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Conservapedia:Burning the Evidence

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In-depth analysis
This page is about evidence-burning at Conservapedia. For discussion of the more general topic, see this article

Sometimes the administrators of Conservapedia become so drunk with power, and so thin-skinned, that they attempt to remove material that they find not to their liking. There are a few things to note about this practice:

  • The ability to edit articles in the main page space is the defining aspect of a wiki, and such editing often involves deletion. This is to be expected (though "revert wars" can sometimes be amusing to watch, especially when the participants are doctrinaire morons). However, it is generally considered to be a violation of wiki etiquette to delete material from a talk page. Talk pages are ongoing discussion journals. How offensive such deletions are depends on the context—It is particularly offensive to delete anything from another user's talk page.
  • Because of the way wiki software works, especially the MediaWiki software that is used by Wikipedia, Conservapedia, and RationalWiki, mere deletion of material from any page, main space or talk, does not irreversibly remove it from the historical record. To achieve the degree of perfidy of Orwell's Memory Holes, more drastic measures are required. Such activity is called "deep burning". It is frequently practiced on Conservapedia.

The deletion, by person A, of material from person B's talk page, that had been placed there by person C, is a particularly flagrant violation of Wiki etiquette and of common-sense respect for the principles of free speech. And yet, sysops sometimes burn material in other sysops' talk pages. A legendarily flagrant case of this was the deletion, by Conservapedia sysop TK, of an open letter from AmesG (that's right, our User:AmesG!) from sysop SharonS's talk pageimg. Apparently some sysops are "real" and some are just impressionable teenage girls that need to be protected from the real world.


Shallow Burning on Conservapedia[edit]

Because deletion of embarrassing material is so common on Conservapedia, when we at RationalWiki point to foolishness over there (see, for example, all the articles in Conservapedia:What_is_going_on_at_CP), we routinely point to a "diff" from the CP edit history. Whenever something is "shallow burned", the deletion is visible in the edit history. When you want to cite such a thing in an RW entry, do the following:

Go to the edit history and look around. It might look, in part, like this:
  1. (cur) (last) 10:15, 25 October 2007 TK (Talk | contribs) (?Drop outs)
  2. (cur) (last) 10:13, 25 October 2007 TK (Talk | contribs) (?Not Fond of the Main Page Color)
  3. (cur) (last) 09:26, 25 October 2007 Maestro (Talk | contribs) m (?Drop outs)
  4. (cur) (last) 09:26, 25 October 2007 Maestro (Talk | contribs) (?Not Fond of the Main Page Color)
  5. (cur) (last) 09:17, 25 October 2007 BethanyS (Talk | contribs)
Clicking on "last" will show the changes between that version and the one before. Clicking on the date and time (e.g. "09:26, 25 October 2007" will show that specific version. Clicking on "contribs" will show what other foolishness that person has been engaged in lately.

If you are writing something for RW or elsewhere, and you want to cite a specific individual version, such that it will not be subject to shallow burning, click on the individual version time/date, and, when that version comes up in your browser, copy and paste the URL from the browser's URL window.

A URL pointing to a specific version in this way is called a "permalink". We use them extensively at RW for our citations of Conservapedia Craziness.

If you want to cite a difference (say, a particularly moronic deletion of embarrassing information), click on the "(last)" link for the change (or use the more sophisticated "Compare selected versions" feature), and when the appropriate "diff" page comes up, copy and paste the URL as before.

As a further precaution, take the permalink and preserve it at . As of January 2018, there are 995 pages captured there.[note 1]

Deep-burning on Conservapedia[edit]

Particularly embarrassing material is sometimes "deep burned".

Page deletion[edit]

The simplest way that sysops can do this is simply to delete the entire page. Its edit history (or "fossil record", as we say here at RW) goes into the memory hole. A common place that this is done is with personal user pages and user talk pages. New users often ask embarrassing questions (funny how that happens!), and such users are often quickly banned, and turned into "unpersons" by having their user pages and talk pages permanently deleted. Such users are often naive about this practice, and engage in their embarrassing discussions on their own talk pages.

Savvy operators know about this, and do their work on pages that can't simply be deleted, such as the talk pages for important topics such as Talk:Main Page or Talk:Examples of bias in Wikipedia, or on sysop's own personal talk pages, such as User Talk:TK.

However, in recent times, even important personal talk pages have been deep burned. On October 27, 2007, Jallen/Niandra burned Andrew Schlafly's own talk page. This was repeated on March 3, 2008 under the Newspeak term "routine cleaning". We are attempting to recover the lost data for you.

Conservative's shout-outs[edit]

In the single biggest page burning event, Conservative deleted his shout out to PZ Myers. To cover up this whole embarrassing incident, he deleted the Atheism talk page, Public Awarness of the Atheism Article, and then, in a blatant act of overreacting, the big pages themselves: Talk:Mainpage and the right and left mainpage templates all with out their history.

Fortunately a piece of censorship this large would not stand and Philip J. Rayment restored the pages with their history [2] [3] [4] [5].

This event highlighted how far some of the sysops will go to hide their own screw ups.

Bogus archiving[edit]

The more evil sysops (TK was a particularly egregious practitioner of this) will use MediaWiki's page-move feature to relocate the talk page to an archive, and then delete the archive. Archiving moves the material and its edit history over to another page. Operators who have nothing to hide often use this feature to keep the discussions on talk pages to a manageable length, while moving out-of-date material to another location. But, at Conservapedia, there is a more sinister use.

Because of this, the friendly elves at RationalWiki periodically make copies of vulnerable CP pages.

For example, at 20:31 on 24 October 2007, sysop TK "archived" the talk page for Richard Dawkins, on which there had been some interesting discussion. (Briefly, Andy Schlafly, and the other powers that be, are stark raving nuts. But you could have guessed that.) The edit histories for the archived material involved a lot of Shallow Burning, that permalinks could have shown. Those edits were compressed out, so the archived versions show only the final results. Fortunately, we have saved the version of the page at 09:32 20 Oct 2007 Conservapedia:Burning_the_Evidence/DawkinsTalk0932_20Oct07. We apologize for the incompleteness of this, and are working on more effective means of closing the memory hole.

Instant incineration on Conservapedia[edit]

Recently installed oversight extensions to the Mediawiki software have made it possible to obliterate individual edits conveniently, permanently, and in a way that casual observers might not notice, without the inconvenient, heavy-handed, and obvious practice of deep-burning. Individual versions can be expunged from the history. This requires a high level of authority called "oversight" (even higher than "administrator"), and the practice is called "oversighting". Because oversight privileges are so great, very few CP sysops are entrusted with this. The few sysops at CP that have this power are generally among the less psychopathic (other than Andy and Karajou) ones. They seem to be, as of this writing: Andy, PJR, DeanS, Karajou, Jallen and CPWebmaster[1]. However, TK has recently been granted oversight privileges as well. Unlike other forms of burning, oversighting doesn't leave any logs or traces visible to non-oversighters, so it is very hard to see if the above have used their privileges without painstakingly checking diffs.

The practice of instant incineration apparently became widespread at Conservapedia around 13 March 2009. We are developing technical means to ferret out, and make available to our readers, the information that "the encyclopedia that does not censor" censors.

Examples of burning on Conservapedia[edit]

There are quite a number of talk pages of higher-than-average controversy in their content, that Conservapedia folks routinely delete material from. They do this even though wiki tradition holds that this should not be done save for libelous or otherwise legally actionable items, a principle familiar to people living in nations with a tradition of free speech.

For your convenience, we have saved some of them from any future deep burning and presented them in easy-to-peruse format. We have omitted trivial changes and deletions that are justifiable as repair of clear vandalism.

Items that are deep-burned are often harder to track down and present to you, but we do our best. The practice of deep burning on Conservapedia is reserved for the most embarrassing topics, of course.

We have saved some examples of burned material in the next few paragraphs. Some of these have only been shallow-burned at this time, but could be deep-burned at any time. Some items are on the boundary between the two—even though the deceitful archiving has taken place, the original page has not had its history deleted. This means that, with some effort, the burned material can be seen.

FBI-related material[edit]

Not surprisingly, issues surrounding the FBI Incident are among the most thoroughly burned. It seems that, at 01:19 on 2 November 2007, TK deleted all the content of the talk page for the FBI itself and then deleted and recreated the page itself. (Deleting the content is shallow, of course. Deleting and recreating the entire page is deep—the edit history disappears.) He then helpfully edited back into the recreated page a small amount of material from the original page, from 6 weeks earlier, that he considered harmless.

Fortunately, we have saved much of the burned material here.

Gun control talk page[edit]

The talk page for gun control has been a burn magnet for much of late 2008. Partly because, like so many pages, it's full of garbage, and partly because, well, like the FBI incident, it's viral. In fact, the go-around of December 2008 involved a paragraph being shallow-burned (at last count) 13 times. This is more than the amount of mayhem that got the FBI Incident page started, but that was at a more innocent time. Sassing CP is now a much bigger industry.

In any case, Philip J. Rayment appears poised to archive the talk page, at a moment when the interesting material appears to be absent. To ameliorate the loss from such an unfortunate occurrence, we have saved it here.

Conservapedia commandments talk page[edit]

In late February to early March of 2009, an issue arose on the commandments talk page (don't bother looking) about whether various edits to Conservapedia constitute a violation of 18 USC 1030, the federal law against tampering with ("hacking") computers used in commerce, defense, and government functions. The powers that be insist that editing Conservapedia does indeed fall within the scope of this statute, a claim which apparently rests on whether the CP servers are "protected", which in turn depends on whether they are used in the "communications" industry. Needless to say, there are those who dispute this contention, and, needless to say, the CP sysops are hard at work deleting such expressions. A large deletion took place on 2 March, 2009, just prior to archiving the entire page and then deleting its content. This of course had the effect of making the removed material hard to find, though the talk page itself has not actually been deleted, so this isn't really a "deep burn". Nevertheless, we have saved the page here.

