RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive238

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Favorite band[edit]

Just wondering state your favorite band/musical act below--N7.Geth (talk) 22:57, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Half Man Half BiscuitWikipedia's W.svg. No, you won't have heard of them. ProblemChimp (talk) 03:21, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Half Man Half Biscuit are effing brilliant! BicyclewheelModerator 10:14, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Glad they're still half-man. I wouldn't like them at all if they were... well... Abed Nadir (talk) 07:22, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
All-biscuit? All-man? Half-Martian? (talk) 08:38, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
TotalBiscuit. (Don't explain the joke...)--TiaC (talk) 19:52, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Don't have one. (talk) 10:16, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Too old for one, my musical tastes have a wide gamut. A favourite band is really for the youngsters. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. Moderator 10:38, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
school food punishment Abed Nadir (talk) 12:07, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Deep Purple (specifically, Machine Head; although one-time lead guitarist Tommy Bolin's Post Toastee will do nicely in a single song pinch.)--Bezzle (talk) 18:09, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Depends on what mood I'm in. AC/DC is pretty good. Necromancer 23:24, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M. not spam R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M.R.E.M. (PS: I love R.E.M. if you couldn't tell.)Samstr (talk) 05:52, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Article by 8chan founder[edit]

NSFW (Nazi website) http://www.dailystormer.com/hotwheels-why-i-support-eugenics/ (talk) 23:11, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Well, then. While unsurprising, it's obvious that he hasn't taken his ideas about genetics to their logical conclusions. And there are a lot of assumptions that he makes, also unsurprising. This isn't exactly going to end well for him. --Castaigne (talk) 00:46, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
interesting article. I sure someone better versed in genetics than I will put me straight on this, but couldn't this potentially sterile a massive proportion of the population? And I don't see how this would a libertarian solution - wouldn't the cash incentive be from the government. I am sure there are likely issues about how society comes view these genetically imperfect folk. I believe, though could be wrong, that foetuses are already screened for a myriad of conditions giving the mother the option of an abortion. A perhaps better option, depending where you stand on abortion, as then people will have at least a chance of parenthood. AMassiveGay (talk) 00:52, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
This is already covered in our 8chan article. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:58, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Call me a idiot, but wouldn't Eugenics invalidate Hotwheels himself? I'm mixed on 8chan and it's various inhabitants in general, but this guy seems like one of the bigger lolcows, nazi or otherwise, to come out of Gamergate. --Madman (talk) 02:42, 14 January 2015 (UTC)The Madman
If by "invalidate him" you mean "suggest he'd be better off never being born", yes it would. On the other hand, I actually read the piece in question; he seems to acknowledge that eugenics would mean he would never have lived. As to whether life with As to whether life with osteogenesis imperfecta is preferable to never having lived, I have no strong opinion, but concede some authority to his lived experience., I have no strong opinion, but concede some authority to his lived experience. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 06:10, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
This is where I feel that people often slightly miss the focus of where the argument should be. Take the argument "As to whether life with osteogenesis imperfecta is preferable to never having lived, I have no strong opinion, but concede some authority to his lived experience." Well, no. Hotwheels gets to decide whether never having lived is better than living with osteogenesis imperfecta but only for himself. He only gets to speak for other people if they allow him to do so and, of course, an argument for eugenics deprives them of that choice in exactly the same way that arguments against assisted suicide deprive people of the right to choose when and how they die if they wish an ending but cannot do it themselves.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 12:05, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Arguing about whether people who never were born ought to have been born is even more out of focus. Had an effective eugenics program been in place, no one will be born with osteogenesis imperfecta and no choice would need to be made. This would appear to be a simply preventable disease. I find it hard to accept a human right to propagate your own genetic material, at least not if your own genes doom any offspring you may have to a life of unnecessary suffering. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 16:57, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
If you find it hard to accept that as a human right, then you by default cede to the authority of someone who will determine whether you have the permission to propagate or not. Since such decisions are never made with perfect information or pure utilitarianism, but always with personal preferences and politics intruding, I think you would dislike ceding that decision to someone Not You. You're probably much better off with it being a human right, if you prefer freedom. --Castaigne (talk) 18:05, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, here's a "safe" version of the above link: http://www.donotlink.com/d1ic And on the article itself: did he really need to give more ammunition to his critics by literally defending eugenics? Give him credit for one thing, though: he admits that we'd all be better off if he'd never been born. Though I'd cite an entirely different reason than what he gave. KevinR1990 (talk) 14:08, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Something makes me doubt we'd be any percentage or fractionally worse or better off without hotwheels and his 8ch.--Miekal 18:06, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, although the thing he supports is wrong, his reasons behind it get into a very uncomfortably dark-grey area. Some people with genetic disabilities have said they are conflicted about reproducing; They then feel guilt if their child has the same disability. His idea is a weird mixture of selfishness and selflessness. Of course, it would ultimately result in tragedy. It would be hijacked, just as GamerGate was. As the issue of paying people to not spread genes that could result in an unhappy child is a dark shade of grey, so is the issue of where to draw the line. What is a disabled person? Deaf people don't want their culture destroyed. Autistic people would be fine if society was different. The too long, didn't read version of what I'm saying is: I am surprised I do not find this to be good ammo against him. Narky Sawtooth (Nyar~) 10:43, 15 January 2015 (UTC)


For a place called rational wiki y'all aren't very rationalDrink!. TheCheatI run on alcohol 17:14, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

The next difficulty increment will be -2.5%, not 20%, so some mining machines will may have a 3 year ROI (lulz). Why the fuck is the twitter account just copying and pasting shit from reddit/r/buttcoin anyway? Seems lame... At least link to the reddit post to show where it was stolen from if there won't be any original thoughts. TheCheatI run on alcohol 17:24, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
So how big is the bag you're hodling? - David Gerard (talk) 18:32, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
A cubic planck, I am not hodling any bitcoins. My criticism is sincere. Je suis RationWiki. TheCheatI run on alcohol 19:57, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
The problem, as I read it, not being that he thought your criticism insincere, just that verbally, it's quite hard to distinguish from active defense. There's some ambiguity in the semantic parsing of your posts. I wish I were a better linguist and could identify why that appears to be happening(to me too), I can only say that it is. Ikanreed (talk) 20:03, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
It was intentional ;-). Wanted to get a rise out of you all. I used to lurk around here, been lurking at buttcoins, eating popcorn, saw the RW post that was a copy of a reddit post and was sad to see the RW brand not being accurate in its criticisms as well as parroting... TheCheatI run on alcohol 20:11, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
"Break even" and "life expectancy" are not the same thing.
Oh, no, I had forgotten to sign that. Narky Sawtooth (Nyar~) 01:57, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Is this true ...[edit]

