Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard

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Welcome to the fringe theories noticeboard
This page is for requesting input on possible fringe theories. Post here to seek advice on whether a particular topic is fringe or mainstream, or whether undue weight is being given to fringe theories.
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The miraculous cures of Sahaja Yoga

Miraculous cures for cancer are mentioned, and the founder claims for AIDS and schizophrenia too. I'm inclined to think at least the entire "Medical studies" section here can be deleted, and some of the other wild claims need mainstream context. This type of yoga does not seem to have got much skeptical coverage though ... Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 13:35, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Further trimming done, unsupported added to claims. Specific diseases removed. This article relies heavily on primary sources and needs major cutting down to 3rd party RS supported material. - - MrBill3 (talk) 17:54, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
And now the push-back ... Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 06:24, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
I provided a pretty clear explanation on the talk page (listing specific biomedical information), that was ignored when tags were again removed. I have tagged many of the refs as primary. Looks like the article is due for some pretty heavy trimming. - - MrBill3 (talk) 06:43, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Multiple explanations of policy and specific examples have been provided on the talk page. IDHT seems to be happening. A good fringe editor might want to step in and cut the promotional content and statements presented without balance and proper attribution. - - MrBill3 (talk) 16:01, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Is this journal a generally reliable source for altmed topics, or does it fall afoul of WP:FRIND? The specific content I have in mind is in the Traditional Chinese Medicine article: "A 2012 review found curcumin has an important role in treating diabetes" sourced to PMC 3857752 (and since removed by another editor). I note this journal is not always positive toward altmed topics. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 08:01, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

The problem with this journal is that it charges authors to publish, which introduces a conflict of interest in editorial policy. Much of the material published in the journal is the standard SCAM fare of small-scale studies that show often marginally significant results for interventions with no remotely plausible theoretical basis. And of course negative results are much less likely to get published (who would pay to publish a result that undermines their beliefs?) and most published research studies are wrong anyway. A claim as bold as that, requires a substantially better source. If curcumin genuinely does have a clinically relevant effect on diabetes, it will be in one of the major endocrinology journals. Guy (Help!) 18:08, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Isn't this the journal that published that terribly designed pyramid power study? And other assorted studies so fringe as to kill its credibility? Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:47, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

List of reportedly haunted locations and associated category being added to articles

List of reportedly haunted locations (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) has some very dubious sources, and it is being used as a rationale to add Category:Reportedly haunted locations to locations in the list whose articles do not mention haunting, eg Giza Necropolis, Valley of the Kings and Great Wall of China. I've removed it from the first to and someone removed it from the 3rd but was reverted. Two issues really, one is cleaning up the list, the second adding categories about things that aren't mentioned in the article. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 10:47, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

@Dougweller Thanks for bringing this up. The user who added the category to Great Wall of China cites as a reference a link to about.com, which I don't think is a reliable source. There is no mention of haunting in the article and the three or four editors who are major contributors to it (including me EDIT: Sorry, here I am referring to the History of the Great Wall of China but that doesn't affect the fundamental argument) did not consider it worth mentioning. Not sure where we go from here. ► Philg88 ◄ talk 11:04, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
And despite two editors disagreeing with him, he's saying that he has the right to do it as WP:REF " nowhere states that the reference needs to be in the same article that is being categorised - only that there need to be references in Wikipedia articles." He also says "please stop - unless you intend to undo all 630 of the articles I have dealt with so far.". RSN perhaps. Dougweller (talk) 11:07, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
RSN is going to be tough given the number of articles involved. Perhaps the answer is an RFC to get something into WP:REF or WP:CAT, which currently don't address this. ► Philg88 ◄ talk 11:31, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
1) According to WP:REF, of course articles need sources. However, WP:REF also makes it clear that those references have to be in Wikipedia, but not necessarily in the article. This is the reason why we are able to have category listings for redirects (for example), even though a redirect never has a reference within it.
2) In the case of the Reportedly haunted location articles, I have been adding categories based in references at List of reportedly haunted locations. As I have already explained, I intend to go back and add refereences to the individual articles, once I have completed the semi-automated task of categorising - it is far quicker to add the categories first in one batch, and then go through the category to see which articles require references, rather than to individually check and categorise the articles one at a time (at an apprioximate estimate, this should reduce the time taken to complete the task by over 50%, probably nearer 75%).
3) In all, of the articles I have added, six have been undone - only one of them more than once, and none of them more than three times (it seems Dougweller does not believe that WP:3RR is strict enough).
4) Note that I have edited several of the articles comprehensively and have made it clear I intend to further edit many of the articles I am categorising.
5) Please also note that where references on the List article seem dubious or inappropriate, I am checking for further references. I am not adding the category in cases where I can find no reputable source. In the case of the Great Wall of China, there appeared to be several sources. This is also the first time I've ever heard of any problems with about.com, in terms of its reliability - it is certainly regularly used as a site for references on Wikipedia. Grutness...wha? 11:49, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
So far the only response at RSN is not supportive of your stance. As for about.com, it depends on the author and the use. An unsourced comment on an About.com page isn't enough. We have far too many bad sources being used in our articles, the number of uses doesn't make a source reliable. 3RR applies to single pages, read the nutshell. If bad material is added to 25 articles and I revert once in each article, that doesn't count as 25 reverts for 3RR. You on the other hand have reverted two editors in one article - not a violation but definitely 2 reverts. Dougweller (talk) 16:00, 3 April 2014 (UTC) (forgot to sign and sinebot must be on a break)
I think it's you who'd better read the nutshell. I know 3RR - I helped to write that page. Two undos on one page doesn't violate 3RR. And two is all I have done on any one article. Yet you seem to think that is enough to warn me that I am doing something wrong. I am not, and if you think I am, you clearly d not understand how 3RR works. And I repeat they were not reverts, they were undos. I would not revert a good-faith edit. Grutness...wha? 23:14, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
User:Grutness, I thought you were accusing me of 3RR. I certainly wasn't bringing up WP:3RR when I pointed out you had been reverted by 2 editors, and your statement on your talk page that you were undoing, not reverting, seems to contradict WP:3RR's "A revert means undoing the actions of another editor." Dougweller (talk) 05:45, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
A revert often refers to a rollback, indicating vandalism, as opposed to an undo, which is simply restoring a page after a good-faith edit. I don't think any of the edits here were bad-faith, so I would not use the term revert to describe undoing them. Grutness...wha? 10:24, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