PNAS reply talk page[edit]

The discussion of PNAS's reply to Andy's letter claiming malfeasance in the Lenski study (see Lenski affair) became quite a raucous brawl. The amount of burning that took place is positively legendary. This may be because Andy's claims of expertise were so transparently outlandish, and so his dishonesty, stupidity, hubris, and thin skin were on display in such a big way. The fact that he went public with all this, sending a letter to the editors of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also helped.

The page at Conservapedia is here. It has not (yet) been deep-burned—one can still see the history. Another fine example of Schalfly's removal of content that pointed out flaws in his statistical reasoning, that would be rather difficult to refute.

Our annotated copy of the page, showing the full extent of the censorship, is here.

Catholic Views on Creation[edit]

Another fine example was on 18 September 2010 when a discussion on the WIGOCP talk page centered around a debate that Philip J. Rayment had with Andrew Schlafly regarding Catholicism and views on creation. Upon reading this TK deleted the page as "empty"img before bringing it back with the aforementioned discussion scrubbed away.img Luckily for us, Ace and trusty google cache were on the button and the original page can be found here.

Other burned pages that we have saved[edit]

User ForeverPeace was banned, came back as JeremyJCH, was abused further, and left this parting shot. It was deep-burned by Karajou at 23:20, 12 Feb 2009, with the comment "you are censored here, and your demands that we must be tolerant because we are Christian will not work."

Oxford English[edit]

The current entry uses "post" all over the place. It has been established before that at the University of Oxford post is frequently used instead of position. This is what the [ Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary] has to say on post:

4 [C] a job, especially an important one in a large organization SYN: position: an academic / government post * to take up a post * to resign (from) a post * We will be creating 15 new posts next year. * The company has been unable to fill the post. * He has held the post for three years. * She was offered a key post in the new government.

Since this is site with a focus on the US, it might be better to replace it by its synonym position. [[User:Order|Order]] 21:59, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

There is nothing confusing about the term "post" to Americans. It is not synonymous with professorship in America or England.
Is there general agreement here that Richard Dawkins has never been elected to a professorship based on the rigorous peer review ordinarily required?--Aschlafly 23:03, 12 October 2007 (EDT)
I'd have to say I disagree with you. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 23:45, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

No they are not synonyms, "post" is much more general. But why then the "quotes" in the entry, if it just means position?

If there is is general agreement that he was never elected? I guess no, because we got several notes from the university gazette showing that a board was appointed [], and that some time later Dawkins was officially granted the title of professor [6]. [[User:Order|Order]] 23:22, 12 October 2007 (EDT)

The reason "post" is in quotes is because so many liberals are disputing the facts about Richard Dawkins's credentials, and hence it is important to show the quotes. Why object to quotes unless you're trying to obscure its authenticity?
How do the "quotes" matter? If you want to argue that there is a difference between a lectureship and a professorship, or between a endowed and a departmental professorship. But what is the difference between a "post" and a post? [[User:Order|Order]] 03:54, 13 October 2007 (EDT)
Also, your July 1996 Gazette cite notes that some of the professorships (presumably Dawkins') are subject to this disclaimer: "The title of professor or reader has been conferred by the Distinctions Committee on the following. Please note that in a small number of cases the precise academic subject area in which the title is held is still under discussion."--Aschlafly 00:14, 13 October 2007 (EDT)
I did read the disclaimer, and it says exactly what you quoted, namely that the exact subject for some of the people on the list may still be under discussion. But not the title.
But your reference to the word "post" in [7], and the reference to the disclaimer in [] shows that you read both of these documents. I infer that you also read that a board was appointed, and that a few month later the distinction committee did grant Dawkins the title of professor.
The onus is now on you to show (1) that the disclaimer refers to Dawkins' position (2) that it matters (3) that there were grave irregularities in his appointment, from the moment that the board of electors was appointed, until his distinction as professor by the Distinction Committee. Both documents from the gazette are legal documents under UK law, so you need stronger evidence than a dictionary. Knowing these documents and sticking to the claims that is appointment fraudulent needs fairly good evidence, otherwise it may become a liability. Not sure that is what you are after, since you said before that you look forward to the day that Dawkins is shamed into admitting that his title is a fraud. [[User:Order|Order]] 03:54, 13 October 2007 (EDT)

Aschlafly: Why "presumably Dawkins'"? I notice that you cut short the gazette quote - it does indeed state that "in a small number of cases the precise academic subject area in which the title held is under discussion" however it also states that "any changes will be published separately when agreed." Since there is no record of any published amendment to Dawkins' faculty (and certainly not to his title), there is no doubt that both Dawkins' title and his faculty association still stand. Order is correct that – if you believe Dawkins' title is wrong - the onus is on you to show that the Distinction Committee's award has been revoked.

Since it seems clear that you have read at least some of the documentation I've pointed you to, I simply do not understand why the article continues to question Dawkins' professorial title – now largely by referring to a post which Dawkins was awarded prior to his Professorship. Once again, let me be absolutely clear about the errors in the article:

  1. The "post" cited in the article in paragraphs 2, 3, and 4, is that which Dawkins was given in [ clause 3 of the decree establishing the Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science]. This post was to be funded "on such terms and conditions as the Council and the General Board may determine." In [ October 1995 the General Board determined] that this post would be that of the Charles Simonyi Reader in the Public Understanding of Science. This post was in the Biological Sciences Faculty and the Continuing Education department, and not – as the article claims – in the Natural History Museum. Since this post is not the same as the professorial title Dawkins holds, the article is in error when it states "his "professorship" is actually described by Oxford as a "post"". The two are not the same.
  2. The professorial title that Dawkins now holds was later granted to him by the Distinctions Committee of Oxford University. The gazette makes it clear that this position was in the Biological Sciences faculty, so the article is in error when it states "in fact Dawkins' position is at the Museum of Natural History".
  3. The professorial title that Dawkins' holds was granted by the Distinctions Committee of Oxford University. The Distinctions Committee is the University's ultimate peer review body. Cases for consideration must first pass through a Divisional Board (a faculty-level peer review), and be refereed by a head of house (college), and head of department or faculty before even reaching the Distinctions Committee. When considering cases the Distinctions Committee's primary criterion for awarding a professorial title is "that research must be of outstanding quality, have led to a significant international reputation, and be comparable in distinction with that expected of a professor in other major research universities." The Committee also demands that "Where an applicant is a member of the academic staff of the University, he or she must have undertaken undergraduate and/or graduate teaching for the University, and for colleges, concomitant with the duties of the university post and of the college fellowship (where one is held), and such teaching must have been performed well." The current article is therefore in error when it states that "Dawkins was never subjected to the peer review process".
  4. Given the above, it is clear that Dawkins does indeed hold a (peer-reviewed) title of the highest academic rank, granted to him by Oxford University, an institution of higher education at which he is a faculty member. The article is therefore in error when it states that Dawkins "does not satisfy the Merriam-Webster definition of professor".

I hope the factual errors in this article can now be corrected OurMike 12:39, 13 October 2007 (EDT)

  • What is quite clear, OurMike, through your posts elsewhere, is that you can only engage in Liberal Deceit in inserting your demanded changes. The way to get support for your positions here, is to build [[consensus]] through networking, avoiding [[Liberal Hysteria]] and interacting with other editors to perpetrate deception to achieve your goals. If that is beyond you, perhaps because of limited intellectual ability, perhaps you should stick to those other places that value deceit and parody. So much of the arguing here is quibbling over semantics. Dawkins cannot be turned into a (excuse the pun) [[Saint]] by any stretch of scholarly thought. I invite you to actually contribute here, to this, the fastest growing educational site on the web, instead of merely engaging in never-ending debate and plotting subterfuge. Otherwise I am afraid I will soon be bidding you adieu. My contact information is posted on my page. --sysô?-?K/?????! 13:34, 13 October 2007 (EDT)

Positioning of Oxford Post[edit]

I propose to move the controversy over his Oxford post to the end of the article. --Ed Poor Talk 19:00, 13 October 2007 (EDT)


I've reviewed the above comments and do not see any errors in the entry. No specific errors have been identified. The claim above is false that "the article is in error when it states that "in fact Dawkins' position is at the Museum of Natural History." Dawkins' position is at the Museum of Natural History.

Richard Dawkins relies heavily on his claim of being a professor at Oxford University, and so the placement of the explanation of his "post" at Oxford should remain near the top of the entry. Thanks.--Aschlafly 23:50, 13 October 2007 (EDT)

I've reviewed the comments as well, and it looks like you're just ignoring the specific errors that have been identified. I see the article is locked now, so this is probably your final say. You do know that not every one of your readers is as stubborn as you when it comes to reinforcing one's own world view? You know that reasonable people are reading this whole discussion, and that most people have a limit to the amount of logical sacrifices they can make to make something true to them? I realize its your site and all, but I think you'd do it a great service if you learned to pick your battles. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 10:21, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
In other words, you can't identify any errors in the entry either, but you dislike criticism of Richard Dawkins' claim of credentials anyway.--Aschlafly 10:27, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Incorrect. As I stated, I read the comments and postings above, and can identify several errors. Furthermore, I dislike your criticism of Dawkins because it relies on these errors. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 10:44, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Your comment is not credible. If you could identify an error, then you would. Apparently you can't, but it's obvious that you dislike criticism of Richard Dawkins' claim of credentials.--Aschlafly 10:52, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
The comment is credible. I read the postings and links above, and formed my own conclusion. The errors identified by Order and OurMike are already listed. Please re-read the entire discussion, I will not list them again. Richard Dawkins' credentials are non-controversial. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 11:29, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
More to the point, you must realize that others are reading the postings, clicking the links, and perhaps learning more about the UK academic system than they cared to know in the first place. You must realize that they are also forming conclusions that differ from yours. Can you accept that given the evidence different readers will form different conclusions? --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 11:33, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

