "ridiculous logic"? What on Earth are you talking about? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 08:35, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
You are the one and only commentator who is advocating for categorizing gay conversion therapy as a form of psychotherapy. Follow that logic and you get what I outline. jps (talk) 11:41, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
"Conversion therapy" is "psychotherapy" by definition, hence the inclusion of "therapy" as part of its name. I could point to sources that it discuss it as a form of psychotherapy if I thought anyone would pay attention. Do you have a source that actually states that "conversion therapy" is actually not therapy? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 01:37, 20 August 2018 (UTC)

I point to the section Conversion therapy#Australian health organizations and the references therein (disclosure: I wrote it), which include numerous quotations that unambiguously declare conversion therapy as unethical and prohibited by all major medical, psychiatric, and psychological bodies in Australia. I suspect there are plenty of similar statements from reputable bodies in the US to declare that conversion therapy is not a valid or ethical medical or psychological practice. (There certainly are in the UK, I know.) As such, I can't see how NARTH can be categorised as engaging in any legitimate psychological practice. It's also worth remembering that JONAH, a conversion therapy organisation in New York, was successfully prosecuted for offering conversion therapy on the grounds of trade practices law for marketing and selling a product (conversion therapy) that doesn't exist as there is no decent evidence that sexual orientation is changeable. FKC, that makes your assertion that it is actually a form of therapy debatable as a therapy needs to have a demonstrable effect in the direction it claims. The only well-established effects of conversion therapy is the harm done to many (but not all) of those who experience it. At best, conversion therapy is an activity that is unethical if undertaken by anyone with medical or psychological training (and, in some places, illegal) that exists in religious and some extreme groups, conducted by persons untrained in proper psychological practice and doing great harm to many of those who encounter it. EdChem (talk) 00:36, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

You are assuming that NARTH counts as a "psychology organization" only if it promotes an accepted, proved form of psychotherapy. That's quite baseless. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 08:35, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
That's not baseless, it's just verifiable. Your approach is monstrous and prima facie evidence that you are incompetent to be contributing to this subject material. jps (talk) 11:43, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
I have not participated here recently because the discussion has become boorish and tendentious, as witness the comment above. The only relevant response would be to ask for evidence that "psychology organization" is indeed defined as an organization that promotes a recognized form of psychotherapy, and to remind jps of WP:NPA. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 01:34, 20 August 2018 (UTC)

psychotherapy sʌɪkəʊˈθɛrəpi/Submit noun the treatment of mental disorder by psychological rather than medical means.

So if it is not psychological it is not psychotherapy.Slatersteven (talk) 09:58, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

  • Isn't there a 'Fringe/pseudoscience medical' category? It's not psychology (No reputable organisation classes it as such) and it's a religious organisation pushing discredited and outright bollocks "therapy". Self-identification is not enough when the overwhelming evidence suggests otherwise. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:42, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment.png

I also removed Category:Sexual orientation and medicine for the same reason. Guy (Help!) 14:22, 10 August 2018 (UTC)

Astronaut confirms aliens!

Marciano Genérico.JPG

As a heads up, this Fox "news" item will probably be causing issues in multiple places across the encyclopedia.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:41, 10 August 2018‎ (UTC)