... or is it totally made up? Apparently you can buy a police badge (a working, for real police badge) that carries all the rights of police job including gun permit. Only in America! (Too old for a WIGO, but WTF!) Scream!! (talk) 14:16, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Might be true. If so some of these guys are going to get themselves killed playing cops and robbers one of these days, and I won't shed a solitary tear. DickTurpis (talk) 14:28, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
*Works on a wiki dedicated to protecting stupid people from themselves* "I just don't care if they get themselves killed." Ikanreed (talk) 14:46, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
It's a wiki dedicated to documenting noteworthy stupid things stupid people do and why those things are stupid. Some are here hoping that RW will help people not do said stupid things, some are here for their own amusement. (talk) 14:58, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I wonder how a town of 300 residents affords to hire 12 full-time officers, and what those officers do all day? Landmartian (talk) 15:42, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
not having anything else to pay for.--Miekal 15:44, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Ticket passerby's on the internet to bring in revenue for the town. A lot of super right-wing(just gonna guess) small towns balance their budgets that way. Ikanreed (talk) 15:45, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
(ec) good question. more 'big government' police state with unfunded civil service pension liabilities. nobsIt all depends what ISIS is. 15:47, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I'll allow you to give me a thousand bucks for free.--Palaeonictis (talk) 22:35, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Its mer constutortunal reght dum comy nazi ima kil you. get a brin moran If you really have nothing to read...If you have really nothing to do... 00:13, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Websie views, article views[edit]

Back in 2012, we still had page viewcounts enabled in Special:Statistics. Sometime between then and 2014, this was no longer true. What happened? Is there any way to view our stats again? Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 02:17, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Drastically slowed loading times for pages for some technical reason so we took them off. Tielec01 (talk) 02:43, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm sure David Gerard will correct me if I'm wrong (which I probably am) but we started using cache servers to deliver pages to reduce demands on the main database. Once the main database is not being accessed directly then page-views are meaningless. It's like putting DoNotLink on everything. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. Moderator 15:36, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
tl;dr not easily. We switched off page counts when we went to using Squid caches in front, because the caches made the counts meaningless, and there's no way we'd keep up without the caches. I do have anonymous logs from the Squid caches (page counts, no IP addresses) if anyone wants to process them. Be warned that they're huge, so unless you think you can personally run an instance of the http://stats.grok.se code don't bother asking - David Gerard (talk) 23:57, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Opinions on The Drunken Peasants?[edit]

Am I the only one here that really enjoys watching The Drunken Peasants? Rants about feminism aside, I think they're really funny and make some very good points from time to time. Necromancer 21:26, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

If you like watching them, I guess that's all that really matters. Doesn't it? Their views aside, I don't like TJ's loud ranting style. So even if I agreed with what he was saying... the signal-to-noise ratio of his presentation puts me off. --Inquisitor (talk) 22:43, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I recently stumbled across one of their videos on youtube. They made some very valid points about the electoral college and politics in the United States, but I got turned off when they started ranting about Anita Sarkeesian. If you're looking for a good channel I highly recommend C0nc0rdance; Unfortunately he hasn't made any videos recently, but the ones he does have are well researched and thought out.

Anybody got some good anti-depression drugs?[edit]

I thought I could try and inform some people on the internet, but no, turns out I can't. In an argument about if the holocaust happened, this is what the other side used as arguments: This was written by one guy after I gave him links to PDFs about holocaust denial written by guys at Harvard university:

Harvard xDD Murica? Oh you make me laugh haha. Whats next hollywood? xDD All of these places are control by zionisit, which took the land of Palestine by lying about the 'holocaust'.

And that's what another guy said after I told him Stormfront is a neo-Nazi forum:

Stormfront isn't a "pseudo-neo-Nazi" forum. It is a website for those who are committed to the survival and well being of White/Europeans, that includes, White Nationalists, Pan Europeanists, National Socialists, Christian Identity etc or those without any ideology who are just there to learn. As opposed to the anti White mainstream media. They need to be biased in favour of us because everyone else is biased against us.

Seriously, someone got some good anti-depression drugs? I really don't see what we could save by educating people now.If you really have nothing to read...If you have really nothing to do... 15:53, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Trying to 'educate' people who identify as White Nationalists or defenders of the white race or whatever is a losing game. But it's not like these are the only people on the internet. There are better ways to spend your time than casting pearls before swine. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:20, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Smoke weed and then argue online, it works for me.User:BlackProg/sig 17:35, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Generally speaking debating white nationalists and holocaust deniers is a complete waste of time. This is the case due to the "hierarchy of wrongness". Level 1 wrongness is a person who is simply ignorant of the basic facts on an issue. These people are easy to fix. Level 2 wrongness is a person who has been misinformed. These are much harder to fix. First you have to get them to accept the falsity of what they already believe, then accept the truth of what you're selling. Next we have Level 3 wrongness. This is where most white nationalists and other conspiracy theorists live. These people's worldview is defined by an unassailable overarching conspiratorial narrative. When somebody genuinely believes that every university, media outlet, government, etc. is controlled by Jews/lizards/aliens they clearly no longer have any interest in logical well-reasoned arguments. --Inquisitor (talk) 18:45, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, I've noticed some trolls hide very well. These guys may just be the mystical Troll Gods of the internet.If you really have nothing to read...If you have really nothing to do... 21:47 January 17th 2015 (UTC)
Ya gotta love that denial that Stormfront is a pseudo-neo-Nazi forum. ProblemChimp (talk) 00:32, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Satanism documentary that isn't stupid[edit]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uiJsAp82jg well that was refreshing. Necromancer 15:13, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Groan. More youtube!--Coffee (talk) 16:53, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I liked the extract from Saint-Saëns' Danse macabre at the beginning. When it stopped playing, I stopped watching. ProblemChimp (talk) 01:04, 19 January 2015 (UTC)


Usually not a fan of Reddit but this is a great place, I'm in love, they know so much history and really break down a lot of the bullshit "history" in our press that is fueled by our own biases.

For example, while I know that Arab society is based heavily on family and honor, I didn't know how important the tribe was to the structure of really...everything. I also didn't know that Caliph is actually not the "King of Islam" and calling the Caliph that is really disingenuous.

I'm rambling, great place, check it out.- BlackProg (talk) 16:01, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree that it's one of the few good subreddits. I don't think they like RW much though, especially one particular article.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:27, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I won't lie, a lot of their arguments for Jesus existing are strong. - BlackProg (talk) 18:18, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't really read Reddit in general, or that subreddit in particular. But I will say this... if you only have the time to apply your skepticism to a limited number of topics, then historical factoids gleaned from the internet should make your shortlist. --Inquisitor (talk) 20:32, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Pope Francis on how to respond to criticism of religion.[edit]

So the Pope says: “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith." OK, well, that's his opinion.

But then he says: "“If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal."