RD's spokesman wrote:

  • By 1994, Dawkins was distinctly overextended, his public career as elucidator of Darwinism putting pressure on his day job teaching biology at Oxford. If someone could be found to endow a professorship specifically devoted to promoting public scientific understanding, it would free up Dawkin's Zoology position for a full-time scholar and teacher. []

I guess this means he used to be a university teacher ("[[professor]]") but now enjoys a "[[professorship]]" devoted to PR. --Ed Poor Talk 11:39, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

No, Ed, you must've missed the briefing: Dawkins never was a professor and is not a professor. Don't be fooled by the fradulent claims he, Oxford University, and pretty much the rest of Planet Earth make. He only has "a post". =| --Jenkins 11:46, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Jenkins, you need to get out more if you think "pretty much the rest of Planet Earth" is fooled by Richard Dawkins. We're not fooled here and I doubt the real professors at Oxford University are fooled either.
Professorships require peer review, as explained by the citations in the entry. No one has been able to provide any evidence that Dawkins was promoted to become full professor based on a peer review by a specific academic department. Do you finally understand the point now??--Aschlafly 13:10, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
I think we cited plenty of sources from Oxford University itself where Dawkins is called the Professor of the Public Understanding of Science and not "that bloke who just got the money for the post of Public Understanding of Science". But fine, I'll grant you the Good Faith. Find me an Oxford University Professor who backs your claim that he is not a professor. Not just one who doesn't explicitly mentions the title. One who claims that Dawkins never was a professor and that Dawkins' claim is fradulent. So far, we've get plenty of sources that do call him Professor Dawkins, but not one that disputes this claim, aside from your interpretation of the events that happened there, mixed with selective ignoring of history around those sources.
I currently stand by my claim, and said claim is backed up by the OU Gazette, the Charles Simonyi Chair site, BBC, FOX News, Answers in Genesis, The Royal Society, [ Britannica], Christian Courier, Foundation for the Future, [ Washington Post], and and and. Where are your sources?
Do you understand now that all sorts of authority and the media disagree with your accusations??? --Jenkins 13:34, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
The Distinctions Committee of Oxford University was previously cited. You failed to indicate how that committee does not qualify your peer-review criteria, you only ignored it outright. We have yet to hear any commentary from you on what you believe the Distinctions Committee of Oxford University does or why that does not qualify as appropriate academic review. Furthermore, you have now claimed that the "real professors" (quotes to indicate your definition of professor, a significant detail) share your opinion. Can you back this up, or is this speculation? I challenged you earlier to consider how others would read this page and the conclusions they would draw about not only Dawkins' credentials, but your own motivations in keeping the falsehoods in the article. It's clear that many people who have posted here disagree with you, do you accept these conclusions as genuine, or something else? --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 13:40, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Here's an analogy: many graduate students earn Ph.D. degrees based on original scholarship. Some people get honorary Ph.D. degrees. The academic community makes a distinction between an "earned doctorate" and an honorary doctorate. The latter looks good when you're trying to impress regular folks, but if you want to wield academic clout, nothing beats an earned doctorate.

The question of Dawkins centers on whether he is a "real professor". In other words, what does his title mean? What does his post imply?

Atheists and materialists (and liberals in general) are fond of citing [[academic authority]] when they want to get political support for their absurd positions. The partisans of the [[global warming theory]] keep talking about peer reviewed articles in Nature and Science as if these were the be-all and end-all of scientific research. But there is plenty of falsehood in academia; see also [[Junk Science]]. --Ed Poor Talk 13:46, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Right, Ed. It's hilarious how atheists make such a big deal about peer review in criticizing material they dislike, but absolutely refuse to allow a criticism of their own based on lack of peer review.
In response to "Oppen1", the Distinctions Committee does not engage in peer review within an academic department. Get the point now? I know, you still want to give atheist Richard Dawkins a free pass and not subject him to the same scrutiny that you use for material you dislike.--Aschlafly 13:53, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Just to confirm: Andy, does your definition of "professor" explicitly demand peer review to qualify as a legitimate professorship? In other words, statutory professorships and professorial fellowships are not "real" professorships in your opinion? I am not criticizing, just clarifying. [[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] 14:01, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
I use the basic dictionary definition, which has already been quoted. That definition, and Oxford's own requirements for the professorship at issue here, implies peer review.
Feebasfactor, are you now suggesting that peer review doesn't matter for scholarship?? Funny how Dawkins' supporters emphasize peer review to criticize the other side, but seem to have a different standard for Dawkins himself.--Aschlafly 14:06, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
I'll spontaneously quote Oppen, who was apparently ignored:
The Distinctions Committee of Oxford University was previously cited. You failed to indicate how that committee does not qualify your peer-review criteria, you only ignored it outright. We have yet to hear any commentary from you on what you believe the Distinctions Committee of Oxford University does or why that does not qualify as appropriate academic review.
Comments? Oh, and I'm still waiting for your sources of other "real professors" who claim that Dawkins is not a prof. --Jenkins 14:09, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
I think it was widely covered whether Dawkins fits the dictionary definition of "professor", and the consensus (read: most people who participated, minus Andy) was that he fits whatever definition people could come up with, if I recall correctly. So unless you find a striking argument against the arguments made multiple times above, I would politely request that you find a source that says that Dawkins is not a "real professor". This is getting more and more like "I don't care what sources X, Y, and Z say - I think something else, and I don't want to admit he's a prof because it might give his position weight."
Right now, we're actually arguing whether Dawkins holds the title "Professor of etcetc". Nobody is implying that he uses that title to get "authority", and I have yet to see a source that says that Dawkins uses his title to claim authority.
What is your position on the issue at hand? Is Dawkins the first Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science? Does he hold that title and thus the right to call himself "professor"? --Jenkins 14:04, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, you continue to misrepresent me. I am not giving Dawkins "a pass" on his academic credentials, they are non-controversial after reviewing all appropriate documentation provided throughout this thread. That is my personal conclusion, and I hold it with confidence. The Distinctions Committee is responsible for awarding the title of professor at Oxford, according to the criteria listed on that page. Your definition and criteria for professorship are irrelevant, I dispute your selective definitions of terms to state who does and who doesn't get to be a professor at Oxford. You have yet to answer my original query - do you understand that individuals reading this discussion and reviewing the evidence will draw conclusions different than yours, define things like "professor" differently than you, and in general find your stubbornness to be an indictment against you and your project? --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 14:26, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Getting back to peer review for a moment - many people associate it with modern scientific practice of other scientists evaluating and checking a scientific claim. Such practices as running the same experiment in your own lab, to see of the results are reproducible.

But "peer review" is often nothing more than a few friends of the journal editor anonymously reading a scientific paper before publication. This is no guarantee of correctness; and rejection during peer review is not always an indication of poor work. Scientists are not saints: they have their prejudices, same as us normal folks. --Ed Poor Talk 14:16, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Ed, you are unaware how the peer review process works with academic journals. Normally, a journal editor receives an article submission and then sends it out (minus identifying information as to the authorship of the piece) to three to five readers who have some expertise regarding the article's subject. --McIntyre 14:30, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

So Ed, does that mean peer review is not necessarily the be-all and end-all, and is not always as important as it's made out to be? Wait, I'm not sure I understand what point you're making. I personally don't really know how important peer review is in regards to scholarship, but Andy implied that it is very important. I thought... is lack of peer review the basis on which his professorship is being contested here? [[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] 14:58, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
The exact words of our peer review article! (Yes, I knew that.) --Ed Poor Talk 15:27, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Yes...after you placed my words there. I just wanted to make sure you understood that, becuase you said earlier that "peer review" is often nothing more than a few friends of the journal editor anonymously reading a scientific paper before publication. Very clearly, that is not considered peer review.--McIntyre 15:45, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
By "often" I meant "far too often" (not "normally"). The peer review process can be abused, just like a box cutter (meant for opening packages) can be abused by airplane hijackers.
The point is that whether something has passed peer review or not, is not the gold standard for deciding whether it has scientific validity. Many true things are denied by scientists, and many false things are affirmed by them.
I expect as the 21st century grows old, the number of scientific errors (and outright frauds) will gradually diminish. The best way to help this along is to enable scientists to be aware of each other's work, and to encourage them to test theories and hypotheses with actual observations - without fear of academic reprisal, such as not having their research grants approved.
A major problem is that many sources of research money want certain results, and they won't pay for science which shows that what they want is impossible or untrue. Thus bias creeps in (or takes the palace by storm!) - but it doesn't have to be this way. We need to find a way to reward those who uncover the truth. --Ed Poor Talk 17:16, 14 October 2007 (EDT)


Are we to the point this can/should be re-opened? --sysô?-?K/?????! 14:36, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

