From: Erik Moeller <erik_moeller(a)gmx.de>
>> Your alleged expertise is not an argument. It may be an argument in
Larry's world, but it is not here.
Erik, if you want to know what they are, you can ask, and if I have time,
I'll attempt to explain them to you, although I have my doubts that you'd
be able to understand them.
>> I consider your intentions to be good and much of your information to
be reasonably accurate.
Oh, isn't that nice of him, Julie? He considers your intentions to be
good and your information to be reasonably accurate. How about that.
What a guy!
"We have now sunk to a depth at which the re-statement of the obvious is
the first duty of intelligent men." --George Orwell
> 1) Yes, Erik is Eloquence, and has been involved in many edit wars on
> subjects which he has little expertise.
Care to back this up with facts? Or should I counter this claim by
pointing out that you have written a significant number of articles that
are not NPOV, but written from a relativist (some would say apologist)
perspective? That you wanted to delete facts from the Galileo article
because you didn't like the source, as you regarded it as biased,
without being able to prove it wrong? You and Michael Tinkler have done
a lot of work on Wikipedia, and I respect that, but both of you have
written articles on subjects of Christian history which I consider far
from NPOV, often entirely ignoring church-critical positions (likely
because you are not even aware of them, although Tinkler tends towards
sincere apologism, he's a devout Catholic after all).
Julie responds -- Erik, this is one of the things I had in mind. The
subject in which you demonstrably have little expertise is historical
method and in thinking like an historian. The source you wanted to have
a major part in the article was one generally regarded by historians as
having been untrustworthy, particularly because of his biases. It was
not difficult to demonstrate then that the author is beloved mostly by
anti-Christians, nor that specialists in the period disregard him. What
you didn't like was that Michael Tinkler and I were able to e-mail
scholars and recall our own grad school experiences and felt confident
in relying on them.
As for ignoring church-critical positions, that's nonsense -- primarily
because for the most part those positions did not occur for the time
periods in question. As Jeff Russell put it so nicely, the history of
the Western Church is one of Prophecy and Order -- or of actual
spiritual belief tied in with the fallacies of human administration,
administration constantly subject to both corruption and reform. That
reform was within a very narrow context, however. Except for a fairly
small Jewish population, Europe as Roman Christian. While people may
have wished to reform the habits of the clergy, no one ever thought of
himself as anything other than a Christian. Even groups like the
Albigensians thought of themselves as good Christians -- there were, in
effect, no church-critical positions in the sense of there being an
option to Roman Christianity. To say so is disingenuous, and to think
so plainly idiotic. Moreover, historians generally try to avoid
judging, because what we want to do is explain how people thought and
felt at the time. What you seem to want is articles that condemn
certain practices of the Church, and you argue that to not condemn them
is to be relativistic. You can condemn them all you want, but doing
so in a 'pedia article is POV, and implying that such criticism existed
at the time is anachronistic and inaccurate.
I still find your following statements from the Inquisition talk page
remarkable: "What happened to NPOV? Yes, the Inquistions[sic] to us are
pretty scary, but could we please try to remember that, to the vast
majority of people living at the time of the first two Inquisitions
discussed in this article, heresy was a BAD thing. Heresy existed, and
not because of some conspiracy by Authority[sic]. Heretics not only went
to hell, but their very presence in society put others at risk. At
least, that's how your average medieval Christian would see it. CONTEXT
IS IMPORTANT." That's cultural relativism at its best -- let's turn
cause and effect around until they no longer are recognizable. I can
live with this view being *represented*, but I can not accept it being
*presented* as if it was NPOV. If this is still your understanding of
NPOV, it is deeply flawed.
What I said above. And please just stop. It's silly. We are not, for
example, talking about people in the modern world who participated in
genocide and trying to say, "well, in those times, everybody felt that
way" -- because that's patently untrue because the modern world is one
where people are generally able to try on different world views and
defend them. The medieval world view was pretty narrow and relatively
uniform. Next, you'll say that we should write articles that imply that
Ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Hebrews,
etc., were morally flawed because they took other people's lands and
held slaves. The idea that these things were wrong would not have
occurred to people in these societies -- they were integral parts of
them (some more than others). Right and wrong don't really come into it
for historians -- instead, we look at the part slavery played in those
societies and the nature of slavery in those societies -- and we do it
neutrally, objectively, because that's our job.
Because of this relativism from interested parties, it will be a lot of
work to add, for example, accurate information about the books of the
Bible and their individual history, the historical person of Jesus,
persecution of pagans and destruction of temples and libraries,
Christian book burnings and censorship, medieval fakery, Christian
anti-Semitism, Christian anti-scientism, church attempts to destroy
knowledge about contraception, modern church support for dictatorships
and mass murder etc. etc. The long historical tradition that correctly
views the Dark Ages as dark is not accurately represented on Wikipedia.
Your alleged expertise is not an argument. It may be an argument in
Larry's world, but it is not here. Modern medievalism in particular is
often an attempt to "invent the Middle Ages", as Norman Cantor, a
medievalist himself, called it. I am happy that the NPOV policy will
make this impossible in the long term.