Why is it that every UFO or alien sighting is never backed up by clear unambiguous photographs taken by multiple witnesses? You'd think after all these years, we'd have photos of ONE such sighting in existence. ~Anachronist (talk) 20:55, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
Or alien meat.Face-smile.svg Oh, maybe they're not made out of meat... —PaleoNeonate – 21:03, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
Well I know how to solve this. Make it so that 90% of the population is constantly carrying around a small digital camera. No way would the aliens be able to avoid them all. We could make the cameras so that they make phone calls and play angry birds in order to encourage people to buy them and carry them around all of the time. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:51, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
And how about some software so they could self publish the high quality photos to the whole world in seconds? HiLo48 (talk) 23:58, 10 August 2018 (UTC)
[ec] Yup. That would do it all right. Statistically, if when less than 1% of the population carries around a low-quality camera you get hundreds of blurry still photos of something, then changing that so that the vast majority of the population carries around high-quality cameras with image stabilization, auto focus, and video capabilities, you would see a lot of photo evidence -- if the thing being photographed exists. Look at how few videos or even still pictures of police abuse were published in the 1960s compared to today. The abuse was always there but the cameras weren't. If UFOs were real we would see a similar abundance of photographic proof. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:25, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
And just to make it interesting how about some graphics software to convincingly alter photos so you can’t tell real alien photos from fake ones? (cue complaining about chit chat on notice boards) - LuckyLouie (talk) 00:12, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
Except you can tell real photos from fake ones made with available software. (I am sure that av convincing fake can be made by an expert in such things).[18][19][20][21][22] --Guy Macon (talk) 00:25, 11 August 2018 (UTC) Clear. jps (talk) 03:56, 11 August 2018 (UTC)

I feel sorry for the astronaut. He has to report anything he sees floating around in case it is something important that has fallen off the spacecraft, which could be deadly dangerous, and what does he get for doing his job properly? His words twisted round into this dumb circus. --DanielRigal (talk) 10:27, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
So did he JUST report seeing something, did he use any words like alien?Slatersteven (talk) 11:36, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

Leland D. Melvin (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)--Auric talk 11:03, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

Interesting. Hometown boy makes good. Though we moved away long before he entered NASA (or middle school, for that matter). Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:10, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

Orb (optics)

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

Should this article include a “paranormal” section? There is one decent source, however IMO, the old one-way-linking rule for pseudoscience should apply here, i.e. a section in ghost hunting about the pseudoscientific belief should link to Orb (optics), but not the other way around. Curious what others think. - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:03, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

That's exactly what we should do. I have removed the paranormal cruft. jps (talk) 19:25, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
I left in the See Also link to Will o' the wisp, though I'm not sure if there are reliable sources which indicate that will o' the wisps are optical orbs. jps (talk) 19:26, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
Also it may be beneficial to move the article title (keeping a redirect from Orb (optics)) to a more relevant photographic term. “Orb” is not a term used in photography. It is simply a holdover from the circa 2007 ghost hunting fad that made its way into pop culture. - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:35, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Maybe re-AfD? I see that User:Andy Dingley reverted me on behalf of the claimed results of the previous "merge". jps (talk) 22:13, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

  • Yes. Two reasons.
  1. They're a significant part of paranormal 'evidence'. Paranormal topics are not necessarily scientific, but they can still be encyclopedic. Especially where, as in this case, there is such an obvious and rational explanation for them, it's well within our scope to explain this and to debunk the more fanciful others.
    Outside of the paranormal references to orbs, it's not even clear if this very minor optical artifact would even be notable.
  2. There was an AfD on Orb (paranormal) which closed as a merge. Not a delete. Not a "merge for a bit until no-one's looking". If you want to overturn that, then go through an RfC. I did revert on that basis, but you then started edit-warring to repeat the deletion anyway. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:32, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
As previously mentioned, “orb” is not a term commonly used in photography or optics to describe this optical phenomena. Backscatter is. It's in seven of the seven references cited in the article, as are the common terms "lens flare", "dust particles" or "floating particles". While paranormal enthusiasts may have called these things "orbs", they are a tiny minority. I'm not sure why we have an article about an optical effect named for the term a small fringe segment of the population uses. it seems WP:UNDUE weight on that view. WP:ONEWAY linking is a good start to fixing this problem, since ghost hunting is the appropriate place for the minority term/explanation/ debunking. Renaming the article backscatter (lens flare) or similar, and perhaps eventually merging it with backscatter article would be a vast improvement. - LuckyLouie (talk) 00:18, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
But it has nothing to do with lens flare. Andy Dingley (talk) 01:53, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
“Flash reflection” then? Certainly the article title should be a recognizable photographic term used by the majority of sources cited in the article. - LuckyLouie (talk) 02:23, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
"a recognizable photographic term" - that would be "orbs" (and you don't need flash either). And the majority of discussion of this effect is from the paranormal world, because no-one else really cares much about it. Andy Dingley (talk) 02:55, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
Maybe we should just delete the orb (optics) and redirect orb (paranormal) to a new section of ghost hunting. Much like cold spot (paranormal). jps (talk) 03:58, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
No, we're a science-based encyclopedia. Our role is to explain, with a rational and sourced explanation. The previous article was doing that, but you want to disconnect the two. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:27, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. Guy (Help!) 13:11, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
Disconnect the two what? There is only one subject here as far as I can tell: things identified by ghost hunters as "orbs". Apparently, no one but ghost hunters calls these visual artifacts "orbs", so an article on orb (optics) may be completely WP:OR. jps (talk) 14:27, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