I realise I'm not a frequent contributer here, but I propose the following text:
Richard Dawkins (March 26, 1941-) is an outspoken evolutionist and atheist from [[England]]. He was an assistant professor of Zoology at the [[University of California]] at Berkeley for two years before becoming a Zoology Reader at [[Oxford]].[2]. He is now the Simonyi Reader, and Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford,[3] a university chair endowed by Dr. Charles Simonyi to "engage in teaching related to the Public Understanding of Science" and to "promote the public understanding of science both within and outside Oxford."[4]
  1. [1]
  2. [ Richard Dawkins' Curriculum Vitae]
  4. [ § 270. Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science]
I'll let the more frequent contributers comment and mold as needed. Hopefully this is a start to ending the edit war. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 15:12, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Big improvement. Please rewrite the whole article! [[User:RSchlafly|RSchlafly]] 15:19, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Too bad the restatement above is false. The professorship is clearly defined as requiring the following peer review, and there is no evidence that Richard Dawkins passed such peer review:[1]
3. The professor shall be elected by a board of electors consisting of
(1) the Vice-Chancellor, or, if the head of the college specified in (2) of this clause is Vice-Chancellor a person appointed by Council;
(2) the head of the college to which the professorship shall be for the time being allocated by Council under any decree in that behalf, or, if the head is unable or unwilling to act, a person appointed by the governing body of the college;
(3) a person appointed by the governing body of the college specified in (2) of this clause;
(4), (5) two persons appointed by Council, one of whom shall be appointed after consultation with the benefactor;
(6) a person appointed by the General Board;
(7) a person appointed by the Board of the Faculty of Biological Sciences;
(8) a person appointed by the Board of the Faculty of Physical Sciences;
(9) a person appointed by the Committee on Continuing Education.
Assuming he never passed the above peer review, Dawkins likely holds a merely "post". The Gazette summary has a disclaimer implying that it is not based on a peer review faculty vote, which appears to be the case for Dawkins.--Aschlafly 15:57, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
What brings you to assume that the faculty vote on his professorship didn't happen? Which rules were broken if they followed the establishing act? Is the establishing act itself a violation of the rules? And do you have evidence for that?[[User:Order|Order]] 20:16, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
This site's peer review artilce deals with academic publications, not the awarding of a professorship. Why don't you just admit that you simply dislike Dawkin's ideas? With all the evidence that has been cited and linked above, it is clear at this point (and to the rest of the world at large) that Richard Dawkins is a professor.--McIntyre 16:05, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Read the link again: § 270. Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science . That link indicates that Dawkins did not go through the peer review required for this professorship. Maybe you want to call him "professor" anyway, which you have a free speech right to do, but we're factual here and the link is clear.--Aschlafly 16:11, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
The linked act marks the start of the process, and the announcement of the distinction committee the outcome. Do you have any evidence for the time in-between? Because the decision by the distinction committee also gives Dawkins the right to call himself a professor. [[User:Order|Order]] 20:16, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
It seems you've created in your own head a set of criteria for professorship specifically designed to exclude Richard Dawkins, based on your own desire to discredit him. We call him a professor at Oxford because Oxford awarded the title. This is fact. You are trying to claim that professor means something else, and we're calling you on it. Quite simply, your definition of "professor" is not fact, it's your own opinion. You don't get to make up definitions, expect Oxford, Dawkins and the rest of the world read your mind, then accuse him of fraud. We're trying to have a society here! --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 17:34, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

So if Dawkins did not go through the peer review process, and this process was required for his professorship, then - Dawkins does not fulfill the requirements of the Simonyi Professorship, which was [ "set up with the express intention that its first holder should be Richard Dawkins."]

Is that correct? [[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] 16:44, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Isn't that exactly the same question that was already addressed in Dawkins post - confusion resolved? --Jenkins 17:04, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
The link is clear: § 270. Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science
No one holds the Simonyi Professorship unless he goes through the peer review process specified in detail in the above link. Because Richard Dawkins has apparently not gone through the specified peer review process, he merely holds a "post" as explained by the link. This is not something a committee or secretary or publisher of a Gazette can alter on their own.--Aschlafly 17:40, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
The acts in the gazette are legally binding documents. You say that he apparently did not follow the guidelines. Do you have proof? Why did the distinction committee give him the title? And do you have evidence for this? [[User:Order|Order]] 20:16, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
The current Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science is Richard Dawkins. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 18:08, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
You have no evidence for stating that Dawkins did not go through the peer review process specified above. The evidence that he did is that he was awarded the professorial title by the Distinctions Committee, as was reported in the University's official gazette, which is the organ of record for all such awards. The Distinctions Committee is the ultimate peer review body of the University, which considers professorial titles after they have gone through faculty and departmental review. This has been gone through in detail several times already in these pages. OurMike 18:32, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Hi Andy, you frequently asked for a error, and there are many errors. Like that the museum isn't part of the university, like that Dawkins is not the Simonyi professor. You have admitted to have read the document establishing the professorship, and the document granting the title of professor to Dawkins, both legal documents under UK law.

You main argument is that you cannot see that the documents contradicts the claim that he isn't a professor, and you have proven this to be true: you really cannot see that this contradicts the claim that he isn't the professor. Of course it is your right to do so. However, this says in the end more about you than about the professorship.[[User:Order|Order]] 20:16, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Folks, I don't see how the Distinctions Committee has the power to change the charter of the professorship quoted above. If someone has information that the Distinctions Committee has such overreaching power, then let's see it. Otherwise, accept the above-quoted definition of the professorship as requiring the enumerated peer review. Thanks.--Aschlafly 20:57, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Exactly, we have no evidence that the distinction committee has overreaching power. And you didn't present any either. From the fact that the committee granted the title to Dawkins, we have to assume that everything went according to the books. If you have proof that the distinction committee overreached its power and broke the rules, give it. [[User:Order|Order]] 00:03, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
The charter of the Simonyi professorship is proof enough. It states the requirements of the professorship, and the Biological Sciences and Distinctions Committee lack that power. One or both of those entities acted beyond their authority, or perhaps did not act at all in light of the disclaimer in the Gazette. Apparently no future notice of the professorship was printed, suggesting that the professorship has not been properly filled to this day.--Aschlafly 00:30, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
No, the charter is not proof enough. You have to show that someone violated the charter, or other rules. The disclaimer just states that the subject of for some may not have been defined yet. There are about 50 names on that list. It maybe Dawkins, it maybe someone else, it may be nobody. You are claiming that the distinction committee acted beyond their authority. Do you have proof for that? Because you accuse Oxford University or an Committee within Oxford University of fraud, and you should have proof for such an allegation. [[User:Order|Order]] 01:54, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, give this up. You're not helping yourself at this point. The Distinctions Committee has the power to change the charter? Overreaching power? Enumerated peer review? You're twisting yourself around the axle, deliberately misunderstanding Oxford policy to support your stubborn notion. Oxford calls him a professor, he is a professor. You have not cited one source questioning his credentials, it is all your own synthesis. And I said it before and I'll say it again, you're deliberately twisting this to support your conclusion so you can call him "a fraud" in your article.
At this point, I think you know perfectly well that Dawkins' credentials are not controversial. I think you made a mistake by claiming that he's a fraud because you simply didn't understand how Oxford academic credentials work. You would have corrected it, but since some "liberal" pointed it out, you dug your heels in and convinced yourself you can argue anything. Your control over this site has given you this hubris that you're invincible in debate with anyone you care to label a "liberal."
Andy, I'd love to have a true "conservative" encyclopedia. This article is so typical of the shrill, polemical discourse that I see all over this site, all over the evening political talk shows, all over internet blogs. We have enough of that, please try and do something different. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 21:28, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, if you look at the preponderance of evidence, it is clear that Dawkins is a professor. So why not just admit that he is? I assume you will ask for more "proof," but at this point it would simply be redundant. Either you did not read the links provided above, or you did not understand what you were reading, or maybe you did not want to.--McIntyre 22:10, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Okay, since no one is interested in editing the article, and having the page open, as I asked at the beginning of the sub head, I will leave it locked. --sysô?-?K/?????! 23:19, 14 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy is involved in the discussion, and unless he agrees to change something nothing will change. And if he agrees he can edit or unlock it himself. No objection. [[User:Order|Order]] 00:03, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Well, seems it was okay for Conservative to make wholesale changes, so I have opened the article. I don't see Andy posting no changes can occur, and he is as capable as anyone else of reverting whatever is inserted without foundation. --sysô?-?K/?????! 01:03, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
I meant to say that nothing will change on the parts that are contended. Conservative adds mostly quotes by others on Dawkins, and as long they did say it, there nothing wrong about the quotes. It sure makes the article rather verbose, like the atheism article, but that is just an matter of style. [[User:Order|Order]] 01:31, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Well, if you are happy with it as it is enjoy! I am certainly happy you like it. Although not the most intelligent person contributing here by far, I don't need to be told 20 times how bad or wrong someone is. Perhaps a young child might, but not me. I prefer to actually learn something about the man, other than he is merely a cheater or opportunistic rules bender. I would prefer my references, on line or off, to actually inform me, preferably in their words, and in a detailed manner, what and why they think as they do. I have my Priest and the Holy Bible to tell me what is morally wrong. --sysô?-?K/?????! 06:02, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
The fact that you unprotected the article is admirable, but the problem here is that it's still practically protected: If we take out Andy's wild claims (ah, I see that the bit claiming that "the most productive scientists, from Isaac Newton to Louis Pasteur, were devout Christians" is back again, too), we will be reverted, and if we alter/delete/move/reduce Conservative's... er... "let's quote everything that we can twist into something negative about Dawkins" orgy, we will be reverted, too. Oh, and positive things about Dawkins will be twisted into something negative and then moved to the bottom (see: Royal Society).
People tried for more than a week (or maybe even weeks?) to edit the article regarding Andy's claims, and they were all reverted. People tried for a long time to edit in Conservative's Atheism article (among others), and they were reverted.
So the article looks unprotected, but as long as Conservative and Andy wield their special powers to "win" content discussions (by being stubborn while having the authority to revert infinitely without being told off) and to effectively claim ownership of the article, there is nothing we can do, really. At this point, this article merely represents the views and opinions of Andrew Schlafly and whatever "Conservative"'s real name is. --Jenkins 11:10, 15 October 2007 (EDT)


Richard Dawkins is not a Simonyi professor unless he passed the peer review election procedure by the board of electors as identified above. No such election by the required board has been published in the Oxford Gazette. Case closed.--Aschlafly 23:56, 14 October 2007 (EDT)

Richard Dawkins is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science. The official web page for the seat lists him as such [8] and his name appears as "Professor Richard Dawkins" several times in the gazette. [9] Your assertion that he must pass a "peer review election procedure by the board of electors" and see it "published in the Oxford Gazette" is an invention by you, and only you. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 00:36, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

The announcement of the distinction committee, as published in the gazette, is the official announcement that Dawkins holds the title professor legitimately. Indeed that closes the case, unless there is proof that the distinction committee acted illegally. [[User:Order|Order]] 01:28, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

Can I propose a simple addition to the text suggested above to close off this particular point?