The "haunted location" list articles are essentially an unsupervised dumping ground for rumors and bad sources. My favorite is the entry about stains on a telescope at University of Toledo. No one editor can keep up with the constant cleaning required, but maybe a Wikiproject could take these on? - LuckyLouie (talk) 13:29, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

True, which is why we shouldn't be using it as the basis for putting an article in a category. Dougweller (talk) 16:00, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Absolutely. Trivia cruft now seems to be creeping into categories ... sigh ... ► Philg88 ◄ talk 16:40, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Note my comments above - I am using that list only as a basis for further checking before adding articles, and am not adding ones where the sources seem dodgy. As for the list as a whole being a dumping ground, I entirely agree - that is one reason why we have WikiProjects, to keep such lists tidy. Why WP:PN is not doing that, I do not know - it would make both sorting through the list to find valid items easier, and the veracity of the list itself far higher. Grutness...wha? 23:14, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia:WikiProject Paranormal/Encyclopedic articles contains the list of articles in one reference source on ghosts. There are others as well. Those sources would probably be the best bases with which to build a list. They do take time to prepare though.John Carter (talk) 16:56, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I shall use those in my category "trivia cruft" (sic. There's no point in having these categories in the first place if they're going to be empty - all I'm doing is adding relevant articles to them. If the articles are there and the categories are there, putting the articles in the categories is hardly "trivia cruft", it is standard Wikipedia practice). Grutness...wha? 23:14, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Some projects are more active than others. In a few weeks, maybe, I might have some more lists ready.John Carter (talk) 00:03, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
BTW, you're right about the references on the lists - especially the US one, they're appalling (that's why I've only added about 1/4 of the items from that list to their respective categories, the others are weak, to put it mildly). Grutness...wha? 01:17, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
@Grutness You are quite correct: "There's no point in having these categories in the first place if they're going to be empty" —that's what WP:CFD is for. ► Philg88 ◄ talk 05:05, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
And if you take categories to CFD, the first thing asked is whether they are useful, and the second thing is can they be filled. Since the answer to both those questions is undeniably yes, filling the categories is the most logical, most practical, and most useful solution - not wasting everyone's time by either taking the categories to CFD or bickering about why they are being filled. Grutness...wha? 10:24, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
OK, I was wrong about there being other reference books on hauntings - I don't see any on World Cat. But I do see some approximations of such and will try to get them.John Carter (talk) 17:08, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

When is a subject non-religious and when is it religious?

I am sincerely confused when a subject is religious and when it is not. See e.g. Talk:Arthur_Ford#Your_defense_of_skeptic_sources_e.g._at_talk:Arthur_Ford. Years ago I went thru mediation regarding Sathya Sai Baba with the outcome that skeptical sources, like the Indian Skeptic were not okay to use as a source for his miracles. See User:BostonMA/Mediation/Sathya_Sai_Baba/Premanand_as_a_Source In contrast the parapsychologist Erlendur Haraldsson was fine.

It seems to me that different policies apply when a subject is religious and when it is not, so the classification of the subject and article does matter. I think WP:fringe does not apply for religious subjects, like Arthur Ford.

Thanks in advance for ur comments. Andries (talk) 14:52, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

What I am asking for is rules and guidelines and consistency among a range of articles, including Sathya Sai Baba, Miracles of Jesus and Arthur Ford. Andries (talk) 16:24, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