Horseshit. The fact is, Erik, that you have a vested interest in
presenting things in what you call a church-critical perspective. But
there is a difference between thinking critically and judging critically
and presenting information critically, and what you want, which is to
present articles that make the Christian church out to be the unilateral
bad guy. FYI, when I teach the history of the Church, which I often do,
I start with Jesus as a Jew, discuss (using documents from the time) the
changes of treatment of Jews and Christians by the Romans, and discuss
the fact that Christianity was only one of many minor mystery cults for
quite a long time. The students are ready for this anyway, because
they've read other resurrection myths -- they also learn that the
Gospels were not written by people who knew Jesus, and that there were
Gospels that were thrown out -- and that early Christians fought very
hard to define doctrine. When we talk about the Middle ages, we talk
about the Crusades in all their less pleasant aspects, and in the Late
Middle Ages and Renaissance, we talk about the nature of the papacy and
the idea of papal monarchy. Articles on similar subjects should
mention the downside -- but in a way that leaves people thinking --
e.g., "the crusades were done in the name of God, yet thousands of
people, including Christians, are killed by the crusaders -- wow! How
could they reconcile those things?" Historians give the information to
answer those questions, but we don't say whether we think the answers
were good or bad. Another, shorter example: My class reads a lot of
primary source documents having to do with women in society -- One of
the things that I try to teach is that "women were treated unfairly" is
not an objective statement, and not neutral BUT "the evidence indicates
that Athenian women were considered less important and had fewer legal
rights than men" IS valid.
Oh -- and my expertise in being a professional historian isn't alleged.
And the dig at Larry was not very nice.
Finally, I have no interest in taking anything off-line. You have just
managed to remind me of why I stopped contributing. For that, I thank
A contributor wrote:
If you want to take personal attacks to the list, I can do that.
I'm not naming any names, but if the shoe fits, would you kindly leave it outside? You can have a nice warm pair of slippers and sit down on this big comfy chair. Would you like some hot cocoa? How about some cookies? ^_^
1) Yes, Erik is Eloquence, and has been involved in many edit wars on
subjects which he has little expertise.
2) More importantly, what IS the problem? Clutch, we don't know each
other, but you cannot NOT mention Wagner's anti-Semitism. It may have
had little to do with his music, but Wagner very influential in the rise
of German nationalist thought (of the more conservative to extreme
type). Whether or not Wagner himself had anything to do with it, one
cannot discuss him without at least mentioning the affinity Hitler had
for his music -- the Ring cycle especially, as an ur-German saga...
3 )An historian might deal with this by saying something like, "Wagner
is seen by many to have been anti-Semitic, or at least to have supported
the idea of anti-Semitism This belief is generally based on one of
Wagner's own works [insert name here], in which he describes the Jews
as..." In this was, no one is labeling or falsely accusing anybody of
anything -- just offering a generally held conclusion and the basis
therefore. Speaking of which, I hope there is something similar in the
article about that nice Mr. Luther...
Erik, are you Eloquence? I'm a bit confused about who everyone is.
Anyway, I have unprotected the [[Richard Wagner]] page as promised, since Jimbo answered the question about NPOV.
And if anyone wants me to stop being a sysop because of this, well, let me just point out that no one seemed to mind the page block when it stopped Jonathan (aka Clutch). In fact, this is the first objection I've heard in a long time (months ^_^).
I will do whatever it takes to make peace, but if I'm told to back off then I'll just let there be war.
I will do as I'm told, as always :-)
your humble servant,
Hi All -- I think I just froze this page, since I think it needs a time
out -- I don't really know if I did it correctly, though, because In all
the time I've been here (and gone), I've never actually used my sysop
admin rights. There wasn't any kind of place to say why, so I'll leave
a message on the talk page. Hope I wasn't overstepping bounds, and
apologies If I have. Also, I realize I don't know how long this kind of
thing normally stays in place -- I'll go back in a couple of hours and
unlock it, if no one else has done so by then.
I think we should avoid mention of it unless there is something more particular that you have regarding this anti-semitism. Did Wagner write a song titled, "I hate the Jews, la la la lala" or did he write some paper, if so, what did he say in the paper?
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In this case, I think Eloquence is dead-on in his assessment of the
Wagner situation. The articles should be merged -- we cant just start
creating really lame sub-articles because a couple of people object to
including an unpleasant truth or two. The beauty of being literate is
that we should be able to create coherent wholes. Perhaps if there were
more about other aspects of his life, the anti-Semitism would not stand
out as much? His relationship with Cosima -- somewhat notorious at the
time, gets hardly a mention.
>5) Ed holds the position that, even if nobody disagrees with the fact that
>Wagner was an anti-Semite, it should be attributed, even if the attribution is
>something as fishy as "is universally regarded as".
Excuse me, but I do not hold this position. I actually have no opinion on Wagner or how we ought to refer to him.
While I was wrong to protect the page, what I did right was to ask publicly for a clarification of policy to settle the very question Erik thought I had a position on.