...He is now the Simonyi Reader, and Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford,[2] a university chair endowed by Dr. Charles Simonyi to "engage in teaching related to the Public Understanding of Science" and to "promote the public understanding of science both within and outside Oxford."[3] The legitimacy of the process that led to this appointment has been criticised by [enter name here]. [4 - enter relevant citation] [[User:Ferret|-- Ferret]] [[User talk:Ferret|<sub>Nice old chat</sub>]] 05:59, 15 October 2007 (EDT)


The continued, strident refusal by liberals and atheists to accept the plain facts about Richard Dawkins' "post" is remarkable. It demonstrates that atheism is not simply disbelief in the unseen, but also leads to rejection and denial of incontrovertible seen facts that they dislike.--Aschlafly 12:28, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

Just out of curiosity, according to your estimate, was there anybody who participated in this discussion and who did not accept the plain "facts" not a liberal or atheist? [[User:Order|Order]] 12:42, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Aschlafly, I'm not a liberal or an atheist and I think that Order and the others are correct. Dawkins has a professorship which was confirmed by a committee. Right now, claiming otherwise is just making Conservapedia look bad. [[User:SkipJohnson|SkipJohnson]] 12:58, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
I am neither a liberal nor an atheist and I think this article is just plain wrong. Reads like it was written by a lawyer ;-) [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 14:00, 15 October 2007 (EDT) please don't ban me!
Really?? Funny how neither of you say what you are. Perhaps a "progressive" like ... Hillary Clinton???--Aschlafly 14:03, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Like many people, I'm simply not easy to pigeon-hole. That's not deliberate, it's just the way things are. It's a bit like Christopher Hitchens being a neocon and a militant atheist at the same time. I have liberal views on some things, conservative views on others. I'm not a Creationist but nor am I an atheist. It's quite normal and I see no conflict. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 14:09, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Hillary Clinton, [[Ted Kennedy]], John Kerry, etc., all say the same thing. Trouble is, all support censorship of prayer in the classroom and taxpayer-funded abortion, which reveals their hostility to religion and God's image. How about you?--Aschlafly 16:25, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Why bother to respond to this silly deflection intended to take the focus off of Aschlafly's painfully distorted reading of Dawkin's title? This is simply another casting of "if you disagree with me you are a atheist and a liberal" --- just more nonsensical blather from the smear-meister of Convervapedia, the national enquirer of the internet. [[User:RedDC|RedDC]] 19:05, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
The continued, strident refusal by you, and only you, to accept something as simple as a professorial title in the face of overwhelming evidence, is remarkable. You finally came around to accepting that there exists, at Oxford, an endowed professorship seat, and then concocted a byzantine piece of "proof" that must exist for us to jump through hoops and go fetch. Your attempt to add this burden is entirely unreasonable, given the fact that numerous sources list him as holding the chair, and you have yet to list even one contradicting it. This whole thing exists only in your head.
The truth is, this isn't about Dawkins anymore. Dawkins has more academic and scientific honors than a dog has fleas, his current title is only a piece of that. This is about you, and your insistence that his professorship is a fraud, a claim made by you and only you. Dawkins' credibility is not in question here - it's yours. I asked you before to consider what any random person of free mind and free will, will think after reading this discussion page. Ask yourself, when you say outlandish things like "The Simonyi chair is not filled, Richard Dawkins is not the Simonyi Professor, case closed, etc," and someone clicks the link to [ The Simonyi Professorship Home Page] and sees in bright cheery text "The Chair was founded in 1995, by a donation from Dr Charles Simonyi. It is currently held by Professor Richard Dawkins and based at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History" what conclusion would they draw about you? What conclusion would they draw about your project? When confronted with overwhelming evidence, your reaction is to dodge our challenge to prove this controversy exists anywhere else but your mind, revert to name calling, then tangent on to Hillary and school prayer. Your tactics are as transparent. Everyone who visits can read all this and think for themselves, how many people do you think actually buy it? --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 19:07, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
The parents of his students should read this page to get an idea of what slop he's teaching, his seemingly pathological dishonesty, his obnoxious habit of projection, and his complete lack of credibility. 19:25, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Aschlafly, to respond to your question re. Clinton, Kennedy, etc. I don't support censorship of prayer in the classroom but at the same time I don't support the imposition of it either. (My kids go to a private Catholic school so it's part of their educational experience. However, the school would never dream of teaching creationism in a science class - that would be illegal and against school doctrine. The inerrant biblical view is but one view in divinity classes. I'm happy with this). I believe it's OK to have tax-funded abortion in certain circumstances such as rape or high risk of death of the expectant mother. Tax-funded abortion should be avoided in other cases. I hope that answers your question. I don't know what that makes me according to you! According to me, it makes me neither a liberal nor an atheist.
To put this into perspective regarding this article, I disagree with your assertions about Dawkins' professorship simply because I interpret the evidence differently than you. I would much rather you turned your considerable skills to attacking the manifest problems in his views and his writing rather than on the man himself. His professorship is a red herring. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 08:17, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
In response to Ajkgordon's statement, "I don't support censorship of prayer in the classroom but at the same time I don't support the imposition of it either," I ask his this: do you object to a teacher in a public school leading the class in prayer? This isn't rocket science and there is no need to duck this basic and simple question.--Aschlafly 18:29, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Well, give me a chance to answer the question before you suggest I might be avoiding it!
Short answer, probably not.
Long answer... it's a bit more complicated than that, isn't it? Where I live (France) it is illegal for state/public schools to have any mention or symbolism of religion. As that principle is engrained into the fabric of society and I chose to live here, then I can't really object to that. But we send our kids to a private Catholic school which does have prayer. Indeed they all did their catechism and confirmation through the school.
But would I object in the country I came from (UK) where it's common practice to have morning prayers after roll call in state schools? Again, no, and I didn't. It's part of the culture there.
I hope that answers your question and allows you to believe that I am neither a liberal nor an atheist. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 12:27, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
No, it doesn't address the simple question above: "do you object to a teacher in a public school leading the class in prayer?" Your manner of ducking the question confirms that you probably have some hostility to faith. Much as you try to appear neutral on that issue, the reality is that nearly everyone is either supportive of faith or hostile towards it. The above question about a teacher leading a class in prayer reveals the hostility in the answers.--Aschlafly 23:34, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
The short answer is: He doesn't. And assessment that he is hostile to faith doesn't go well with the fact that he sends his kids to catholic school. BTW: What is relevance of [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] position on school prayer for the events that led the distinction committee to grant Dawkins' the title? [[User:Order|Order]] 02:22, 18 October 2007 (EDT)
There is none. Distraction is a normal Andy Schlafly tactic when he is losing a debate as seen here. []--McIntyre 08:01, 18 October 2007 (EDT)
What nonsense. I show no hostility to faith in my answer. I thought my answer was pretty straight forward actually - I was simply putting it in context. To repeat:
No, I wouldn't object except in special circumstances.
Special circumstances being something like a Muslim leading prayers at a school with a Christian student population, or vice-versa.
And I backed that up by stating that I didn't object when my kids were at state school and prayers were said. But that I can't object where I live now because it simply doesn't happen.
As you said, it's not rocket science. Straight question, straight answer. You might not want to accept it because you can't equate a non-atheist non-liberal arguing against your obsession with Dawkins' alleged fraudulent professorship.
But as someone else said, this is a distraction. You maintain that anyone arguing against your stance on his professorship must be an atheist liberal.
Wrong. People are objecting here because we think the accusation is false and efforts would be much more effective in arguing against Dawkins' views and methods.
For the record, I find writers like Dawkins and Hitchens damaging to the causes of religion and science. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 08:36, 18 October 2007 (EDT)
OK, I accept your answer, though note that beginning a class with a prayer (e.g., science or history class) is different from your repeated example of prayers generally being said at a state school (i.e., not at the beginning of a specific class).
I'm confident that User:Order and User:McIntyre (see above) would object to a public school teacher beginning a class with a prayer. But don't expect them to admit it.--Aschlafly 17:41, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
Thanks, but I can only respond based on experience or likely experience. State schools in the UK often have prayers at "Assembly", i.e. a school get together after roll call and before the first class. If I was still living in the UK and my kids' school had a teacher who wanted to lead the class in prayers before a lesson, then I can't see why I would object - unless it was causing a conflict with students of another faith. Having said that I would object to Creationism or ID being taught in science class. But that would be very unlikely to happen in the UK (except a handful of faith schools) and impossible in France.
The difference between a US and a European perspective is very interesting. There is not much cross-over between religion and education in Europe (outside divinity classes) whereas it's a major contentious issue in the US. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 17:57, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
Ajkgordon, you're sliding back on your earlier acceptance of teacher-led prayer in the classroom. Now you merely say that "can't see why I would object - unless it was causing a conflict with students of another faith." Suppose one student, an atheist, did object? Do you then object also??? Also, you seem to contradict yourself now by saying you would oject if a teacher taught Creationism or ID in science class. How can a prayer be OK with you, but ID not? Do you object to ID even if that is what all the parents and students wanted? I can see that when all is said and done, you'll object to prayer in the classroom just as the atheists do. Indeed, that is the [[sine qua non]] of atheism: censorship of faith in an intellectual setting.--Aschlafly 18:32, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
Aschlafly, I'm not sliding anywhere - it's extraordinary how you can twist what I say into matching what you want to believe.
First of all, I don't define atheism as a faith, so no, that wouldn't be a condition under which I would object to prayers being said in the classroom. I think it would be clear what I meant to most people - I even explained it above; "Special circumstances being something like a Muslim leading prayers at a school with a Christian student population, or vice-versa." Of course, in reality, there would be compromise. A teacher insisting on leading a class of mixed faith in Christian prayer would be simply obstinate and cooler more sensible heads would no doubt step in a find a compromise.
Prayer is not the same as the teaching of ID or Creationism in a science class. At the moment, neither of those "subjects" is classified as science by any education authority that I'm aware of ( i.e. in France and the UK) so I would object to a non-science subject being taught in a science class. ID is unknown here but Creationism is covered under biblical inerrancy in religious education.
All this seems eminently sensible and reasonable to me sitting on this side of the pond. I might feel differently if I lived in the deep south of the USA.
But again, this is simply distraction. The point remains - here is one non-liberal non-atheist who feels that the petty argument over Dawkins' professorship detracts from valid criticism of his views and methods. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 09:32, 20 October 2007 (EDT)

Summary of Established Evidence[edit]

From what I can tell, and as objectively as possible, over the course of the discussion the following have been established:

  • This document refers to Dawkins once, using the word "post". However, this word is used to describe professorships at Oxford in many other instances.