There is clearly a demarcation issue. Barney the barney barney (talk) 16:42, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Hi Andries. The answer to your query lies in this section of WP:FRINGE, although I'm guessing from your previous inquiries you already know the difference between Christian's religious belief in the Miracles of Jesus and, say, Arthur Ford appearing on a TV program claiming that he's making contact with someone's dead son. - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:48, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
What miracles? There is absolutely no credible evidence that anything he did was miraculous, every "miracle" can be accounted for by the entirely prosaic mechanisms of stage conjuring. Guy (Help!) 16:51, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
JzG, Erlendur Haraldsson's book "Miracles are my visiting cards" which is considered a reliable source in mediation in 2006 described many alleged miracles attributed to Sathya Sai Baba that cannot be explained by sleight of hand. Andries (talk) 17:04, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Alleged. Meanwhile, back in the real world, it remains the case that not one single miracle has been proven to performed by any supernatural mechanism. Given that in his dotage Sai Baba was getting clumsier and the sleight of hand more obvious, it's hard to see the claims of believers as anything other than credulous. Guy (Help!) 18:13, 6 April 2014 (UTC)o
This is a veering toward an off-topic discussion. I hope that I will find time to write on this subject on my now nearly empty blog. If so, I will alert you on ur talk page. Andries (talk) 18:18, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
LuckyLouie, no I do not see differences that warrant different sourcing guidelines or policies between Arthur Ford and Miracles of Jesus. Both Ford and Jesus had followers and both are treated by religious scholars. Andries (talk) 17:17, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
From Wikipedia:Fringe_theories#Evaluating_claims this section "Perspectives which advocate non-scientific or pseudoscientific religious claims intended (my emphasis) to directly confront scientific discoveries should be evaluated on both a scientific and a theological basis,"
No, I do not think that any of the three example articles that I mentioned intended to directly confront scientific discoveries and hence fall into the religious category, so WP:fringe does not apply and scientific skeptical sources are unsuitable for these three articles. Andries (talk) 17:25, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Pretty much any subject can be religious: The category of "religious subjects" is pretty much just a nominal one: Whatever is widely named as religious is religious. For example creation science—on that article it rightly says, "The overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that creation science is a religious, not a scientific view". Well, WP:FRINGE clearly applies to creation science. In fact, that's the judgement of the Arbitrators: Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience#Final decision. So I think you should reconsider your view that WP:FRINGE does not apply to religious subjects. Obviously, other people disagree with me. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 19:49, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Atethnekos, it is clear from the name alone that creation science intends to directly confront scientific discoveries. Andries (talk) 21:37, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
So rather than being that WP:FRINGE should not apply to religious subjects simpliciter, is your proposal that WP:FRINGE should not apply to religious subjects that don't involve directly confronting scientific discoveries? A counter-example in that case would be e.g., theories of Allah as Moon-god. These are fringe theories, and they are not intended to confront scientific discoveries. At most they are intended to confront discoveries in the humanities, particularly comparative mythology. More often than not though they are just intended to serve apologetic purposes. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 22:51, 6 April 2014 (UTC) Added a missing word for readability. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 23:04, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

May be a statement should be added to WP:Fringe that religious subjects i.e. subjects treated in religious studies, psychology of religion, sociology of religion, theology and not treated in other fields of science, fall outside the scope of fringe even if they contain some paranormal claims. What do you think? Andries (talk) 21:31, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

That surely can't be the criteria. Rather, it should be that one may talk about beliefs - clearly labelled as such - without need to contrast with more skeptical sources, but the moment be talks of proof or tries to claim something cannot be explained, then bring on the skepticism. There have been innumerable cults and fraudsters. We shouldn't tae the position that Wikipedia should be defined solely by the believers. Adam Cuerden (talk) 21:50, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I think this is a clearly bad idea. There is a difference between "in-universe" discussions about religious articles of faith and claims to secular truth. WP:FRINGE likely applies in both cases, but in different ways. In discussing items of religious dogma, you're talking about what people believe, not what is true, so the fringe sources you're avoiding are fringe believers (e.g. you wouldn't want to prominently include the Westboro Baptist Church's views in an article about Christianity). In discussing whether or not someone actually had magic powers or miraculous abilities, then you use a wider scientific standard. There is no reason to analyze whether something's religious or not. 0x0077BE talk/contrib 21:53, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. Appropriate framing can mean that there is little need for much counterargument - if the article makes it very clear it's talking about the beliefs of a religion, and does not stray into advocating for their truth, then fine. If it's on a religious text, and simply neutrally describes it, sure. But first of all - I do firmly believe the meditation listed at the start of this was likely wrong, at least in part, if - as I understand it - it ended by saying religious figures are protected from criticism of their claimed abilities. They are not, and cannot be. There are, however, arguments to be had about uses of sources, and how best to present the evidence, but that's not the same as saying evidence that contradicts religious figures should be rejected out of hand: that is never the case. Adam Cuerden (talk) 22:04, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Adam, I think that you misunderstand this thorough mediation. The mediation only said that hardline skeptic sources, like Indian Skeptic and Robert Todd Carroll skeptic dictionaries are not suitable for the article Sathya Sai Baba because they are not peer reviewed, and too partisan. Criticisms from other sources was allowed. However the problem that I have is that this kind of reasoning is not applied consistently over Wikipedia. Why is the use of hardline skeptic sources okay for Arthur Ford? Can I use the skeptic dictionary as a source at Miracles of Jesus. If yes, then why not at Sathya Sai Baba? If not, then why don't people try this? (I think that there will be too much opposition.) Andries (talk) 22:30, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
One could use them at Miracles of Jesus - were there not better, more notable sources. We have criticism by extremely notable critics such as David Hume, we don't really need lesser lights. At Sathya Sai Baba, we also have much more prominent, notable criticism, so need not go down that far. Arthur Ford was never as prominent as Jesus or Sathya Sai Baba, and, as such, the notability of the sources that cover him is less - and the sources used there are thus appropriately notable for the article. Are you aware of WP:PARITY? Adam Cuerden (talk) 00:03, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