Am I overinterpreting here or is he saying that a violent response to some criticisms is perfectly justified?--Coffee (talk) 21:23, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm actually less concerned with the context approving of violence, and more annoyed at the "You cannot make fun of faith" piece. I know what he's trying to say, in the name of tolerance, but as an atheist who likes jokes, all I can hear is "My church's power structure is beyond question. As it's head, I condemn everyone opposed to us." Ikanreed (talk) 21:27, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Well you would expect him to not be happy about attacks on faith. What I'm surprised by is the fact that he thinks that violence at some level is an appropriate response. Apparently elsewhere he has said that there was no justification for the killings so presumably there is some appropriate level of violence he would have been happy with short of murder. --Coffee (talk) 21:32, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) No, it's the the approval of violence that's particularly disturbing coming from the Pope. Insulting someone's religion or their mother for that matter is not an excuse for violence and I'd expect the Pope to be clear on that. Instead seems to be saying the opposite, that if someone makes you feel bad by saying something you don't like you should hurt them physically. Marlow (talk) 21:34, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Tacit and unintentional approval of violence in the context of empathically understanding violent behavior coming from anger isn't too crazy., but claiming there is a moral imperative no to mock faith is concerning. One is personally unsettling, the other has disturbing and direct policy implications.
I know what you're thinking, that violence is worse than disagreeing with free speech in principle. But, in the end, both of these are just opinions, and the idea that stands to do more harm is opposing free speech, particularly speech that opposes his power base. Ikanreed (talk) 21:39, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Longer extract: “If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
From the context it looks like he's equating insulting faith with insulting someone's mother and saying that violence is a "normal" response.--Coffee (talk) 21:41, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, I get that. I'm just saying the violence and approving of it is secondary to the core problem of saying some things are beyond criticism. If your mother killed someone, you can bet I'd have some nasty things to say about her, e.g. Ikanreed (talk) 21:46, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
See to me it isn't much of problem for the Pope to say that something shouldn't be criticized in an insulting way, that's a legitimate position; I disagree, but it's a legitimate debate. But to say that some things, when criticized in an insulting way, justify a violent response is wholly wrong and I'm shocked the Pope is saying it. Marlow (talk) 21:52, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
Just read this ISIS propaganda this morning: p.38: "It is one thing for an individual to think about attacking or killing another man. It happens every day and such thoughts are neither uncommon nor even that alarming". [my emp] Shouldn't this be the role of religion and morality, to keep these "not uncommon or alarming" violent, murderous thoughts in check? nobsIt all depends what ISIS is. 22:03, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
you'd think so, but the history of all religions tell us something else AMassiveGay (talk) 22:12, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
(ec)Being one of those "militant atheist" types for a moment, isn't that a natural consequence of believing you have the absolute moral answer to the universe? Feeling it being beyond criticism and any measure being acceptable to defend it? Now, it's a given that people have an instinct that this is wrong and incorrect, but if you genuinely believed that you had absolute moral understanding, wouldn't you be ethically empowered to do whatever it takes to enforce that knowledge on everyone? Ikanreed (talk) 22:13, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic teaching, of the first two brothers who walked the planet - Cain and Abel - the one murdered the other. The moral teaching (in the Christian scheme) is, the natural man by nature harbors evil thoughts and intents. Therefore he must be reborn a spiritual man. nobsIt all depends what ISIS is. 22:44, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

And I suppose if one of those sexy children acts all sexy in front of a priest, he can expect a raping. It's normal. Stop insulting my faith you nasty atheists! --Ymir (talk) 06:43, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

It would be interesting to learn the Pope's vies on the poor guy in Saudi Arabia who has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam. His punishment began on the same day as the Pope's comments.--Coffee (talk) 07:07, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

The Pope is speaking in Italian (I think), though, so I'm a bit skeptical if "can't" is the most accurate translation. Regardless though, being the religious leader of such a sizable denomation, it'd be pretty remarkable if he'd proclaimed "Ridiculing religions is a-okay, guys. Freedom of speech all the way!" There are limits to how progressive a pope can be. (talk) 07:32, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

I was wondering about that "can't" as well. Does it mean "is not possible" or isn't permitted" - in either event it doesn't make a lot of sense when you think about it, so I guess the translation could be better.
But that's not my point - what surprises me is his asserting that some violent response is appropriate.--Coffee (talk) 12:05, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Probably "isn't permitted" if we're sticking with "can't", but I'm thinking maybe "shouldn't" would be a better fitting word.
I don't think he's specifically approving violence as a valid response, though his choice of analogy is kinda poor in that it can be interpreted that way. What I think the Pope is saying is that if someone insults/ridicules your deepest beliefs and/or your religious identity, one can expect a spontaneous and intense (possibly violent) reaction. He doesn't necessarily approve of violence committed in such a situation, but he's stating that one shouldn't provoke such a reaction in others. He goes on to talk about how religion should be used constructively by those who devote their lives to it, as opposed to used for justifying destructive behaviour (e.g. terrorist acts). (talk) 12:33, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
The Vatican radio transcript has "cannot". And somewhat more context.
But I'm sure the Pope's damage control team willy be pushing your interpretation. :-)--Coffee (talk) 12:56, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
See WIGOblogs passim: "Muslims Are Right To Be Angry Says Catholic Leader Bill Donohue". Seems like Donohue was reading from the team sheet? Scream!! (talk) 13:30, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Great example of blaming the victim "rape is wrong, but if those girls will wear those short skirts ..." "killing in the name of religion is wrong, but if they will print those insulting things ..." --Coffee (talk) 13:39, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I haven't read Donohue's statements, but regarding allegations of victim blaming, this seems relevant. There's a big difference between criticizing someone for dressing a certain way and criticizing a magazine for perpetuating islamophobic sentiments. (talk) 13:47, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
He sounds like a parish priest talking to a third grade religion class. Not much else to see here. nobsIt all depends what ISIS is. 13:52, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
"There's a big difference between criticizing someone for dressing a certain way and criticizing a magazine for perpetuating islamophobic sentiments" - why is there a big difference? If you accept that the murders were inexcusably wrong, then the answer to the question "should Charlie Hebdo have been publishing the cartoons in the first place?" becomes an irrelevent conclusion if there's no suggestion of victim blaming. Which isn't to say the question itself isn't a valid topic of discussion. Grumblejaws (talk) 11:39, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
People have been killed because they fly the Confederate flag; displaying the black flag of ISIS leads law enforcement, counterintelligence, and private citizens to all sorts of conclusions about the person flying it. Is the confederate flag and ISIS flag enough to provoke a violent reaction? and should a person displaying it be prepared for a violent reaction or can they claim naivete? nobsIt all depends what ISIS is. 14:45, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Given the RCC's reaction to what it regarded as heresy, then I can totally see where the pope is coming from, but my mother always told me that "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me". So why should people actually give a fuck if one magazine ridicules or caricatures a religious figure? Somehow religion is supposed to get a free pass from mockery but the political party which I support (or its leader) is fair game? Or my football/soccer team - which for many people is equally important as religion - should never get any criticism? Really, anyone can say anything they like about my mother because their opinion matters not one jot (excluding Mrs. Khant). The pope's declaration that someone who insults his mother can expect a punch is playing to the basest emotions of the Buenos Aires slums and lends tacit support to those who engage in "honour crimes" and I find it completely offensive. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member Moderator 15:30, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
In its full context, I don't see where the Pope is assigning religious motives, or defending religion or religious faith, to the killers. He seem to, in a very round-about way, separate killers who live only to destroy (even themselves) from any religious context. He calls them unbalanced (of course I can understand the atheists perspective that religious believers are unbalanced, so it's a question of idiom). nobsIt all depends what ISIS is. 01:16, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Sure the killers were unbalanced and what they did was illegal. But I'd say the same thing about somebody who hit another person and broke their nose because they'd verbally insulted a family member.--Coffee (talk) 13:38, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
His response does not really surprise me, he may be more liberal than his predecessors but he still is the head of the Catholic Church and the Church while in modern times doesn't aggressively lobby for blasphemy laws they have consistently tended to view anti-religious work as an annoyance. Alsto003 (talk) 02:05, 21 January 2015 (UTC) Alex