I hope that all of that information is correct. Please correct me if otherwise.

I am working on a rewrite of the "professorship controversy" section, attempting to remain as neutral and as impartial as possible while clearly presenting the facts.

[[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] 19:49, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

I agree that many people refer to Richard Dawkins as the Simonyi Professor. Why? Because Dawkins himself claims that he is the Simonyi Professor!! Surely you don't think that a self-serving claim confirms the claim.
Only one document in the above listing matters: the express requirements for the Simonyi professorship.[10] Surely we can agree that the express requirements for the Simonyi professorship are what one must satisfy before calling himself the Simonyi professor.
There has been no official statement explaining how Dawkins satisfied those express requirements. To the contrary, the establishment of the professorship suggests that Dawkins himself is given income for a "post" not subjected to the peer review requirements, and only future candidates will go through the peer review process set forth (and customarily required) for a professorship.--Aschlafly 20:30, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, at this point it is obvious that Richard Dawkins is a professor. For some reason, you have willfully ignored the evidence, presented ad infinitum, above. This is your blog, so you are of course, free to do that. However at this point, you are not making Dawkins look bad (which seems to be your goal) but yourself and Conservapedia in the process. --McIntyre 20:45, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Sweet Fancy Moses!! Surely we can agree that your mind is jumping in circles to try and hold down this delusion of yours. There is no conspiracy. There is no four corner simultaneous day. Richard Dawkins has not fooled one of the most prominent academic institutions, one of the most prominent scientific scocieties, several prominent Christian apologetics organizations, several major news organizations, "liberal" or otherwise, into believing that he is a professor. Surely we don't think that you have uncovered the grand conspiracy, bringing down his precious house of card, forcing him to admit that this whole time it was a scam. After this you're gonna say his F.R.S is a sham, and unless we can dig up Newton to authenticate the process his fellowship is null and void. Do you see now how we can see through your rhetorical devices?
You have been challenged multiple times now to find at least one individual that supports your statement that Dawkins does not hold the Simonyi Professorship based on this little technicality that you've concocted. We've also challenged you to consider how this affects your own credibility. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 21:42, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Folks, no one has specifically identified anything false in the entry. The peer review requirements of the Simonyi professorship are clear and apparently you're in denial. Fortunately, others are logical and are willing to accept what the Simonyi professorship requirements expressly state.--Aschlafly 21:59, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
We all agree on what the documents say. Nobody denies that the establishment act set out the rules for a new professor. And that the a position for Dawkins was funded from the donation. And noone disputes that the distinction committee gave Dawkins the title. You have this story in mind of what or could not could have happend in-between those two documents were published. Unless you you give proof it is as believable as the account that on evening of the establishment act the university board carried Dawkins on their hands through the streets of Oxford, rejoicing in joy, praising his many accomplishments in Gregorian chants. I don't have proof for any of this either. [[User:Order|Order]] 22:31, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, who would that be? Is this the part where you finally find someone to back you up? No, you're just gonna keep saying it over and over. It's already true to you, you've made it that way in your mind. I asked you again, do you think you're actually convincing anyone? How yould you rate your own credibility with anyone but yourself? --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 22:41, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm not trying to "convince" anyone. The truth is worthwhile regardless of whether anyone else chooses to accept it. If it makes you sleep better at night believing that Dawkins is somehow the Simonyi Professor, then goody for you. Realize, however, that those who care about the truth are likely reach a different conclusion based on the express requirements of the Simonyi Professor and what Dawkins has failed to achieve.--Aschlafly 23:27, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
I've already stated, Dawkins is irrelevant, and do you not also care about your credibility? You are passed the point where you feel you need to justify your state of mind, and instead just state what you feel is "fact." I'm confident anyone reading this discussion and analyzing the facts (not "facts") will come to a conclusion different that yours. Your own justification for continuing to believe what you want to believe only hurts yourself. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 00:08, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, whatever. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. The fact is Richard Dawkins, whether you like it or not, is a professor. Your continued denials of the obvious have made yourself and Conservapedia look foolish.--McIntyre 23:59, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Folks, your namecalling and frequent use of words like "foolish" and "hurts yourself" is getting tiresome, even for a talk page. Post something substantive here, or be silly somewhere else. Thanks.--Aschlafly 00:16, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm sincerely interested in how you view your own credibility. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 00:22, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
As pointed out, ad nauseum, you have been presented with proof after proof. To my knowledge, no one has called you names, at least not in this discussion. The piont is, why do presist in stating that Dawkins is not a professor? And please, do not say it has not been proven, because it has been, over and over.--McIntyre 00:50, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
[[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] has given has given substantive summary, with documents to back every point up. You keep repeating that Dawkins failed to meet the criteria. This is your own assesment, however, and you are not only not the instance that had to decide on it, you failed in addition to give any evidence that justifies your assement. The distinction committee, who was entitled to decide, and which had all relevant documents, disagrees with you, and the evidence that they did is their announcement. You have been asked repeatedly for evidence that the decision of this committee is fraudulent. You are blaming them for an unlawful act, and you should have evidence for such an accusation. [[User:Order|Order]] 01:00, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Feebasfactor's work was impressive, but left out key points like this: "Leading universities do not permit the 'buying' of a professorship for someone." That is indisputable, and Dawkins' bypass of this rule is an embarrassment to the academic community. That is true to an even greater extent if you insist that Dawkins holds a "professorship" bought by Simonyi.--Aschlafly 18:27, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Endowment is fairly common in Anglo-Saxon Universities. What you need to prove is that someone did bend the rules. If you had proof, you'd have a scoop. But you haven't. [[User:Order|Order]] 19:42, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Endowments are common. Buying a professorship for an individual are not. I can't think of another example. Can you? I can see what's wrong with buying someone a professorship. What's next, "Oxford Professor Al Gore"???--Aschlafly 19:58, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Pointing to Gore doesn't help you with the lack of evidence with regard to the Distinction Committee given Dawkins the title. You have been asked to give proof for the latter allegation. Asking for proof yourself for something else doesn't do it. [[User:Order|Order]] 20:11, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
In other words, User:Order, you won't admit that is objectionable for someone to buy a professorship for someone else. If Simonyi's purchase of a professorship for Richard Dawkins is fine with you, then you should be fine with someone else buying an Oxford Professorship for Al Gore. But you won't admit that, will you?--Aschlafly 20:18, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Purchasing a title which would entail breaking the rules the Oxford is not only questionable, it is probably also illegal. Therefore, I asked you to come up with proof. If you best argument is to bring in the name of Gore then your other arguments must be poor. It is kind of an admission that you do not have proof. 04:07, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
The Simonyi professorship has defined goals and criteria [11] [] that were approved by university act [12]. You're comparing Oxford to a mail order diploma mill. You have not demonstrated that your criticism of the endowment is shared by anyone. You've been asked for a simple reference to prove that this elaborate fantasy exists anywhere but your head. --[[User:Oppen1|Oppen1]] 20:40, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

I apologize for leaving out the phrase "Leading universities do not permit the 'buying' of a professorship for someone." Perhaps I should have just instead asked for a source, or reworded to a less assertive or ambiguous stance. However, I'm not entirely clear on why this point is "indisputable"; what, for example, constitutes "leading universities"? Is their policy consistent? What reason do I have to think so? If a source can be found to substantiate this claim, excellent, but otherwise it has little value in its current state. [[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] 23:24, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

Feebasfactor, that's the most amazing part of this whole debate. The Richard Dawkins fan club sees nothing wrong or unusual about buying a professorship!!! Can you believe it? Do you think the reaction would be the same if, for example, someone bought an Oxford Professorship for Michael Behe or Jonathan Wells? The howls of protest by the same folks who defend a purchase of a professorship for Richard Dawkins would be enormous. Surely we can agree about that.--Aschlafly 23:31, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
Andy, you imply that the "buying" of the title was illegal and in contrast with the established rules of leading universities as Oxford. Just because you call it "buying", doesn't mean that it was "buying", you will have to give proof. Otherwise it is a simple endowment. You are still failing to bring proof, instead you try to steer the discussion onto all kinds of tangents. [[User:Order|Order]] 04:12, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
Order, don't duck the central issue. Would you say that the donation of a professorship at [[Oxford University]] for Jonathan Wells would be fine??? Look at how you use one standard for the evolutionist, but a very different standard for the proponent of intelligent design. When you can look at your contradiction objectively, then you will have taken a step toward your freedom.--Aschlafly 17:34, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
The central issue isn't Jonathan Wells. And it is neither the concept of endowed or named professorship. I have little problems with either of them. The central issue is your claim that Dawkins title isn't legit. You are implying bribe on the side of Simonyi and Dawkins, and violation of its statues by the University of Oxford. You have failed to give proof for either of these allegations. I can understand that you want to change the subject to Jonathan Wells - I don't even know him - since you failed on the subject Dawkins. [[User:Order|Order]] 20:18, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
Well, I am not surprised, having debated Andy Schlafly before, I can attest that changing the subject is his standard tactic, as seen here. []--McIntyre 20:40, 19 October 2007 (EDT)