I also announced this discussion here here, because this is discussion about the scope of different policies and editing styles. Andries (talk) 22:12, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Oh good, the WP:FORUMSHOP is open. For the record, I think it would be a violation of policy to allow the in-universe characterisation of Sai Baba's conjuring to pass as fact. Bear in mind that Sai Baba's followers are not infrequently referred to as a cult and there's significant evidence that the guru was abusing his power and influence over the faithful, it would be entirely wrong to adopt the usual uncritical tone of articles on historical religious mysteries, most of which have no contemporaneous skeptical sources. Your long-term and very determined advocacy of Sai baba is a matter of record. Your desire for parity between the claims of Sai Baba and those of the historical religions fails because the claimed miracles of Sai Baba were already debunked during his lifetime, whereas the claimed miracles of Christianity, for example, have a clear context as allegory. Guy (Help!) 09:07, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
I am not an advocate of Sathya Sai Baba, but I stick to agreements made and follow policies about sourcing and I think they have to be applied consistently over religious articles with paranormal aspects, regardless whether the article is about old religious movements or new religious movements. Andries (talk) 19:17, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Your edit history tells a different story. (clarification: I chose the wrong word; what I mean is that you have very little apparent interest in Wikipedia other than to discuss this one subject). And yes, there is a difference between old religious movements and modern ones. Do you think the first century Christians would have got away with the miracle claims in today's climate? These myths are generally understood to be just that, whereas the claims of Sai Baba are pretty clearly simple conjuring. Guy (Help!) 19:30, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Andries: OK you've initiated a general discussion around the premise "fringe does not apply for religious subjects" and you've made a specific proposal to change WP:FRINGE to reflect that, but you haven't gotten any support for your ideas here, and it's unlikely any will be forthcoming. At this point, it's probably best that you move your proposal to an appropriate place, i.e. Talk:Fringe theories. Do you have specific text changes you'd like to see at Sathya Sai Baba and Arthur Ford? If so, the Talk pages of those articles are your best bet to pursuing those. - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:38, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Wait a bit. If a subject is religious then it is likely treated by religious scholars etc which tend to be reliable source. This includes Arthur Ford who is treated by J. Gordon Melton and then according to WP:parity hard line skeptic sources have no place in this article. (I am not very motivated to improve Arthur Ford, except to make a point regarding the proper use of sources.) So, even if my proposal was rejected, in practice the current policies will ensure that my proposal is implemented. Andries (talk) 03:57, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
You may also be interested what user:Jayen466 and I wrote in Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/New_religious_movements#Reliable_sources. The subject of religious articles with paranormal alspects is most pronounced in new religious movements. And the best sources according to Wikipedia policies are not hard line skeptic sources, but rather peer review religious studies articles, anthropology of religion articles etc. Andries (talk) 03:57, 11 April 2014 (UTC) ( 05:49, 11 April 2014 (UTC) added a little for clarity )
See WP:OTHERCRAP. You are torturing precedent in order to argue against policy. Wikipedia does not work that way. Guy (Help!) 15:50, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
And your "refer to the guideline I wrote" argument is not particularly convincing. - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:01, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
LuckyLouie, the main reason why I linked the guideline that I co-authored was to get input. However I still expect reasons for JzG/Guy's mass revert of all my edits on this guideline, instead of mere ad hominem arguments. And they are not even true. Andries (talk) 10:10, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
If it comes down to "we can't use skeptics, and we can't use sources from within the group, then the usual result is going to be deletion. Mangoe (talk) 16:22, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Religious topics are not immune from WP:FRINGE... however, WP:FRINGE has to be applied within the context of religion. Within the broader topic area of "Religion", there are fringe religious movements, and fringe religious beliefs, and we appropriately give such movements and beliefs a lot less weight (or even no weight at all) than we do non-fringe religious movements and beliefs. Blueboar (talk) 16:18, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

You gotta be kidding me, Blueboar... So you see Wikipedia's ("neutral") role as being to define what is orthodoxy and who is heretical within each religious tradition, rather than just give an impartial bird's eye view of the differing positions? Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 17:30, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Just above you referred to "non-fringe religious movements and beliefs". So when are we going to see the official listing of Blue-boar approved "non-fringe religious movements and beliefs" so we can make sure we don't step in any hot water with him there... Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 17:34, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Huh? Where did you get that from? Focus on content: the specific issue here is whether the conjuring tricks of Sai Baba should be portrayed as "miracles" based on the say-so of members of his cult. Answer: hell no, followed by a lot of muddying of the waters, which anybody who loves Schubert will tell you, leads to no good result. Guy (Help!) 21:57, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
This is not the issue. The issue is whether when and to what extent hard line skeptic sources are okay to use for religious subjects. I admit that omission of hard line skeptic sources will make some religious articles including Sathya Sai Baba somewhat less critical, but certainly not without criticisms. Some peer reviewed articles by religious scholars summarize hard line skeptic sources, but generally they tend be silent about the veracity of truth claims by religious movements. However it would be strange to mix peer reviewed sources that already summarize hard line skeptic sources with the hard line skeptic sources. That would cause a balance issue. Andries (talk) 05:23, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
This is clearly just one person's opinion. But I would tend to that the best indicators of WEIGHT for topics like this which aren't "scientific" in some way are the extant specialized reference sources and overviews in academic literature. The articles in such are often longer than our own. When such don't specifically help, RfCs are useful.John Carter (talk) 16:07, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Russell Targ