King James Conspiracy[edit]

(Note: I am being ~90% satirical) I was thinking about this earlier today after briefly thinking about all of the different English translations of the Bible. It seems that among certain crazies the King James Version of the Bible is considered the best/inerrant translation of God's word. The King James Version of the Bible is also probably the hardest to read given it's archaic language, I wonder... Do they want the most difficult to read version of the Bible so fewer people will read it and thus scrutinize it? Not that the Bible makes much sense no matter how you translate it. Samstr (talk) 05:59, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

I always preferred the KJV myself. The archaic and poetic language adds a since of gravitas that is missing from more modern translations, IMO. Regardless, your run of the mill Christian hasn't read the bible regardless of the translation they're holding. --Inquisitor (talk) 06:11, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
personally I prefer the esv because at the end of the day sounding fancy may be fun but isn't very useful. That and esv is easy to get at my church book store and I refuse to enter a parables anymore--Miekal 06:50, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Why even buy Bibles these days? Most versions are freely available on the internet. Makes it a lot easier to look up passages too. (talk) 06:57, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. But I do have an old self-pronouncing family bible that I use as a reference. Sucker is huge. Has a built in encyclopedia and extensive marginal notes that come in quite handy. I also have an interlinear bible I use when I'm interested in looking at the original Hebrew or Greek. On top of that I have a full set of Anchor bible commentaries. So for an atheist, my bookshelf is fairly well-stocked. --Inquisitor (talk) 08:29, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
And thanks to the magic of the internet, more archaic and more difficult to understand translations that predate the King James are just a click away. Check out the Anglo-Saxon one (well, the bits that are there). Spud (talk) 09:13, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Prior to 1950, there were probably not more than a half dozen popular translations; since 1950 there's been an explosion of translations, probably more than one new translation per year, on average - each new translation alleging to "fix" the problems with KJV (which are well known), and none have been able to. nobsIt all depends what ISIS is. 12:49, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
@141, because im old fashioned and like reading my books on paper and not a screen. That and i dont always have convenient access to my laptop or phone on the fly.--Miekal 15:59, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
One of the most deliciously insane conspiracy theories I've read in a while holds that the King James Bible is not what you should be reading, since King James was an evil big government liberal, and probably queer to boot. It's the Geneva Bible that liberty loving fundamentalists ought to be reading. The thing is, I know enough of the relevant history for this to make sense after a fashion. And the Geneva Bible is actually marginally easier to follow than the KJV despite being 60 years older. KJV was "appointed to be read in churches" and therefore a bit more oratorical than Geneva, which was made for private reading. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 19:56, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I've heard that particular nugget of goodness as well. --Inquisitor (talk) 20:27, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
The Geneva Bible is in fact superior to KJV in just about any measure you could ask. It isn't remarkably less accurate. It is slightly easier to read. But Geneva was always printed with its elaborate system of notes and references, which at least in the earlier editions are of consistently high quality. Geneva was a great leap forward in user friendliness for books generally, and KJV was a step backwards. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 06:29, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
"The Geneva Bible is in fact superior to KJV in just about any measure you could ask." Really, how so? I see assertions, on your part, but not much else... --Inquisitor (talk) 10:46, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Mostly, because the Geneva Bible was never printed without its extensive apparatus of footnotes, cross references, and other annotations. It was printed in Roman type almost exclusively. It had maps and other aids. All of that helpful material was dialed way back in the KJV. The KJV was first published in large quarto volumes in black letter type. It had only a few cross references compared with Geneva, and none of the annotations. The annotations were what made Geneva controversial, although in hindsight they seemed to be making a big deal out of very little, but then that's typical of any early modern theological controversy. The real problem was that Geneva was one of the most user friendly books ever made on account of its extensive apparatus. It encouraged solitary Bible study rather than communal devotional reading. King James very simply wanted a dumber and less intellectual Bible than Geneva. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 16:25, 20 January 2015 (UTC)


GET ON THE GROUND AND WORSHIP ME, HEATHENS!--Palaeonictis (talk) 06:15, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Why? (talk) 06:36, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Eh...--Miekal 06:46, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I only worship Satan. Necromancer 15:46, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
You could worship me for free.--Palaeonictis (talk) 23:02, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm not exactly paying anything to worship satan. I already gave my soul for candy, so he can't get that.--Miekal 23:04, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

I got a real kick out of this.[edit]

Warning, NSFW http://uniladmag.com/nsfw/fancy-shagging-a-foot-youre-in-luck/ Necromancer 02:16, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Finally! I used to make these the old fashioned way, but it's hard to dispose of the rest of the body. Fonzie (talk) 16:34, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I may be of strong constitution, but Jesus Christ.--Madman (talk) 16:42, 19 January 2015 (UTC)The Madman
Not attracted to this at all. (Now, if they made one with a horse's hoof.....) - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 16:32, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Thoughts on the State of The Union?[edit]

The first thing I noticed was how Obama and Ernst seemed to be seeing different versions of the world (no comment on who has the more accurate view, I'm sure we're all in agreement). I'm wondering, what do you guys think about the speeches? Samstr (talk) 03:34, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't know... I was too distracted by that aramid fiber hair helmet that Ernst was wearing. --Inquisitor (talk) 09:54, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
In denialism. nobsISIS is SISI spelled backwards. 14:22, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Has the US always had a Shadow SOTU and I never noticed until thirsty went viral? Ikanreed (talk) 14:27, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
It dates back to the Reagan era; Reagan's Hollywood image gave him high popularity and he was using it to promote elimination of the Fairness Doctrine. So the news media took it upon themselves to institutionalize and privatize ("self policing") the rationale behind the Fairness Doctrine. nobsISIS is SISI spelled backwards. 14:49, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Some things don't change, like Rob being wrong.... Father Vivian O'Blivion talkModerator 16:42, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia article on RationalWiki[edit]