Well... Wouldn't it be fine? Would there actually be anything wrong with that? Ultimately it's up to the University of Oxford to handle such matters as they see fit. If it was deemed appropriate for a proponent of intelligent design, like Michael Behe or Jonathan Wells, to receive an endowment or to have a professorship donated or "bought" for them or whatever - then, well, what grounds does anyone else have to object? I apologize, I suppose I'm probably "missing the point" again, but I just don't see what's so wrong or unusual about it. I still don't know which are the leading universities that "do not permit the "buying" of a professorship for someone". [[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] 18:36, 19 October 2007 (EDT)

Setting aside the issue of whether or not Dawkins assist the understanding of science by the public, I would be interested in knowing if there ever was a case where an endowment largely involved the hiring of one individual for a university or college. If so, was it a modern case? [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 22:14, 20 October 2007 (EDT)
Isn't that what an endowed chair or professorship generally consists of? Or did you mean something more specific? I was under the impression that those happen fairly frequently - but in any case, I don't really know either. On that note I'd like to ask about the "leading universities" again, as I'm still working on a possible rewrite of the "professorship controversy" section. However, I don't want to pester and the discussion has unfortunately gone off on somewhat of a tangent... [[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] 00:13, 21 October 2007 (EDT)
No, an endowed chair is named in honor of someone, usually deceased. Leading universities never allow the donor to buy a professorship (recipient of the income) for someone who was already not a professor. Just suggest the idea of buying a professorship to someone who is a real professor and he is likely to recoil in disgust. Surely you don't think money should be able to buy that.--Aschlafly 00:24, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Current article[edit]

IMVHO, the recent edits (by Conservative, I think) are much better. Still a bit of ad hominem in there but countering his views and writings is a much stronger position than the professorship issue, which is a distraction. Congrats. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 10:19, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

New Section[edit]

Andy, maybe it would help others here if you clarified your position again. Your reply to FeebasFactor above suggests that you accepted that Dawkins is a professor, but that he obtained his professorship through bribery, cronyism, fraud, favoritism, or some combination of those factors. Is that a more or less correct description of your stance?--[[User:Bayes|Bayes]] 00:21, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

No, it's not correct. I'm merely pointing out that those who insist that a professorship really was purchased for Dawkins are making him look even less credible.--[[User:Aschlafly|Aschlafly]] 00:24, 21 October 2007 (EDT)
So, all you have is problem with endowed professorships in general? Or can you be a bit more specific of what you are accusing Dawkins of, if not bribery, cronyism, fraud, or favoritism. I am currently browsing through the gazette of another leading university, and I already found one of you claims to be wrong (the one about endowments being named in honour of a dead person; it happens, but not exclusively). But, I'd like to know what you are looking for. [[User:Order|Order]] 00:40, 21 October 2007 (EDT)
The Distinction Committee at Oxford, as well as other documents related to Oxford, refer to him as a professor. If there were no mistakes or underhanded activities involved, is Dawkins not a professor? My point is that there are only a few possibilities:
  • Dawkins is a professor
  • Oxford, along with a number of organizations listed on this page, is lying
  • Oxford, along with a number of organizations listed on this page, have been defrauded through one of the means I mentioned above.
Which is it?--[[User:Bayes|Bayes]] 00:48, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

A leading Intelligent Design Organization wants to promote this article[edit]

A leader of one of the top 5 intelligent design organizations said he wants to promote the conservapedia Richard Dawkins article until it has 1,000,000 views. In addition, a intelligent design advocate is going to ask a investigative journalist to investigate the situation in respect to the peer review process that Andy has been mentioning in respect to Dawkins current position.

I am guessing with the overspill into the evolution, intelligent design, atheism and other articles Conservapedia might be able to get way more than 1,000,000 views. I am hoping for 5 to 7 million views. I can also contact the press and I am guessing other conservative websites would promote this as well. Recently, Conservapedia got 60,000 views because one conservative organization linked to us and promoted us in relation to our homosexuality article. An even bigger organization says it also wants to promote our homosexuality article via a joint effort once I complete an article I am working on.

I am going to abridge the Richard Dawkins current article until the investigative journalist looks into the aforementioned matter above. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 16:15, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

By the way, I have contacted Andy about the leader in the intelligent design organization promoting this article and also told him about the investigative journalist. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 16:20, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Great, we'll notify Oxford legal counsel.-[[User:Feiner|Feiner]] 16:58, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Contact Oxford about what? The matter is merely being investigated and there is currently no mention of the matter in the current article. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 17:01, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

Wait, isn't it still there? Has the article been changed? I didn't think a clear consensus had been reached regarding this matter, so what sort of changes could've permissably been made? Sorry, I've been trying to follow and understand this article and its talk page, in the hope of maybe clearing up the issues and reaching an agreement on how to better word the article without compromising its points - but the changes as of late have been very confusing. [[User:Feebasfactor|Feebasfactor]] 20:38, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

principles of weighing historical evidence and the Richard Dawkins professorship issue[edit]

I believe a main weakness of the debating between the two sides of whether or not Dawkins is a professor approved by peer review is that neither side has appealed to the discipline of historiography (principles of weighing historical evidence). Now there is a Pulitzer prize winning historican by the name of David Hackett Fischer and he is a very logical and astute historian and I think he is a conservative as well (he cited Scripture in one of his works and we all know that conservatives are generally more logical :) ).

Here is some background information:

Fischer, David Hackett, Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (New York: Harper Collins, 1970). In only approximately 300 pages, Fischer surveys an immense amount of background historical literature to point out a comprehensive variety of analytical errors that many, if not most, historians commit. Fischer points out specific examples of faulty or sloppy reasoning in the work of even the most prominent historians, making it a useful book for beginning students of history. While this book presumably did not make Fischer popular with many of his peers, it should be noted that his contributions as a historian have not been limited simply to criticizing the work of others; since 1976, he has published a number of well-received books on other historical topics.[13]

Here is a overview of Fischer's rules taken from [[Josh McDowell]]'s "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict and please pay attention to the bolded portions below:

(1) The burden of proof for a historical claim is always upon the one making the assertion.

(2) Historical evidence must be an answer to the question asked and not to any other question.

(3) "An historian must not merely provide good evidence, but the best evidence. And the best evidence, all other things being equal, is the evidence which is most nearly immediate to the event itself."

(4) Evidence must always be affirmative. Negative evidence is no evidence at all. In other words, Fischer is saying that an absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

(5) The meaning of any historical evidence is dependent upon the context from which it is obtained from.

(6) "An empirical statement must not be more precise than its evidence warrants."

(7) "All inferences from historical evidence are probabilistic."

The above rules were taken from Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict, page 674, 1999, Mark MCGarry, Texas Type and Book Works, Dallas, TX, ISBN 0-7852-4219-8))

I think using rules 1,4, and 7 above the issue of whether or not Dawkins is most likely or not most likely a professor is very clear. I will let each side argue their case and afterwords I will offer my verdict on the situation.

Hmmm, it's a good guide but is Dawkins' professorship historical? It's current. If you do want to use those rules, then the assertion that Dawkins is a professor meets #1, the assertion that Dawkins is not a professor fails on #4, and #7 is satisfied by it being more probable (considering OU calls him one) that Dawkins' is a professor than he isn't.

I don't know what your investigative journalist is intending to uncover but if he's using those rules than I imagine not a lot. But then that's not what investigative journalists do. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 15:52, 22 October 2007 (EDT)

Ajkgordon, I would first say that I wanted to correct two things you said. First, I merely said the leader of the intelligent design movement was going to ask a investigative journalist to look into the issue of whether or not the peer review process took place in regards to Dawkins being a professor. There is no guarantee that the investigative journalist will have any interest.

Second, there is a historical question here and namely it is did the peer review process take place in regards to Dawkins being a professor.

Next, Dawkins makes the assertion that he is a professor and implies the historical assertion that a peer review process took place. Andy makes the assertion that "apparently" no peer review process took place. Now Andy is violating rule number #4 above because just because there is no direct evidence that the peer review took place doesn't it didn't take place (absence of direct evidence is not evidence of absence -rule #4). Also, Andy is not giving us any evidence that it did not take place so he is violating rule #1 by making the assertion that it apparently did not take place. Then applying rule #7 with the fact that the Oxford Gazette called him a professor, which is indirect evidence he is a professor, the probability that the peer review process took place is greater than it did not take place.

Lastly, I think our rules of historical evidence should be applied uniformly. Do we have any direct evidence that Dr. [[Gary Habermas]] passed peer review to become a professor or that he obtained his doctorate? If we don't and we apply the same standard of evidence that we are using for Dawkins then rightfully we have to put in the Gary Habermas article that apparently Dr. Habermas did not pass peer review to become a professor and he apparently never obtained his doctorate. I think those two aformentioned assertions regarding Habermas would be unreasonable. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 16:16, 22 October 2007 (EDT)

I stand corrected. Twice! Thanks.