A new user claiming to be Targ has turned up on the article deleting skeptical references and inserting personal comments. Any eyes appreciated to watch over this, I have reverted him but he keeps re-adding his personal commentary. I have a feeling the same person was also editing on a bunch of IPs on the article deleting references a few weeks ago. Goblin Face (talk) 21:46, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

So far as I can tell, Targ wasn't particularly significant in laser development, but was a very significant woo. Adam Cuerden (talk) 07:19, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
He published some stuff on LIDAR for measurement of wind shear. The sources cited are primary. We can say he did that, but its significance is far from clear and it does not belong in the lede. We should be respectful but firm, as always. Guy (Help!) 21:59, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Narconon

Is Narconon now NPOV and should the POV banner therefore be removed? Talk:Narconon#NPOV? 78.86.131.23 (talk) 10:38, 8 April 2014 (UTC) Yes check.svg Done thanks. Guy (Help!) 20:38, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

John Hartnett

John Hartnett (physicist) (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views)

An interesting case where CV-style promotionalism seems to dominate over the actual notability of the person. Hartnett is not particularly known for his contributions outside of creationism, and yet his credentials are somewhat trumpeted in the lede. Not sure how to handle the situation, though. Help!

jps (talk) 13:52, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Probably the easiest solution would be to simply remove the credentials-trumpeting material from the lede, and insert it toward the end of the Research Interests section, hopefully in a less boastful way. I'll do it (eventually!), if you wish. jxm (talk) 20:59, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I do so wish. I tried to figure it out myself but was unable. jps (talk) 10:57, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Baraminology

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

I've mentioned this article on this board before, but it really is absolutely atrocious. Much of it reads like Of Pandas and People. Can we try to align it with policies please? Can we try not to allow this kind of soapboxing?

jps (talk) 14:34, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

There's a version way back in history that I worked on back before I lost my old account. It was sourced, used major papers, and, while it might've had a lot of deadlinks by now, was completely within WP:FRINGE. I think I might just revert back to it. Adam Cuerden (talk) 01:26, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Done. There might be some salvageable text in the former version, but... Adam Cuerden (talk) 01:29, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Not a huge fan of the neologism sections, but this version is a marked improvement over what was there before. jps (talk) 20:11, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Think those were what was there before I had stepped in. They could readily be cut down, but they're somewhat useful for an intentionally obfuscatory field. Adam Cuerden (talk) 01:40, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Jaime Licauco

Needs a cleanup. The section about the controversy with Randi particularly needs work. Dougweller (talk) 13:12, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Atmospheric beast and Trevor James Constable

Carl Sagan once offhandedly used the phrase "atmospheric beast" on an episode of Cosmos to muse about the possibility of life on gas giants like Jupiter. An obscure author named Trevor James Constable had some ideas about creatures living in Earth's atmosphere. Neither of these topics has attracted any in depth coverage by independent and reliable (read: non-UFO, non-Forteana) sources to warrant having their own articles. - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:39, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Chopra Media Representative

Talk:Deepak Chopra#Chopra Media Representative

This section may be of interest to watchers of this noticeboard.

jps (talk) 11:40, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Creationist cosmologies

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

Is this a violation of WP:SYNTH? Should this article be deleted?

jps (talk) 16:36, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Creationist cosmologies. It's time to rid ourselves of this, I think. jps (talk) 12:01, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Creation geophysics. In the same vein. jps (talk) 13:11, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

New theories based on recently published academic papers

A relatively new user, BernardZ, has taken to making a number of sweeping claims based on newly-published research and reports that seem unsupported by any other academic (or otherwise) sources.

The extra commentary added to Sunstone (medieval) with this edit (note additional personal theorising in the edit summary) and to Agriculture with this edit (again with personal theorising) are both based on extracts from recently-published Royal Society papers. Grammatical and WP:MOS errors and personal theories aside, are these strong enough sources to justify the insertion of significant new material into articles?

A half-way-point would be to add the material with an attribution to the publishers, making it clear that it is their theory, it's new and untested and stand-alone by comparison to other academia.

I removed both but was accused of "wikihounding" (having also removed several instances of completely unsourced original research from the same editor). Some extra eyes/advice from FRINGE/N regulars would be appreciated. Stalwart111 02:24, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