Currently, the Wikipedia article for RationalWiki is a redirect to a subsubsectionWikipedia's W.svg of the ConservapediaWikipedia's W.svg article. I would like to recreate the article, with thisWikipedia's W.svg as the prospective page, for the reasons I outline hereWikipedia's W.svg. Unfortunately, RationalWiki still isn't mentioned by many reliable sources, but certainly more than in the pastWikipedia's W.svg. (A lot of the books in which it is cited were written 2011-2014.) Regardless, before I go ahead and ask to recreate it on the Wikipedia talk page, I wanted to get a consensus from the RationalWiki community over whether we think that RationalWiki should have a Wikipedia article. Currently, I put the tally at +1 (for). Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 21:20, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

You only need to use the wpl template inside articles. Otherwise, a wp: link or an external link would do. As for the rest... deja vu. Unless a miracle has happened and reliable sources covering RW have suddenly appeared, such an article is a futile effort.--ZooGuard (talk) 21:27, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Why not. +1. --TiaC (talk) 21:28, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
It's not gonna fly. You state "it has been cited in numerous reliable sources", then link that to a list of 'sources' which opens with "RationalWiki pages are often shared on Reddit". That's the complete opposite of a reliable source. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:34, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Weaseloid, did you look at the other 25 references? Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 21:38, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
There are 46 numbered references. At least half of them are to RW itself, and at least half of the rest are bad or irrelevant.--ZooGuard (talk) 21:41, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
ZooGuard and Weaseloid, look hereWikipedia's W.svg for said citations.
I looked at some of them but they weren't much better. If you're serious about making a case for inclusion, strip out the junk like Reddit and list just the reliable sources (as per the WP definition) that use RW. Burying them among a load of irrelevant clutter won't win anybody over. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:21, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I had a look at the proposed article text. It's... poor. You might be able to create a separate article, but it will be a stub - there are just not enough good references to support the majority of the statements.--ZooGuard (talk) 21:41, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I quite frankly don't care.--Palaeonictis (talk) 21:44, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Start here.Wikipedia's W.svg While our notability gets better and better with each day, we're still not there yet. This is why I've yet to do much with the article as I wait for something like, I dunno, a major publication to cite our Gamergate article so we can swing hard for the fences. While we may be notable in terms of search results, we aren't cited much by anything other than Snopes, which I don't think is enough. Zero (talk - contributions) 21:45, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I saw that. (There's another one in the sandboxes, here) I think I'll cut down my proposed article to match yours, so that more sources are not primary. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 21:50, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Keep in mind that Wikipedia's rules are much more strict than ours. The article has been rejected more than once, so keep that in mind as you try your hand. Zero (talk - contributions) 21:52, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Look at the previous deletion cases & identify what has changed since - in terms of meeting the Wikipedia notability criteria, mentions by reliable sources, etc. That's the only thing that's going to make this work. Good luck with that.
Also, what's the reasoning behind this? Is it just a status symbol thing for the wiki? There are no articles linking to RationalWiki, very few that mention it, & I can't think of any others that would or should, so I'm not at all convinced that a WP article about RW would serve any purpose. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:21, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
“Self-described progressive perspective”?
I don’t dispute that RationalWiki tilts to the left (you need only compare the Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter articles as definitive proof). But where exactly has this been stated as RationalWiki’s official perspective; or as you phrase it, self-described progressive? Described where? Just curious. Slings and Arrows (talk) 22:08, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I doubt Wikipedia's editors will allow an article given the history; nothing has fundamentally changed. It's also not an RW issue but a WP issue. I will add: for WP's notability criteria, it's not enough for sites to cite RW as a source of information. The sites have to talk about RW, what the site is about, etc. That cuts your references for notability down considerably. Sterile (talk) 22:41, 19 January 2015 (UTC) and 22:44, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the ideas and/or criticism, everyone, I will try to incorporate it all. It seems that the consensus is that RW doesn't meet notability standards yet. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 23:29, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

Does this meet WP:WEBN criteria?[edit]

I haven't changed the proposed article. But I've sorted out the references I had, and found 4 that meet "describes RationalWiki, at least in a minor way" criteria. Would this be sufficient to justify an article? If it is sufficient, would we want an article with those 4 sources? Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 00:39, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

By the way, while poking around I found this. See citation 3. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 00:52, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
There are only five mentions of RW in WP, including that redirect to CP. Meh! - that doesn't exactly make RW WikiNotableWikipedia's W.svg!
If you want to lock an article into WP, you need to cite some really solid, ideally online, third-party sources as references - especially if you are trying to recreate a deleted article (or - heaven forbid! - trolling). Self-references are worth patoot; but references in major news media are superb.
When you create a slightly dodgy WP article, you need to know how: to make it look pretty, to categorise it, and to link into it from other WP articles. And, how to drop it in with all those frills as rapid support.
You have two hurdles to negotiate. (1) Anal-retentive low-level editors who flag lots of new articles as AfD. You can't do much about them, and they're not that dangerous anyway. (2) Higher-level editors who do know what they're doing. (I once created a WP disambiguation page which includes an in-joke. Editor #1 didn't get the joke, but flagged the page AfD. Editor #2 didn't get the joke either, but told editor #1 to effoff, and approved the page. It's still there.)
Do not go off on half-cock. (1) Add some of the most sound RW articles into WP articles as extra info, in good faithWikipedia's W.svg (I mean that sincerely). Redlink [[RationalWiki]] on your edits (it saves time later). (1a) Don't link to satirical RW articles: your edits will not survive. (2) Draft a really good informative NPOVWikipedia's W.svg article about RW (again, with sincerity). (3) Mail me ;-) ProblemChimp (talk) 02:00, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Does either Zero's article or my article meet your standards for categories, NPOV, informativeness, prettiness?
You mention adding "sound RationalWiki articles into Wikipedia articles as extra info". Do you mean in the external links section, or what?
Thanks for the advice! It's needed. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 02:47, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
@@Fuzzy @@Zero Good efforts by both of you:) Rather than clog up this thread, let's continue the discussion on my talk page. I'll have a think, and post my thoughts there. ProblemChimp (talk) 19:22, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Why don't you go ask at WP? Seriously, it's irrelevant what happens in this discussion, as the article will be at WP, not here. Sterile (talk) 16:29, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

It's relevant as far as it manages to advertise RW across the interwebs, one may suppose. (talk) 16:45, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
My €2: Rewrite the Intro to focus on RW's Mission Statement and limit or avoid references to CP, Andy Schlafly, or the early days. RW has always existed to refute crank science and investigate authoritarianism as far back as best I can remember, long before it became an incorporated entity. nobsISIS is SISI spelled backwards. 15:03, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
My €2: don't take Nobs' advice on anything. See WP:talk:RationalWiki for how much fun he is to work with on this. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:40, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
It's not relevant, because whatever justification you come up with here will have to be argued over there. Again. Sterile (talk) 14:02, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