I'll get the ball rolling. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Orb (optics). jps (talk) 14:30, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

Orb's sister article Rod has a similar set of problems. - (talk) 18:49, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

Agreed. What to do with this one? :bloodofox: (talk) 18:59, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
The article on Rods does need some better development. Especially considering it's not exactly neutral.--Paleface Jack (talk) 19:42, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
What do you think needs to be added to/removed from the article? - LuckyLouie (talk) 20:13, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
The article should be moved and the lead rewritten, since "rod," like "orb," is not really a term in optics or photography. - (talk) 15:32, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

I don't understand this motivation to purge Wikipedia of fringe topics, or merge them into generic articles where nobody will find them. Ignoring woo-woo topics is not how Wikipedia educates the world. If I didn't know better, I'd think this was being driven by woo-woo advocates unhappy that skeptical Wikipedia articles are showing up in Google results. ApLundell (talk) 22:26, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia has a long history of unintentionally (or, in the case when fringe advocates fill a missing gap or band together, quite intentionally) promoting fringe topics. As a result, the platform has developed a robust set of guidelines regarding how these topics are treated, including WP:ONEWAY and WP:PROFRINGE. A lot of these pseudoscience articles have long passed themselves off as really real science, and the attention they're getting now is definitely a good thing. :bloodofox: (talk) 22:42, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
"Orbs" are "really real science". They're just misrepresented as to cause. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:01, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
Which is why we’re having this discussion. I see that you’re lobbying hard to keep this article just the way it is for whatever reason, but please don’t misrepresent my comments. :bloodofox: (talk) 00:09, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
@ApLundell, I wouldn’t worry about people searching for fringe topics and not finding them because they’re buried. We have redirects that function quite nicely, e.g. try searching for “coldspot (paranormal). - LuckyLouie (talk) 23:11, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

"Paranormal" and WP:PROFRINGE

Moving forward with improvements to folklore-related topics on Wikipedia, I've encountered a bunch of articles and templates using the term paranormal. Outside of fringe circles, things described as paranormal are almost certainly normal, especially to academics who study these topics (such as folklorists who study ghostlore or psychologists who ponder ufology). When I see this word used without attribution, qualification, or, worse yet, in Wikivoice, it raises a bright red flag that I'm scrolling through a problem article. Worse yet, we currently have templates plastered all over pseudoscience articles about how something falls under the category of the paranormal. How is this not a distinct violation of WP:PROFRINGE? How should we go about reigning this in? :bloodofox: (talk) 23:41, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