As regards the edit to Agriculture, having now read the paper, I can confirm that the edit reflects both the publicly accessible abstract and the full paper, though this is more primary than I thought from the abstract. The dates, which are new, come from carbon-dating at 4 sites (in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), plus other evidence as to the grains being domesticated, so are not just "theory". Obviously I have a COI as Wikipedian-in-residence at the Royal Society, and the research is just published (2 April 2014), so I won't express a view on whether a mention is appropriate at this stage. Wiki at Royal Society John (talk) 17:13, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I think on that basis it might be worth including though it would be good to have a proper summary of the research and its findings rather than someone's OR interpretation and a bare URL link. John, any chance you could prepare an appropriate summary based on your access to the whole text? - I'd be happy to add it. Stalwart111 10:31, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Ok thanks - I'll draft something & add to the talk page over the next few days. Note the "new dating" component is strictly geographically limited to the areas mentioned above - the Fertile Crescent, China etc had been growing crops millenia before. This is about the nomads et al on the steppes in between, and it might really fit better, or at greater length, into other more specific articles - I'll look at what these might be. Thanks, Wiki at Royal Society John/ Johnbod (talk) 16:39, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Sounds great Johnbod - feel free to ping me as required and I'll make them as requested edits. Stalwart111 12:27, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Wiki at Royal Society John aka Johnbod (talk) 13:21, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Eurythmy / Integrative oncology

Some discussion at Eurythmy over how medical claims made for it should be included, and on whether/how an OUP published book on Integrative Oncology is usable. More eyes would be welcome. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 12:28, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Christ on a bike. This is Steiner bollocks isn't it? I'll go and have a look. Guy (Help!) 21:32, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Just to check: the consensus is that Oxford University Press does not constitute a reliable source for medical claims? HGilbert (talk) 02:32, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
OUP is not a "source", but a publisher. While they tend to publish a lot of things which can be good sources, sources still need to be evaluated in respect of the claims they make in the usual way. The "Weil Integrative Medicine Library" series is unlikely to contain much, if anything, we can assert as reliable health information. For eurythmy, the idea that engaging in "harmonious movement" can affect one's "inner life functions" and so play a part in treating people with cancer, is pure fringe. (Incidentally, you removed[1] these words - a direct quotation - from the article, which is a watering-down of its apparent fringeiness). Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 03:43, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
If you google H Gilbert and either Waldorf or eurythmy, a very obvious conflict of interest pops up. Fancy that. Guy (Help!) 08:50, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, and it's long-lived. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 08:56, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
If you google "ad hominem argumentation" you'll find some interesting reading matter, too. Is Oxford University Press a reliable source for medical claims or not? HGilbert (talk) 14:45, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
That looks like a WP:POINT-y question. There is no answer. We don't give an entire major publisher's catalogue a "pass" or "fail" in advance. To repeat: "sources still need to be evaluated in respect of the claims they make in the usual way". Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 14:55, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
You have already been given the answer. OUP is a large firm and it published good and bad. Medical claims are judged by the quality of journal and its peer review process, not by the identity of the publisher. You will of course not be editing the article directly, due to your COI, but will restrict yourself to the talk page and be up front about the COI, yes? Guy (Help!) 22:23, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Peter Deunov

Quite a few issues ... Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 06:12, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Xenu

99.22.189.113 (talk · contribs · WHOIS) recently added a post to the talk page, claiming "Much of this article is out-of-date with more recent information about Xenu (which, btw, now is spelled Zenu with a backward "z"). It is now known that Xenu is the same being as Satan from the Hebrew scriptures. It won't be easy to verify this, but talk to User:average64 if more info is desired".

User:average64 (|talk|history|links|watch|logs) hasn't edited since 2013, and never the Xenu article. Can this information be verified? --Auric talk 14:03, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Editor insist on fringe theory mention in paleoclimatology entry

User:Spinningspark, insist on adding a fringe theory to paleoclimatology (to the section of forcings). I previously removed the section because the topic of climate forcings in discussed at Climate change, and because of the fringe theory, poor referencing (A lot of ISBN's) and false statements. In particular he wants a mention of a proposed connection between climate change and cosmic rays. The theory is from around the year 2000, and there are 31 cites on Google Scholar for the term "Cosmic rays climate". The main studies are made not by climate scientists and didn't went through proper peer-review. One study is no longer online. (The entry Ref link is broken). I've tried to explain that cosmic rays are not a climate proxy and that there is no credible link established between cosmic rays and climate change.

On the bottom line, i have nothing against a discussion of this theory, however i don't think it is within the scope of this article to do this. Prokaryotes (talk) 16:33, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