List of people whose prophecies (good, bad/punishments) were foretold before/after birth.[edit]

Does anybody know which article(s) will provide such information's entitled? -- (Russ.mo (talk) 14:03, 20 January 2015 (UTC))

Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like? WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:38, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
People foretold before afterbirth probably had some very peculiar issues in the maternity ward. Queexchthonic murmurings 19:57, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
In-depth studies suggest that the following list is complete:

ProblemChimp (talk) 21:56, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Ignore the other cunts. Are you asking what articles there are that talk about "prophecies" that appear to be legitimate but aren't? I don't know how to answer, but maybe somebody else does. (talk) 14:55, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes I am, and thank you. Is their any other place in 'Rationalwiki' where people are value posts like you and me. This 'saloon bar' seem like its for jokers only. I'm new to rationalwiki... -- (Russ.mo (talk) 19:31, 22 January 2015 (UTC))

Circumcision and autism hysteria[edit]

So there is some study being passed around that implies that circumcision causes autism. While I don't exactly care for the idea of circumcising babies, I find this claim rather dubious. WIGO, clog, or off-topic? ShapeshiftingLizard ~▲~ hear me roar ~▲~ 23:41, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

"Rather dubious" on what basis? Any problems with the methodology or analysis, or are you just dismissing it because it contradicts your preconceptions on the subject? WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:57, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Judging from the abstract only, this actually smells legit (or rather, doesn't smell like complete bullshit at the outset)... Doesn't mean it's true of course, we've seen other articles is medical journals with made-up claims about autism, as we all know, and perhaps ShapeshiftingLizard's bullshit sniffer has been set too sensitive... Regardless, circumcision seems like a profoundly traumatic experience to me, and doing some damage doesn't surprise me (then again, I'm biased, since like most people from countries where this practice is uncommon I consider it to be somewhat barbaric) ... Hope someone here has the time to do a full reading/analysis & tell us about it :-) Carpetsmoker (talk) 00:42, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Well the first question should be: Are there any differences in the prevalence of Autism spectrum disorders between countries in which circumcision is common and countries where it is uncommon and are the differences in the prevalence of Autism as relating to the prevalence circumcision consistent? Alsto003 (talk) 01:52, 21 January 2015 (UTC) Alex
I don't think it's too dubious to suppose that certain traumas during very young ages might help induce autism. I kinda wonder if it's any specific 'type' of autism that's induced this way or if it goes for all the variants collected under the ASD umbrella. (talk) 09:39, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
I was under the impression that genetic factors and physical damage to the brain were most significant in the development of ASDs. Is there recognised research supporting a purely environmental causation, or an interaction between environment and injury/genetics factors? I'm very much down on the idea of medically unnecessary circumcision, and consider child circumcision basically well-intentioned abuse, but this link seems like an enormous stretch. It smells like a variation on 'tiny factors from early childhood that people can't even remember have a huge impact on their adulthood, because of spiritual energy or something' woo. Queexchthonic murmurings 11:42, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Having skimmed the paper, it looks sound enough, although the HR was only about 1.5. That's statistically significant, but not necessarily practically significant. Where the intervention has known benefits (such as measles vaccination) and the condition is not particularly serious (childhood convulsions) an OR of 3 is not considered high enough to be a concern (that's an actual example, by the way). In this case, the condition is rather more serious, being a lifelong problem, and the benefit of the intervention is basically nothing, so even such a modest increase in risk could be salient. I'd want to see the result replicated, though. The discussion includes further examples where obstetric stress has been linked to conditions, so there's the possibility that the timing of the circumcision is the problem. Follow-up studies examining that would be very interesting. If delaying circumcision reduces the risk to 'normal' levels, then that might be more acceptable to those who view circumcision as a religious requirement than an attempt to discourage it entirely. Queexchthonic murmurings 11:54, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
My first thought is what about female autism? Is it actually more common in males that this would be a valid study? (At least in the US specifically, female circumcision not being prevalent here obviously) Trick (talk) 14:30, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
90ish% of autism cases are male. There's probably underdiagnosis of autistic girls, from what I hear, but it's still pretty heavily weighted male. Ikanreed (talk) 14:38, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough. Actually reading the study it seems fairly sound. From what I've inferred about certain ASDs it seems to be a sort of refusal for the brain to trim superfluous synapses resulting in what can be perceived as an over-firing of neurons, but obviously I haven't looked into it enough to even try to say I'm actually right. If that is the case though, trauma can sometimes push the body into an inactive state. Abuse has been shown to cause a stunted emotional development, sometimes manifesting in higher pitched voices as well, so it wouldn't be a huge stretch here. Trick (talk) 14:50, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
In review of the paper it's a bit different than originally presented. It states that the pain/trauma of any procedure without adequate anesthesia, with circumcision being the most common, will show a higher correlation with autism disorders (last paragraph introduction). It then lumps autism, any other pervasive developmental disorder, hyperkinetic disorder, and asthma into their group of outcomes. It also tracks the kids till they are 9-10 to see if any symptoms show up...with adjusting for birth issues but not adjusting for injuries. It seems important to note if a kid was in an accident and sustained a head injury.
They also state in the weaknesses that only 10% of the kids were likely circumcised by Danish doctors, and that they don't have records of analgesics or possible local anesthetics used during or after the procedure (~11 paragraph down in weaknesses). Wait, wasn't that the point of the introduction? The study suggests a correlation...but it's really a fishing expedition that even states in the conclusion that nothing has been proven. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 16:24, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
From the conclusion to the abstract. "We confirmed our hypothesis that boys who undergo ritual circumcision may run a greater risk of developing ASD."
They confirmed an hypothesis that something "may" be true? Maybe I am unfamiliar with the terminology but surely virtually anything "may" be true - do you even need an experiment to confirm that something "may" be true? In any event - shouldn't these things be constructed to dis-confirm an hypothesis rather then confirm it?
It certainly seems like a pretty weak finding to me but perhaps those more familiar with the wording of such studies can clarify.--Coffee (talk) 15:01, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
It's not shown when the study origionally loads, but I think you can see why they say "may" in table 2. I like using a different methodolgy then they do but some of their intervals are strangely wide. Like they look at age of the mother at 19 a 1.22 raw confidence score between .99 and 1.49, while circumcision for boys over 24 months of age shows 1.74 between 0.43 and 7.04. Wider is not good. They also seem to exclude correlations between the variables, like birth weight and chromosomal problems will likely be related to each other and to a dx of autism. A correlation coefficient will show how well they relate to each other and the model...that probably shouldn't be absent. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 18:27, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
O.... kay. But what methodology would you use to demonstrate that something "may" be true? I might rephrase it to: "We confirmed our hypothesis that ghosts may exist."
Is that really useful?--Coffee (talk) 18:37, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Short answer: It's quite possible to have scientific studies that lend support to a hypothesis without necessarily confirming it. In fact, my thesis was one such study, where I arrived at a conclusion suggesting my hypothesis was correct, but without enough data/evidence to say for certain. In and of itself, there's nothing suspicious about the use of "may" in this context. I haven't read the study and don't plan to, but ECW's objections may have merit. Either way, the use of "may" shouldn't really be one of them. - Grant (talk) 19:00, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Seems pretty reasonable to me. The study demonstrates a correlation, but doesn't necessarily prove causation, and further research may be needed to ultimately prove the hypothesis. This is how a lot of scientific knowledge is generated, especially in areas like psychology which are influenced by many factors: a single study may not prove something conclusively but when the outcomes of various different studies point to the same conclusions they build a stronger framework. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:39, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Right, but to be an ass about it, wakefield showed a correlation as well, and his was established through data abuse. Going in with an assumption of good faith is okay. But I'm going to still treat that as an assumption. It's pretty clear that they were looking for this one specific correlation, with suspect causative mechanisms implied. Ikanreed (talk) 20:21, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
It's good practice to remain skeptical about any one study's results until more studies are carried out to either support or refute it. Inferring anything more or less is silly. After all, the whole point of publishing a paper (in the broad sense) is to allow others to build on your work. - Grant (talk) 20:29, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Sorry about that too much stats. I think it is that something where they are correlated. However, the correlation is so low and their confidence intervals are so large that it's hard to say if it is more than noise. (Sorry, more stats but it can help) Like a correlation coefficient of 2 variables of 0 shows no correlation, .5 is significant, and 1 perfectly correlated (one directly causes the other). A correlation below .25 shows something may be there...but it might not be. They did so many varibales at once it can be hard to tell what may be true. It is certainly something you do when you want to gather interesting and funding into a more comprehensive study. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 20:12, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Hypothesis: X may be caused by Y.
So I look for evidence which confirms my hypothesis and I am able to demonstrate a correlation between between X and Y. But isn't this a fine example of Confirmation bias? The tendency we all have of looking for data which supports our beliefs instead of looking for data which would show we were wrong.--Coffee (talk) 21:30, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
What grounds do you have to suggest that the authors cherry-picked data? That's effectively what you're suggesting happened here. - Grant (talk) 21:43, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
It's not that they conducted a scientific experiment trying to confirm their hypothesis instead of trying to falsify it. They observed the situation as it occurred naturally and found a correlation that might indicate their hypothesis is correct and at the very least doesn't contradict it. (talk) 21:53, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
EC. I have not read the full article and only glanced at the abstract so I may well be accusing them of actions they have not taken. However the statement in the conclusion - which I quoted previously - "We confirmed our hypothesis that boys who undergo ritual circumcision may run a greater risk of developing ASD." seems to suggest that that were specifically looking for evidence which confirmed their hypothesis rather then the reverse.
EC. Quite possibly the full article talks about them looking for evidence which would show the opposite case - but I have not read that.--Coffee (talk) 21:57, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
I think you might be slightly confused about how scientific research works. Let's say I hypothesize that Newton's force of gravity is correct (let's assume relativity doesn't exist for now to make things simpler). I go and measure the force of gravity all over the place, and I find that all over the universe, the data supports Newton's force of gravity. How would you propose I seek out data to show the opposite case? I don't understand why you think the two things are different. Scientists look at the data and draw conclusions from it; the same data set would be used to either support or refute their hypothesis, unless they cherry-picked and tossed out data that didn't go their way. - Grant (talk) 22:07, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
They related their conclusions to their hypothesis. That's how it's done, and it doesn't indicate anything amiss. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:27, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
(EC) I would say that is oversimplfying it a bit. Finding a rough correlation is also the start of solving many complex problems, like drug interactions or genetic factors to tolerance of certain pharmacy agents (examples). If one only uses the first study, or makes conclusions without additional confirmation, or manipulates studies to get the answer one wants then absolutely. The study doesn't look dishonest to me...just sloppy. Stats is a tool that can be (and is) abused by people who how to which is why a critical eye is sometimes sadly needed. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 22:03, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