I think this is an inheritance from the old paranormal wars when the big question was whether or how we should label subjects supernatural, paranormal, forteana, miracles, or parapsychology. I think "paranormal" was decided upon as an umbrella term that avoided the veneer of scientific evaluation, but maintained an approximation of where in the great grand library of human thought one might find a selection of topics explained (1) by appeal to claimed phenomena for which there is no scientific evidence and, (2) without reference to any one particular religious belief. I think "folklore" makes some amount of sense, but obviously that is too broad a category. jps (talk) 11:11, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Folklore has a fairly specific sense which doesnt apply to everything. A possessed toaster wouldnt be folklore, but it would be paranormal. (This is an example. I do not believe spirits are inhabiting my toaster. I played it Jackie Wilson for days and it never danced.) The use of 'paranormal' does exactly what its supposed to, warns the reader they are about to read something that is likely rubbish. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:23, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Judging by the two responses above, I don't appear to have made myself clear. I'm not proposing we change these templates, etc, to "folklore". Rather, I'm pointing out that the three usual subcultures that fall under the fringe category of "paranormal"—ghost hunting, cryptozoology, and ufology—are all straightforward pseudosciences. In other words, I think it might be time to take a closer look at where we're using the word paranormal and instead ask ourselves if pseudoscience simply isn't what we're looking for. Presenting the word paranormal without caveat seems like straightforward WP:PROFRINGE to me: most readers are going to see the word "paranormal" without caveat and expect that we're promoting this idea of the supernatural, which the site has in fact done numerous times in the past (and no doubt continues to do on this or that obscure wiki page).
That said, your toaster example would indeed fall under the category of folklore, specifically ghostlore, and contains ATU motifs (in fact, although adherents pass them off as really real science, ghost hunting, cryptozoology, and ufology are all expressions of the very broad world of folklore, but that's beside the point). :bloodofox: (talk) 16:19, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Pseudoscience has always been somewhat fraught here at Wikipedia. To figure out how ideas that are paranormal are separated from other pseudosciences, perhaps check out List_of_topics_characterized_as_pseudoscience. In any case, it's not clear to me that 100% of paranormal claims are pseudoscientific claims. There are a huge number of articles listed at Category:Paranormal and some of them are probably not properly pseudosciences (though most are). The lede of our own article on paranormal is pretty good at explaining what makes something paranormal. I can see an argument for downplaying the categorization, but I'm not sure I think we can rid ourselves of it in quite the way you are desiring. jps (talk) 18:11, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
The article on paranormal is indeed pretty good at explaining what makes something paranormal, but it's currently not especially good at explaining why has ufology and cryptozoology as two of the three subsections of Paranormal subjects. Cryptozoology lacks an explanation entirely, and while there's a subset of cryptozoology that includes supernatural entities (especially one Wikipedia where it often seems willing to appropriate almost any creature) or suggests "hidden animals" avoid detection by supernatural means ("bigfoot is magic") it's traditionally about possible physical creatures currently unsupported by evidence and it seems odd to give it such prominence of place. --tronvillain (talk) 13:46, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
  • "Paranormal" is a term that encompasses both certain types of pseudoscience (such as qi and thus acupuncture) but not others (such as cold fusion) as well as certain aspects of folklore (such as ghost stories) but not others (such as many urban legends). In addition, some things which we generally consider paranormal are not really related to fringe theories at all (such as the afterlife), except when people start pushing them as such, and others yet that are only related to fringe theories by POV pushers (such as dieties).
So from where I sit, there's nothing inherent in the word "paranormal" that promotes fringe theories. It's a broad classification for phenomenon both fictional and real that lacks empirical explanation as well as explanations for phenomenon both fictional and real that defy accepted science. It's not like anti-vaccine groups trying to label themselves "autism support" groups, or some other form of re-branding. It's just another type of categorization. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:33, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
That's also my impression; for instance I was arguing that UFO related pages do belong under "paranormal" here. —PaleoNeonate – 19:43, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
