Haukur Þorgeirsson wrote:
with this line of reasoning is in the need to "draw the
line". There is no clear-cut demarcation between science and
I was not so much referring to the line between science
and non-science as the general line between *facts* which
Wikipedia can report in its own voice without attribution
("The Eiffel Tower is in Paris.") and *contested opinions*
which have to be attributed or qualified ("Some critics of
the Bush administration have suggested that oil interests
were an important factor in the decision to invade Iraq.").
Here are a few statements which I have been using as test
cases for where different people might want to draw this
1. Christianity is a religion.
2. Creationism is pseudo-science.
3. Americans have landed on the moon.
4. The Nazis systematically exterminated
millions of Jews.
5. Human activities are significantly
affecting the average temperature on Earth.
My personal "line of unmarked narrative"
lies somewhere between statements 4 and 5.
My response to those.
1. Yes, by definition, with or without the theology.
2. No, an opinion and characterization. This doesn't mean that I
believe in creationism. Only that categorizing something as
"pseudoscience" is a falsifiable theory that needs to be itself subject
to scientific rigour.
3. Yes. The Hollywood Studio Conspiracy Theory is a little
far-fetched, but those theorists have the burden of proof. It's hard to
say when the cross the line from mere speculation (which is acceptable
in the formation of an early theory) to pseudo-science. My speculation
(or theory) would be that that theory was intended as a joke, but I'm
willing to let it be at that without wasting time trying to prove it.
That would hardly warrant elevating my theory to the status of
pseudoscience. That would be a perfectly abandonable theory.
4. Yes, but for the use of the word "systematically". The
exterminations are a question of body count. That they were systematic
about it requires forming an opinion on a broader set of facts.
5. That's an opinion. Some would say that your Icelandic volcanoes
are the problem :-)
This was the
main point in Feyerabend's arguments.
Drawing on your Chick pick I could certainly find an argument in favor
of "Bible Christianity is not religion." Bible Christians are too stuck
in the words of the Bible to be brought together as religion should do. By
disavowing the record of the Bible the author effectively disavows
creation, prefering instead his mystical relationship with Jesus.
Excellent. Would you, then, object to Christianity
being included in a religion category on grounds of
the NPOV policy?
No. Not all Christianity is Bible Christianity. That one word,
"Bible", which you omitted from the comic strip quote can make a big
difference. Whether Christianity is a religion is a question of how you
define your terms.
Since you seem
to disagree with the age of the earth, what would you
suggest? How would you back up your alternative theory?
Maybe you misunderstood me or maybe I'm misunderstanding
you. I'm fine with the Earth being old. I'm not a geologist,
though, and I'm not familiar with the fine points of our
current status of knowledge regarding the age of the Earth.
Great! You know your limitations. I wouldn't have the skills to prove
or disprove that one either. So we both accept that opinion about the
Earth's age as provisionally true. The onus is upon those who want to
convince us of something else to come up with convincing proof.
Christian fundamentalists are wrong is just
as POV as saying that they are right.
I'm still not quite clear on your position here.
Do you object to the current lead of the [[Earth]]
article on grounds of the NPOV policy? If not then
The lead says nothing about the Christian fundamentalists; your question
is a non-sequitur. What am I supposed to be objecting to? I have one
possible objection. The symbol shown for Earth may have predated
meridians, so how can it be based on them? But until I can back up my
position I'm not going to jump in on that.
There is no
better way to promote creationism than to argue
against it. The same happens with a lot of other fields that you might
label as pseudoscience.
I happen to disagree with that but it's irrelevant
to the discussion at hand. We're not talking about
how best to combat pseudoscience, we're talking about
how the NPOV principle of Wikipedia applies to such
topics and, in particular, their categorization.
To apply NPOV to the naming of categories choose names that are
acceptable to both sides of the issue.
toward the various topics that end up on the pseudoscience
list will vary considerably. The ones that I consider most likely to be
credible will differ from those that you put on such a list.
What's important is the consensus of the scientific
community. Not the opinion of me or you after a casual
look on a list. As with any other topic you have to do
substantial research to be able to write well on this.
I'm willing to look at the consensus of the scientific community, then
make up my own mind. The science is more important than the
scientists. I will not bow down and worship at the feet of the
scientific community. Scientists can be just as entrenched in their
wrong ideas as writers of paper encyclopedias are about Wikipedia. I
will respect a scientist in the work that hehas done in his own field,
but I will also be extremely skeptical when he starts to pontificate in