SA thread about RW[edit]

lol there is a funny SA thread about you guys. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 11:31, 21 January 2015‎

That is nice. You didn't want to bring a link or something? - π 11:35, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
What's an "SA"? Scream!! (talk) 11:46, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
I assume Something Awful. - π 11:48, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
In which case, I don't want to see the link. Spud (talk) 13:04, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
they already show picture of david gerard ahaha74.14.72.118 (talk) 02:27, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
I just searched for RationalWiki on the forums. No, we don't have a thread about us. Mentions of RW on SomethingAwful remain the same as always: uncommon, and usually citing a specific article or remarking how shit/not shit we are. They don't care about us nearly enough to create a viable thread. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 02:58, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Question about categories[edit]

Is it possible to add a page to a category without the page showing up on that category's page? For example, if I added "Swag" to "Category:RationalWiki", would it be possible for "Swag" to be a member of "Category:RationalWiki" without "Swag" appearing in the list of articles on "Category:RationalWiki"?

If so, how can it be done? Thanks. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 02:32, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

I guess you could make "HIGH priority articles" a hidden category and put it on the main article. (talk) 06:05, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Does this help? Redchuck.gif Генгисpillaging Moderator 12:22, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
I think he's asking for the opposite of a hidden category - a category link that appears at the bottom of an article (in the usual place) but then doesn't place that article within the category itself. As to why such a thing should be desirable, I have no idea. I guess maybe it could have some usage in funspace to add category links to a fun page without polluting mainspace categories with funspace entries, but that doesn't seem like a very useful exercise. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:38, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, that's what he's asking, but there's no obvious way to do that that I'm aware of (well, you could juxtapose a fake category box on top of the real one, but he needs the pages to actually be in the category for the DPL thing to work). What he's aiming for can also be achieved by putting a hidden category on the article page, however, and hidden categories are conveniently a thing that exists. (talk) 13:45, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
There is a way to pick which namespace with DPL but it's been a long time. IMHO, it's silly to play around with categories for one person's needs when categories are meant to make things easier for everyone. Sterile (talk) 14:00, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
If I could place the "X-priority" categories on the articles themselves, this wouldn't be an issue. But RW only tags talkpages with said categories, and there's no template that can do it for all pages currently ranked.
I've fixed the issue, though. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 19:45, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
What issue have you fixed? €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:48, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
The DPLs load now. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 19:50, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

I think I found an example of medical woo that isn't yet in a RationalWiki article.[edit]

It's the NutriMost "Ultimate Fat Loss System"; an example of the many nearly identical websites promoting it (Herbalife-style) can be found here (not the website I first learned about it through): http://www.indthin.com/