If this isn't the case, why is it that academics aren't employing this term? It seems to me that we've slipped into a sort of emic convention here, when we should be treating this from an etic perspective. For example, cryptozoologists have long maintained a chokehold on our coverage of fabulous beasts throughout the site. Until recently they went unchallenged while promoting all sorts of outrageous stuff on thousands of pages and in every nook and cranny of the platform. Now we seem to be re-examining a related pseudoscience's own co-opting of the site, ghost hunting, which is great news.
Of course, veterans known that such happenings have long been an issue with pseudoscience on Wikipedia, and various parties still aggressively lobby to turn the platform into a pseudoscience mouthpiece (and sometimes succeed), but I'm getting the impression that some kind of wrong-headed compromise has led to Wikipedia's own definition of what "paranormal" as it appears in templates and categories (that said, Wikipedia's paranormal article in fact does appear to do a solid job of not promoting pseudoscience). As I mention above, this stuff called paranormal in fringe material is all quite normal for specialists in these areas, particularly academics, and labeling anything "paranormal" in Wikivoice seems to me to be straight up WP:PROFRINGE—whether the editor realizes it or not. :bloodofox: (talk) 21:26, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
I've seen academics use it, mostly in Skeptical Enquirer and the like, though. And I agree that things like folklore which often fall under the umbrella would certainly seem non-paranormal to legitimate experts in those topics. I can understand where you're coming from, but I still just don't see anything promotional of fringe theories in it, myself. Mainly it's a problem with the concept of categorization, itself. Not everything fits neatly into a single category. If there's a term that encompasses the same spectrum of concepts as "paranormal" which is also mildly derogatory (so as not to imply any endorsement), I'd be open to using it, but I don't think there is. Hell, "paranormal" is fairly derogatory among skeptics and the like. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:35, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
I don't think "paranormal" as a real-world category is intrinsically negative, but I would generally distinguish it from pseudo-science, though admittedly the line gets blurry here and there. It is something of a problem in the category tree that stuff that exists in both conventionally religious and paranormal spirituality forms tends to be characterized as the latter too far up the tree (e.g. Category:Mysticism, which sits in Category:Esotericism, which is categorized as paranormal); it seems to me that the paranormal tag needs to be diffused to more specific subjects in this case. Mangoe (talk) 20:55, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
If I'm reading this correctly, Bloodofox's main issue is with articles that are labeled with Category:Paranormal, which is spoken in Wikipedia's voice and could be taken by the reader as a definitive statement, i.e. "this thing is paranormal", just like Category:Hoaxes can be read as "this thing is a hoax". Of course, we know categorization doesn't imply endorsement and is just a way of putting subjects in various buckets to make it easier to locate topics. And we know paranormal isn't anything that's been proven to exist. And it's not our fault that pop culture has co-opted the term to mean "really scary mysterious stuff that lotsa people swear is true". But could the usage and application of Category:Paranormal be refined and improved? Yes. - LuckyLouie (talk) 15:30, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
It's possible that Wikipedia's use of "paranormal" as a blanket term has some connection to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, or originally the "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal." Or Joe Nichol's persona as a paranormal investigator. Of course, the point is probably that essentially everything labeled "paranormal" on Wikipedia is presumably a claim of the paranormal, not something that has been established as "beyond scientific explanation." I don't necessarily see its use for categorization as all that problematic, but it's definitely worth examining specific useages. --tronvillain (talk) 16:25, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
I see that what was happening with cryptids is happening here as well. Skeptic or not, this IS a notable category/topic like cryptids. My concern is people have lost sight of it because of ones own personal leanings. Both skeptical and advocators (if notable) are worthy enough of inclusion. If skeptical theories/opinions outweight non-skeptical ones then it should be noted as well as the other way around. Again if it's noteworty and from reliable sources then its probably worth mentioning.--Paleface Jack (talk) 20:47, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
This is a discussion about WP:PROFRINGE, not about notability. :bloodofox: (talk) 20:51, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