Um, are you sure you want to do this? :) [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 16:23, 22 October 2007 (EDT)

AjkGordon, I think that when anyone makes an edit to a conservapedia article and they know the attendant talk page exist they are entering into a situation where they knowingly take the risk of being corrected. I also believe that human error is a fact of life and that all conservapedians should be open to revising a mistake they made in regards to editing. Fischer corrects professional historians in regards to historiography so I do think that Andy a non-historian should be open to modifying his post after he sees Fischer's sound historiography principles. Next, Andy has changed his mind in light of evidence before in regards to his decisions (the American vs. English spelling of words commandment) so I don't think it would be disastrous to admit error here. In short, I don't think the whole Conservapedia project would end because Andy revised a post of his. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 16:43, 22 October 2007 (EDT)
Well, good luck. Personally I think that stance is eminently reasonable. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 16:48, 22 October 2007 (EDT)

AjkGordon, I do think that I am acting in the best interest of Conservapedia here. I think that other conservative websites would be more likely to link to this article if the introduction were revised. Given my current contacts I am postive I could get one to two conservative websites with respectable web traffic to link to this article but currently my hands are tied. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 16:43, 22 October 2007 (EDT)

I think you are probably right. I have made the disrepute argument before but to no avail. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 16:57, 22 October 2007 (EDT)
Ajkgordon, I am not saying that anyone did anything disreputable. I do believe that in order to resolve disputes that cordiality and diplomacy should not be discarded. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 20:13, 22 October 2007 (EDT)
No, I meant that the article as it stands runs the risk of bringing Conservapedia into disrepute not that anyone was disreputable. I agree with you about cordiality and diplomacy. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 20:17, 22 October 2007 (EDT)
I think this article has a lot of potential if it had a few revisions. There are a lot of people who would like to hear the other side in regards to Dawkins but currently the first 50 Google results seem to be totally monopolized by the Dawkins fan club. I do think if we created a dissenting view of the first 50 Google results that we might get a lot of traffic. I don't think much effort has been expended to do so in the past and I don't think it would be hard to do as a lot of people are not fond of what Dawkins promotes. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 20:27, 22 October 2007 (EDT)
  • I think you mistake your position here, Conservative. If you wish to relinquish your Sysop position, and gather forces to show Andy where he is wrong, go for it. If however you wish to remain a part of Conservapedia's administrators, you should stop your constant efforts to make him wrong, and be supportive. You are all about making deals with other sites to feature only content created and controlled by you. You are certainly not about promoting CP and what it stands for. Is this a clear enough statement (as you requested) as to if I agree with your silly historiography principles? If it isn't you just let me know. --<font color="#1E90FF" face="Comic Sans MS">[[User:TK|şŷŝoρ-₮K]]</font><sup><font color="DC143C">[[cp:User talk:TK|/Ṣρёаќǃ]]</font></sup> 00:10, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
TK, I don't think you showed that I am constantly trying to prove Andy wrong. Andy and I have disagreed on a total of 2 articles. Next, I don't believe that Andy wants to foster an environment where everything he posts is automatically correct. Such an environment is decidedly anti-intellectual, not realistic, and not befitting an encyclopedia. An environment like that is would be akin to a cultlike atmosphere like Jonestown and I don't believe that is what Andy wants. Lastly, I would appreciate it if you kept the focus on the actual article here. If you have a complaint against me I think my talk page or email is the appropriate place. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 00:47, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

TK, I would also state that I would be glad to work with others in regards to request for articles that I have on my plate right now. In fact, RobS and I worked together for an article that Concerned Women of America wants CP to produce. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 00:53, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

TK, in addition they are not my historiography principles but the principles given by an eminent historian and nobody has told me why the principles are unsound. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 01:22, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Interesting confession, Conservative. Historians and their opinions on most anything are a dime a dozen. Some even claim that Evolution is the only possible way to explain life. Do you accept those opinions by eminent Historians? See how your own arguments are poppycock? Nice of you to inform the rest of us you are working for another site, though. Finally the truth comes out. --<font color="#1E90FF" face="Comic Sans MS">[[cp:User:TK|şŷŝoρ-₮K]]</font><sup><font color="DC143C">[[User talk:TK|/Ṣρёаќǃ]]</font></sup> 01:25, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

First, Fisher is a Pulitzer prize winning historian. Next, you are committing the genetic logical fallacy so instead of engaging in fallacy show me where Fischer is unreasonable. You try to attack Fischer because you cannot attack his reasonable historiography principles. Next, I am creating content at CP which Concerned Women of American wants to link to and thus bring us internet traffic. Lastly, I wish to make a correction, RobS and I worked on something together that I think some other websites might want to link to (at least RobS and I thought it was a noteworthy topic). [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 01:42, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

Conservative, we can't sell our principles just for a few web hits. Giving into Dawkins deceitful claim of professorship would be hypocritical. [[User:Sschultz|SSchultz]] 01:50, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
Schultz, I would kindly state that you are presenting a false dilemna. Show me where the above analyis using a sound methodology for answering historical questions is errant. I could just as easily say Dawkins is a professor and leave it at that but I think demonstrating my position using a sound methodology of deciding historical questions is a far more reasonable approach. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 02:04, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
Conservative, the fact is that Andy has already made a decision on this page. He wants the facts regarding Dawkins' fraudulent professorship to remain. I don't understand why you're choosing to go against him like this. Moreover, all the talk about your methodology for deciding the question sounds a lot like the way evolutionists talk about defending their theories. [[User:Sschultz|SSchultz]] 15:27, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
To be fair, SSshultz, it doesn't appear to me that Conservative is "choosing to go against [Aschlafly] like this" - rather he using an historical research tool to ascertain whether the assertion that Dawkins is not a professor has any merit. It's just another angle to help editors with their judgement. [[User:Ajkgordon|Ajkgordon]] 16:17, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
  • Me, Me, Me!! It is like a broken record. The rantings of a Bot. Show you! Tell you! I think I need to complete my article on Internet Trolls. I certainly have more than enough material to masterfully demonstrate what one is. I hope Concerned Women and Peter will be interested in it as well. If not, I have been in contact with several very large sites, who all get millions of hits daily, who are interested in linking to it! Anyone who is interested in collaborating on it, please contact me. --<font color="#1E90FF" face="Comic Sans MS">[[cp:User:TK|şŷŝoρ-₮K]]</font><sup><font color="DC143C">[[User talk:TK|/Ṣρёаќǃ]]</font></sup> 02:12, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
TK, I have no desire to attempt to have unrelated discussions regarding your unsupported accusations that are unrelated to the article especially when I think they are unreasonable. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 02:16, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
I usually disagree with Conservative, and I've raised an eyebrow at his "millions of hits" claims. However, following Fischer's principles is an excellent means of resolving the discussion over Dawkins' professorship. Really, it has gone on far too long.--[[User:McIntyre|McIntyre]] 02:29, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

I was asked to weigh in this matter. Not sure if makes a difference, but at least I can try.

  • First, the principle laid out by the historian Fisher aren't that different from what the CP guidelines try to achieve, except that his are more specific to history writing. There is nothing wrong to look at the best practice used by historians when you write biographical articles. I could even imagine that some of Fisher recommendations would make it into the CP guidelines, since they reflect common sense, used elsewhere as well.
    • As TK pointed out, historians are able to quibble over all kind of things. The nice things about sticking to such guidelines is that you quibble on a slightly higher level, and it increases the chances to stay on topic. In a charged atmosphere, like on this talk page, even the most benign observations become a litmus test on political loyalties, and can lead to personal insults. Take as example [[User:Sschultz|SSchultz']] latest comment; it doesn't give any evidence on the matter, but instead calls you a hypocritical sell-out. Hardly illuminating any fact, other than [[User:Sschultz|SSchultz']] idiosyncratic way to participate in discussions.
    • If you want to have lots of web hits, it might even be better say clearly what you accusations are. Bayes asked a few days ago [[Talk:Richard_Dawkins#New_section|what the allegations are]] what the allegations are, if not cronyism, bribery, or fraud, but no-one felt competent to answer it. If you would put into the article that you are accusing Dawkins, Simonyi or the University of Oxford of cronyism, bribery, or fraud, and you get some journalist to feature it prominently, you might attract a big deal of people who want to have a look. I mean, who does not enjoy a mud fight. If you don't want to look like some yellow press newspaper, you should of course have some evidence. The kind of evidence you find if you go to the archives of the University of Oxford and look up the minutes of the Distinction Committee. Its boring, I know, the kind of boring the set of rules by David Fisher are. [[User:Order|Order]] 02:48, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
      McIntyre, I want to stay on topic but I briefly will say that I think taking a defeatist attitude and saying Conservapedia cannot get millions of hits to various articles stifles creativity and initiative. One article for Conservapedia is getting 600 hits a day. I don't think it is a stretch of the imagination to get an article like that to get 6,000 hits a day via various methods to grow its Internet traffic. [[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 03:19, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

      Please document those 600 hits per day, Conservative. Can you provide realistic proof of that? Where are you seeing those hits? It is important that you stop, making statements without backing it up as you say it. Not later. Not by giving another answer, but directly stating how you arrive at that figure. If you are using the built-in counter on CP, we already know page counts have been artificially inflated, such as the Goat article with over 100,000 hits, several thousands per day. You have already been made aware of that, and acknowledged via email you knew of it. "Various" efforts smacks of pandering and manipulation of the numbers. Is that something we should aspire to? Do you consider "ratings" to be a scholarly effort? --<font color="#1E90FF" face="Comic Sans MS">[[cp:User:TK|şŷŝoρ-₮K]]</font><sup><font color="DC143C">[[User talk:TK|/Ṣρёаќǃ]]</font></sup> 05:31, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

      TK, I am not going to wrangle with you regarding whether this article or that article was artificially inflated. I do think getting web traffic to conservapedia is important as new traffic means new editors. And with new editors can come new expertise and a greater depth of the number of articles plus expansion of articles when needed. But again, please keep on topic in regards to this article.[[User:Conservative|Conservative]] 06:53, 23 October 2007 (EDT)</font>

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      PNAS Reply[edit]

      FBI Talk[edit]

      Commandments Talk[edit]

      Fred Phelps[edit]

      JeremyJCH Talk[edit]

      Further help[edit]

      You should make use of Internet archive sites. E.g. currently has copies of Andrew Schlafly's talk page from various points in 2007. However there are two caveats: (1) archiving is sporadic, so they might not have what you want (2) older archives disappear, so if they do have what you want, save a local copy for yourself while you can.