First of all, it is a mischaracterisation to say I am trying to add something. I have not added anything. What really happened is that I reverted a wholesale deletion without discussion of an entire large section that had been in the article for some time. This section is not only, or even mostly, about Veizer and it discusses him so heavily mostly to say how much he has been criticised. Spinningspark 17:42, 13 April 2014 (UTC) — continues after insertion below
I've updated the headline to better reflect that. prokaryotes (talk) 18:09, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Correct me if I am mistaken here, but I believe fringe does not mean "wrong". Michelson and Morley were wrong, but their famous experiment is certainly not considered fringe. My argument for keeping the Veizer material is that firstly, it is relevant: it is a theory about the ancient paleoclimate so I don't see how that is not relevant to the paleoclimatology article. It has gathered a great deal of attention in reliable sources; it is therefore both notable and not WP:UNDUE. Nor can it be said that the only attention is from the popular press. Veizer is very highly cited by scholars, his top article on gscholar has 1,272 cites. Papers cited in our article include his 2005 paper (57 cites), and a 2003 paper with Shaviv (263 cites). He is also discussed in depth on websites for climatology scientists. Veizer might well be wrong, I am not qualified to say, but he is clearly not being treated as a crackpot by his peers. It also needs saying that Jan Veizer is not a lone voice. As mentioned, he co-authored with Nir Shaviv. The theory is also supported by Henrik Svensmark whose paper on this subject is even more heavily cited (973 cites according to gs). SpinningSpark 17:42, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Notice, Svensmark and Veizer are both climate sceptics. However, this theory can be mentioned, just not in that article because it is not based on a climate proxy. As pointed out before, the right place is here and it is linked already on the climate change entry. prokaryotes (talk) 17:55, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
By the way "cosmic rays climate" might only get 31 results on scholar, but try it without the quotes and there are thousands. Further cosmic ray clouds gets even more (it is the claim by some that the effect of CR on cloud formation can explain modern global warming that makes Veizer's theory so controversial). There is little doubt that the theory is very widely discussed by scholars and readers are likely to come to our paleoclimatology article to learn more. SpinningSpark 17:57, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
SpinningSpark, there are thousands of papers on cosmic rays, because particles are a natural phenomena - but the studies do not involve paleoclimatology. prokaryotes (talk) 18:01, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Suggestion Improve the section already covering the topic, here. And adding a section @paleoclimatology, based on current content of "Controlling factors", in regards to forcings, and removing the arbitrary sub section time spans, and adding the related forcings (internal/external, which includes celestial drivers) and link to main page @climate change#causes. prokaryotes (talk) 16:26, 14 April 2014 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Point of process, in the first diff provided by Spinningspark I thought much of the material had nothing to do with cosmic (comic?) rays. So right off the bat, deleting other stuff with a cosmic ray complaint raises red flags. Suggest Prok. do a new deletion removing just the objectionable cosmic rays material, and then self revert. That would not be edit warring (since he would self revert the demo edit) but it would provide an easy way to communicate the narrow scope of the precise text that is at issue in this thread. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:57, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Ok, i will wait for some more feedback here, maybe SpinningSpark can make a compromise as well. But for clarification the summary edit stated "NPOV and not scope of article, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change#Causes". It is not easy to clean up an article, as background the page was heavily cluttered with stuff from Veizer et al (9 mentions at least, in various places with non RS as references, eg. a lot about galactic spiral arm movement of the Milky Way and such)... prokaryotes (talk) 17:22, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
I've updated the section, per IPCC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoclimatology#Climate_forcings prokaryotes (talk) 22:01, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Dream telepathy

Article using mostly fringe sources. Cannot find any reliable or skeptical/critical coverage of some of the claims. I would recommend an afd for the article or merging some of it into the telepathy article. Any thoughts? Goblin Face (talk) 16:49, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

I have trimmed some of the more blatant OR, but I agree that notability is unclear: the number of sources is small and the number of current sources smaller still. Guy (Help!) 21:32, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Issue resolved, I managed to find a lot of references. It's amazing how that article was up for a few years and nobody added them. Goblin Face (talk) 19:58, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Voice-to-skull‎

More fringe bollocks on imaginary voice-transmission weapons. Another contributor has now created an article entitled 'Voice-to-skull‎' - note the hyphens. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:56, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Related: Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Voice-to-skull --Guy Macon (talk) 19:25, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
As per above, the crap has been nuked. This seems to be a standard case of an organised POV-push from a website for crazies. Guy (Help!) 20:12, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Jens Stoltenberg

Norway's former prime minister. There is a discussion on the talk page regarding to weather the Prime Minister said anything against Israel or its just a POV, as is stated by @Huldra: and @Bjerrebæk:. Me and @Yambaram: have agreed that at least the JPost article is a legit reason to include such content, besides JPost, there were refs from Arutz Sheva and FrontPage Magazine, so it is not a POV by all means. I would like an uninvolved admin to intervene.--Mishae (talk) 19:28, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

This is not really covered by WP:FRINGE. Since this dispute is already being discussed in a thread at WP:BLP/N I suggest it's better kept there. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 19:34, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, we can't come to an agreement there because user @Bjerrebæk: doesn't even come there and continues to remove content that in his opinion is considered to be fringed. If it's possible, can you intervene there for balanced opinion. Many thanks in advance.--Mishae (talk) 19:43, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
This is not a WP:FRINGE issue. We should have a Wikipedia:Political disputes noticeboard. Until then, you'll have to deal with issues case by case. WP:BLPN is your best bet. jps (talk) 18:20, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Agree with jps, let's discuss the thread in the proper board. This issue can't be handled simultaneously on 4 different discussions. Yambaram (talk) 08:29, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Take care to avoid WP:FORUMSHOPPING. Pluto2012 (talk) 09:44, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Kundalini syndrome

Claimed spiritual/biological phenomena associated with near-death experiences. The article is quite a WP:BOMBARDMENT. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 07:10, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Neville Goddard

New Religion author active from the 1950s until his death in 1972. I'm finding some passing references but nothing that could be used as the basis of a biography; perhaps others might do better. Mangoe (talk) 13:35, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Standing offer of mentoring/intervention

Hi folks,

TL;DR: If you're dealing with a newbie editor who has started off in a WP:FRINGE area and is floundering, and if you don't have the time/patience/inclination to shepherd the editor to the point where they're able to make a positive contribution, then I'd be willing to help with a bit of mentoring.