How about renaming the category, for instance "Category: Paranormal claims"? --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:31, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

Historically, use of the word "claim" in Wikipedia's voice was considered a weasel word. jps (talk) 13:04, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
I know that BoF. It's just that there are so many avenues that one can consider Fringe that it severely limits the amount of expansion that we can make to both Cryptozoology and Paranormal topics. A lessening of those constrictions would be beneficial to both sides. Notability ties into this because what is sometimes notable information is considered Fringe which seems to me like a balance issue. Although I do agree that making such article topics seem like they're real things is pushing it, rewriting articles so that they favor one argument is bias coverage. Instead of stating if something is legendary, it should say that something is purported to exist rather than outright say that it is or isn't. That way we address both theories in a way that meets Wikipiedia's guidelines and standards. Although there are paranormal and cryptozoological "entities" that exist in both legend and have purported claims of existence through sightings (Bigfoot, and The White Lady are examples of this). In that case we should note that they are both legendary and purported to exist. Removing categories related to both cryptozoology and the paranormal doesn't really constitute as Fringe UNLESS you add categories that outright link it to undisputed claims of existence (adding animal genus categories to cryptozoology articles is a huge example of this). I don't know what kind of categories that one can add to Paranormal articles that would be similar to the above mentioned example but I don't dispute that such things can happen. Really all I ask is to step back and decide what should constitute as paranormal (although legendary ghosts such as Bell Witch can be a part of both categories). Then we can actually get this all sorted out.--Paleface Jack (talk) 17:40, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
As long as the material meets WP:FRIND and WP:ONEWAY, we can expand away. But it sounds to me like you've got a general problem with WP:FRINGE and, say, WP:UNDUE. Relevant guideline pages would be a more appropriate place to take your concerns about how Wikipedia handles fringe topics and pseudoscience. :bloodofox: (talk) 21:23, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
I don't know if that's a good idea or not. When I hear "paranormal" I usually interpret it to refer to the usual subjects included under that domain (ghosts, ancient mystical societies, big foot, aliens etc) without conferring any judgement on whether such things actually exist. It's analogous to how "high fantasy" is used to describe a category including dwarves and elves and other things from the typical Tolkein-esque fantasy setting, with no implication that these are actually real—it's just a category of fictional settings. However, I think the important questions are whether the typical reader would see "paranormal" as an endorsement of the existence of ghosts or aliens, or how reliable sources use "paranormal". If the standard usage of the term carries no implications about the validity of these claims and just describes some category of speculation or belief, then I think using "paranormal" as a category is perfectly neutral and compliant with policies on fringe material, and "paranormal claims" would be both redundant and awkward. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 22:24, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
I don't think what the reader thinks matters. More of our neutral encyclopedic "reporting" of it in accordance to Wikipiedia's standards and guidelines. So what if the articles belong to Paranormal or Cryptid categories, doesn't mean that we're advocating for one viewpoint of the subject, which would be POV Pushing. I'm a stickler when it comes to complete, and neutral coverage of an article and this is no different. Readers are not reading an essay but an article on whatever it is the article is about (an encyclopedic entry), what the reader thinks about the article is not any of my business.--Paleface Jack (talk) 21:05, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

Covert conditioning

This is not horrible but is kind of bad. See related Covert hypnosis. Jytdog (talk) 18:05, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

Ilchi Lee

The first article has been subject of undisclosed paid edits from a PR agency (already banned), probably from others too. It is full of fringe theories using Ilchi Lee's organizations as the main source. Here is an example I have just removed ([23]):

Lee's Korean Institute of Brain Science (KIBS), which was granted UN ECOSOC "roster consultative status" and Lee's International Brain Education Association (IBREA) report that Lee's programs not only help children develop better memory and concentration but also certain supernatural abilities (or Extrasensory Perception - ESP) due to "Heightened Sensory Perception," as their studies find that children could identify colors, shapes, and letters while blindfolded. - although this ability was found by KIBS to diminish significantly with less ambient light and greater filtering of the viewed material. While Lee asserts that these findings are based on cognitive neuroscience, mainstream neurologists generally regard such conclusions as strongly lacking in scientific support.

Both articles would benefit from a review. Thanks. --MarioGom (talk) 20:48, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

Theosophy and science

Article written by a Theosophist who has created many other pro-Theosophy articles on Wikipedia. A scan for his username on the archives of this board reveals users discussing his edits in the past on several occasions. From first look the article may look ok and fool users as the article creator is an expert at layout and referencing material, especially Russian sources, but on investigation about 80% of the sources are fringe Theosophy sources. Seems a very unbalanced article to promote Theosophy as having valid scientific ideas. Also bad quote mining of James Jeans in the "Theosophy and physics" section and other dubious material.

Same editor has written many other promotional Theosophy articles like What Are The Theosophists?, Occult or Exact Science? etc (talk) 01:18, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

Hmm an issue with those book articles (i.e. Esoteric Buddhism (book)) is that they're mostly sourced to the book in question (resulting in editor interpretation in the article), with few independent reviews (although there appear to be some cited). This also makes it difficult to evaluate their notability, since we expect that to be demonstrated using independent sources... —PaleoNeonate – 03:19, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
I had a look at Occult or Exact Science and the elaborate reference structure almost seems designed to obscure that none of the references appear to establish a two part article in a theosophy journal as notable. I have a few more references to sift through and a little more external searching, but then it's probably off to AfD. --tronvillain (talk) 16:10, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Occult or Exact Science? --tronvillain (talk) 17:02, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

This is very bad, it may need administrator intervention. SERGEJ2011 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log). It looks to me like someone is using Wikipedia as a soapbox by writing cliffnotes. jps (talk) 03:33, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

This is really a form of long-term abuse. I don't know that we're equipped to be able to handle this morass. jps (talk) 03:34, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
Per the username and Russian sources, I suspect that this user is associated with the Russian Theosophy society [24]. This user sometimes cites the The Theosophical Review, a Russian Theosophy magazine as source of information. This could be possible paid editing. Same user has also created Christianity and Theosophy and many others.
One other thing I have noticed is that SERGEJ2011 has been citing the Theosophy wiki on Wikipedia as a valid source. For example [25], [26], [27] are cited on the Christianity and Theosophy article. The way the articles are written does indeed look notelike, like a dumping ground for Theosophy research. It is possible these articles are being copied from somewhere else. (talk) 11:26, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
To be honest this does not look notable either The Esoteric Character of the Gospels, but there would be too many to afd (there are 5 others like this), the whole thing is really quite bad as you say. How can this be resolved? (talk) 11:37, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
Thought-Forms (book) is equally terrible, mainly based on the book with some unreliable sources thrown in, although there may be some reliable sources there as well. Maybe most of these need stubbing? Doug Weller talk 12:19, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
You can actually nominate an entire bundle of articles for deletion, as per WP:MULTIAFD. I could in theory just add whatever we think is likely to be deleted to my AfD I guess? --tronvillain (talk) 12:26, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
This is worth looking at: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Clairvoyance (book). As one editor there noted, a lot of his sources are not actually about the subject of the article, ie a book, but about the topic of the book, etc, without mentioning the book. Doug Weller talk 15:09, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
Also Talk:K.H._Letters_to_C.W._Leadbeater which became a redirect. --tronvillain (talk) 16:38, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
Looking here, the user appears to be translating their own work from the Russian Wikipedia - I left them a message about attribution. The relevant pages should probably have the {{Translated page}} template added. --tronvillain (talk) 16:12, 18 August 2018 (UTC)


I realized that the article has neutrality (and likely source quality) issues and started a thread at Talk:Prana#Neutrality. I'll try to return to it, but input and help is always welcome. Thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 10:01, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

I removed a lot of cruft in that article. [28] More needs to be done. jps (talk) 12:45, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 10:24, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

Moses (TV programme)

Ran into this article after I saw this edit. The lead starts "Moses is a British documentary programme that chronicles the life of Moses using scientific and contemporary historical evidence." Which to my mind is saying that you can actually do that because he's a real historical figure for which there is evidence. Doug Weller talk 12:01, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

Problem is it is (almost) what the BBC says, it is based on science. There is however an issue with the idea it proves Moses life, it seems to make claims about the inspiration behind it, not that it is true.Slatersteven (talk) 12:13, 18 August 2018 (UTC)


Environmental Working Group (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views). From the article you can barely tell that this is an organic lobby front group with a long history of publishing bullshit. Guy (Help!) 12:58, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

I have tagged a bunch of primary sources, and removed some unsourced and POV stuff, but the article still needs a lot of work, it is a smallish, poorly worded article, cited mainly to Tornado chaser (talk) 00:38, 19 August 2018 (UTC)

Race (human categorization)


The regular editors on the talk page repeatedly make the argument that there is a consensus among professionals that race is not a valid biological construct, but rather only an arbitrary social construct. Is this correct? Richard Lynn 8 (talk) 13:43, 18 August 2018 (UTC)