Long version: We get lots of newbie WP:SPAs in WP:FRINGE areas. Most of them aren't able and/or willing to make a useful contribution. A few of them (and it may be a very small minority) might develop into valued editors given a bit of mentoring; more specifically, mentoring that steers them out of WP:FRINGE areas until they have a firmer grasp of WP:RS and how it gets applied. Trying to learn this while one's edits are getting reverted is difficult. Trying to learn this while stewing over a block just doesn't happen. If you're working with a new, enthusiastic editor who is making new-enthusiastic-editor mistakes, and you think that editor might benefit from a third-party explaining what the mistakes are before the situation devolves to edit wars and blocks, I'm happy to assist. I will not be making any edits to the articles under discussion, and will be encouraging the newbie to put off editing those articles until they've gained experience elsewhere.

I expect the success rate to be low (where success is measured as positive, sustained contribution, whether in WP:FRINGE articles, others, or both). That's fine. If the rate is zero, then I'll eventually decide to focus my efforts elsewhere. Suggestions and comments are welcome.

Lesser Cartographies (talk) 16:29, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

My only concern here is that you'll accidentally end up coaching them how to get their POV into Wikipedia, because you always assume good faith. Firm guidance is good, and I hope it doesn't try your patience too much. Good luck! Guy (Help!) 22:19, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
There is another venue you might want to look into; the Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard needs volunteers. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:48, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Guy, thanks for the cautions and kind words. Guy Macon, that's an intriguing suggestion; I may get in touch with you to discuss it further. Best, Lesser Cartographies (talk) 08:30, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

UFO sightings in outer space

Reshuffling of a previously deleted article. Sensational claims with no sources. - LuckyLouie (talk) 18:40, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential

Active edit war with two spa's that don't seem to understand WP:NPOV, consensus, general editing policies and how to count (much less WP:FRINGE and WP:MEDRS. Subject of 3RR noticeboard report. - - MrBill3 (talk) 08:14, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Dhul-Qarnayn and Cyrus

Wikipedia articles seem very keen on the theory that Dhul-Qarnayn refers to Cyrus the Great. It is currently given most weight in Cyrus the Great in the Quran and Dhul-Qarnayn, where at the latter it says, "In modern scholarship the character is identified as Cyrus the Great." And it cites only Volume 4 of Alameh Tehrani's Eschatology in Arabic: [2]. I can only read a machine translation of this, but his argument at times seems to depend on a premise of Quranic inerrantism, which does not seem like it would be afforded much weight within mainstream scholarship. I can't find anyone who cites Tehrani on this issue. When I confer with the mainstream texts in English, they don't even mention this theory, and rather affirm that the identification with Alexander is the standard view: The Blackwell Companion to the Qur'ān says: "Dhū'l-Qarnayn, an epithet usually assigned to Alexander the Great but also attributed to Moses by Muslim as well as Jewish and Christian exegetes." (Wheeler, p. 260). The Brill Encyclopedia of Islam, second edition says "It is generally agreed both by Muslim commentators and modern occidental scholars that D̲h̲u ’l-Ḳarnayn, “the two-horned”, in Sūra XVIII, 83/82-98 is to be identified with Alexander the Great." (Watt, "al-Iskandar"). The third edition says "Dhū al-Qarnayn (usually identified with Alexander the Great)" (Cook, "Gog and Magog"). The Brill Encyclopedia of the Qurʾān says "Traditional and modern scholars have identified the figure the Qurʾān refers to as the Possessor of the Two Horns (Dhū l-Qarnayn, q 18:83, 86, 94) as Alexander the Great (al-Iskandar in Arabic)." (Renard, "Alexander") What's the deal here? Is this a fringe theory being promoted? --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 20:38, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree; it does seem as though many reliable sources disagree with the notion that Cyrus was the real Dhul-Qarnayn. Some articles need cleaning up. bobrayner (talk) 22:24, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
And I'm being told that even no other scholars seem to mention an Arabic source, we can still use it. Dougweller (talk) 11:34, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Allen Dulles

The article isn't in great shape, but there's one particularly problematic bit; Dulles' supposed ties to Nazi Germany. Frankly I'm inclined to just throw it out, but there does seem to be a source for it and I'm not really familiar with policy in this area. The claims don't seem to have garnered any maintstream attention. Suggestions? --RaiderAspect (talk) 06:48, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

The section was sourced to a single book that's been cited as controversial, to say the least [3], so I removed it. - LuckyLouie (talk) 17:43, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Mother's Agenda

Fringe article with more stuff added today. I know the editor added copyvio to another article (Philosophy and Spiritualism of Sri Aurobindo) but I can't tell if the material added to this article is copyvio from [4] as the Internet archive doesn't have an earlier version with the same text, but I suspect it is. Dougweller (talk) 10:19, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Where's the notablity? - - MrBill3 (talk) 09:13, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Mindfulness meditation

Until two weeks ago, this was a redirect; it has become an article and is accumulating some content on research into the health effects of meditiation (/mindfulness), over which there is some Talk page discussion. Fringe editors may wish to monitor this. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 15:38, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

A brace of esoteric energy articles for you

Thinking there's a notability issue here ... Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 04:32, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree, hence Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Harold Saxton Burr. There may be one article between the two but even that is doubtful. Guy (Help!) 08:25, 19 April 2014 (UTC)







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