According to the talk-page history there has been socking from a user called Mikemikev / Han Jo Jo [29]. The said user has a history of impersonation according to the SPI archive. Unlikely you are the real Richard Lynn. (talk) 14:13, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
I've username blocked him. Doug Weller talk 14:21, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
Ok so I'm not Richard Lynn. I wasn't trying to impersonate him, just used his name. Anyway, how about the question? Doctor Nimrod (talk) 07:14, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Sure. —PaleoNeonate – 08:00, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
That's just one opinion though right? How about surveys of the relevant fields? Doctor Nimrod (talk) 08:11, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Not a fringe theory. The current article (Race (human categorization)) correctly represents the current scientific mainstream view, which is well-documented in reliable sources cited. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:23, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
That of Larsen's (editor)? Those of the authors' work he edited like Little or Sussman? If you check the book the claims are also sourced. For the encyclopedia that is a tertiary non-self-published (WP:SPS) reliable source (WP:RS). The Wikipedia article's section I added it to still needs work, but it follows with other data. I hope this helps, —PaleoNeonate – 08:26, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
What is it sourced to? I suspect the source may be biased towards a United States point of view. International surveys find no consensus, and suggest race denial is high among Americans because of politics and history. Doctor Nimrod (talk) 08:35, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Hmm do you understand that all extant humans are Homo sapiens sapiens in biology taxonomy? The "Recent evolution" and "Behavioral modernity" sections are also relevant. I don't think getting distracted into the geographical origin of sources helps: that is mainstream biology. —PaleoNeonate – 09:01, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Adding: I suggest asking at WP:RD/S or WP:RD/H for less formal discussions and more input. Scientific racism is a fringe topic and it is uncontroversial to consider race a human social category more than a biological one. There of course also are haplotypes, but they have little to do with traditional races... —PaleoNeonate – 09:10, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Absolutely we should consider the international view. You are saying it doesn't "help" to note that the article has a US bias which is at odds to international views? It's editors here that are cherry picking geographic sources, American ones. Isn't there a policy about this? NPOV? "Scientific racism" or the idea that taxonomy also applies to humans isn't a "fringe view" outside the US. It's basic Darwinian theory that there's no preferred level of taxonomy, through species to subspecies to individual differences. Check Origin of Species chapter 2, doubtless I don't need to remind you. Doctor Nimrod (talk) 09:24, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Even biological species is human categorization, although there are a few definitions with different criteria (that still rest on observation however). —PaleoNeonate – 10:04, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Adding: while Origin of Species was very influential, it was very seminal and does not represent modern biology. Even genetic evidence was missing back then... —PaleoNeonate – 10:07, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
The "genetic evidence" used in American race denial takes the form of strawman arguments of the form "race is invalid because {insert random fact about the genome}". E.g. variation within groups or higher diversity in one group. These criteria aren't used to invalidate taxa in other species. Doctor Nimrod (talk) 10:17, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
In American race denial? I'll stop wasting my time here. —PaleoNeonate – 10:31, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Well yeah. Where else is it coming from? The British tend to refute race denial for example, AWF Edwards, Dawkins. Even Russia seems to have escaped its Lysenkoist past. Doctor Nimrod (talk) 12:08, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
  • There is no US bias in noting that there is no scientific support for the considering race a biologically valid concept. No where in the world is there evidence to support the outdated theory, though some local scientific environments have not yet updated their views to reflect the genetic reality. We should not take an "international view" if it is contrary to the evidence and the global consensus.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:46, 19 August 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Struck through Mikemikev sock, see Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Mikemikev. Doug Weller talk 15:02, 19 August 2018 (UTC)

Mark Hyman (doctor)

I am being asked on the Talk page: "but who says "Wikipedia regards [Quackwatch] as reliable" other than you?" Could some users who say that please come over and say it? --Hob Gadling (talk) 13:27, 19 August 2018 (UTC)

Crisis actor

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

High traffic article especially during mass shootings and bombings. Currently devoted to the non-fringe use of the term, but includes a section on the fringe theory. Should it be split off into two articles? See Talk:Crisis actor#Undue_Weight. - LuckyLouie (talk) 20:32, 19 August 2018 (UTC)

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