It promises to allow you to lose 30 pounds in 40 days on average, with no exercise, by following a 500-calorie daily diet and taking an alkaline pill on the tongue and using a special "NutriMost Resonant Frequency" machine that is known to be questionable and used in many other CAM schemes: http://www.devicewatch.org/reports/zyto/overview.shtml

I'm feeling lazy and not sure whether this deserves its own article, but just look at the woo-words used to describe it. Julyo (talk) 13:46, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Sounds like a run-of-the-mill OMG TOXINS!!! cure. Go ahead and write up an article, though. I think no one would mind if you did one. Ikanreed (talk) 20:30, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

The To-Do List[edit]

I'm not clear on how things are added to the To Do list, or whether it's even worth it to do so, especially if people are drifting away. Calieber (talk) 04:40, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Click edit. Add a new poll to the top of the list with its new number. Add your suggestion, preferably with wikilinks and external links.
Don't worry about "drift" for poting on To Do. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 05:12, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I must have been overcomplicating it. Calieber (talk) 05:55, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

I created a wiki about rational proofs[edit]

I order to end the Pseudoscience movement, I wanted to create a wiki about rational proofs. This wiki would be a reliable source on various subject such as physics, mathematics, computer science... After a few hours of hard work, here it is: proofs.wiki. This wiki has two types of pages: prerequisites and proofs. Prerequisites are information you need to know in order to understand the proof. The target of this wiki would be to create a network of interconnected proofs and prerequisites. What do you guys think about this idea? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 10:27, 25 January 2015‎

As far as rigorous mathematical proofs go, what you’re proposing already exists: see here. (talk) 06:45, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to take a different tone and say that proving things is only very rarely necessary, and contributes a few critical basic bits of rationalism, but mostly to establish the value of empiricism, which is the overwhelming driver of a rational worldview. Ikanreed (talk) 14:27, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Furthermore proofs are only directly relevant to mathematics and logic (although both are certainly used by science.) A lot of pseudoscience is actually based off of solid theoretical thinking, thinking that just doesn't match observed evidence. Sure math and logic are useful, but we need evidence to really kill irrationality. Samstr (talk) 19:52, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
(Off topic) I feel like there was a character with the name "Samstr" in The Talos Principle. Does that name come from something I'm unfamiliar with in philosophy? Ikanreed (talk) 20:02, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Cover story nominees!!![edit]

There's more than I thought. Can anyone push any of these forward? Potato just added NaturalNews, which I largely concur on and which is actually really important. Please do feel free to get nitpicking - David Gerard (talk) 15:45, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Let's do it!!! Yeah!!! Excitement!!!
Talk:Moon landing hoax#Cover! (sticky), Talk:9-11 conspiracy theories#Cover (sticky), and Talk:2012 apocalypse#Renominating all look pretty decent. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 20:57, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Ben Goldacre's new book[edit]

Out in stores now. |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Red rose 02.svg RationalWiki, did you kill Rita? 18:32, 26 January 2015 (UTC)


The "Main page" makes the laughable claim that RationalWiki’s number one “purpose” is to “analyze and refute pseudoscience”. Well, nothing could be further from the truth (or more comical).

Anyone looking for a real analysis of a pseudoscientific claim (for instance: free energy, perpetual motion machines, etc.), best look elsewhere; you won’t find much of that here. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find any mathematics, physics, or science at all. So far, I have only been able to turn up one article where RationalWiki actually analyzed the mathematical claims made by a physics crank; and that was only at the most rudimentary and superficial level.

However, what I have found is article after article discussing sexism, racism, sexuality, religion, politics, etc.; and without exception, always from a progressive/liberal perspective.

Isn’t it time for RationalWiki to drop the false pretext that is concerned with analyzing and refuting pseudoscience? No one believes that. Why not just flat-out, openly admit that RationalWiki is yet another liberal social media site? Slings and Arrows (talk) 21:54, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

I just hit "random page" ten times and didn't randomly encounter any such liberal claptrap. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:38, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
*cough* *cough* *cough* Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 22:01, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Does this count as a {{drink}} post? Sorta seems like it. Admittedly we don't cover ANY pseudoscience. Ikanreed (talk) 22:05, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Also, just looking into it, I like the implication that our article on, say, racism is just so left-wing when it talks almost exclusively about historical racism. It's like pointing out racism where it exists is left wing. I get the impression what you actually don't like is that racism is bullshit, scientifically speaking. Ikanreed (talk) 22:15, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that the numbering of the lines in the mission statement is supposed to reflect some kind of absolute priority.--ZooGuard (talk) 22:33, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, of course anything that is openly yelling conservative propaganda repeatedly is a liberal conspiracy. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 22:42, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Of its total, less than 1% of RationalWiki’s articles are devoted to “analyzing and refuting pseudoscience”. And of that paltry number, the articles usually amount to little more than providing links to external sites; which in turn, may or may not do an actual scientific analysis.
Now remember, this is supposed to be RationalWiki’s number one stated purpose. You’ll have to excuse me for laughing. Slings and Arrows (talk) 22:46, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
This number comes from what analysis? -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 22:49, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
It is hard to pin down an exact number; RationalWiki is constantly changing. And I did consider many statistical approaches. However, the easiest approach is to simply use the “Random Page” and count the occurrence of pseudoscience articles. Try it yourself; it consistently yields less than 1%. Slings and Arrows (talk) 23:24, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Check out my cough immediately below. You are factually incorrect. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 23:33, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
*cough* Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 23:03, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
You should go see a doctor for that nasty cough, Fuzzy. Preferably a practitioner of evidence-based medicine. (talk) 23:10, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
As I pointed out above, the numbering is not supposed to reflect a priority, so the "number one stated purpose" line gets stale very quickly. The mission statement also doesn't mention explicitly conspiracy theories, yet a lot of pages are dedicated to them. Does that mean that they are off-mission?--ZooGuard (talk) 23:19, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
The whole point being, why is it listed at all? Shouldn’t the stated purpose reflect what is *actually* taking place? And listing it first, is a blatant deception; it’s not even worth mentioning. Slings and Arrows (talk) 23:51, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
According to Essay:RationalWiki's content and mission, which I just mentioned, 18.75 percent of RW articles are pseudoscience- or antiscience-related. So how is 1/5 of content not worth mentioning? Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 00:10, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
why is it listed at all?Because its part of our mission? If you have a problem with a lack of coverage, go make the articles you think we must be missing.--Miekal 00:11, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
So, the 1% number was a lie? You are blatently deceiving to start an argument about...deception. That's all sorts of meta hypocrisy. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 00:25, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Do you really believe that 1 out of 5 RationalWiki articles are pseudoscience related? Just a quick cursory examination will show that to be false. Take a closer look. It’s less than 1%.
And I don’t think anything is missing, or needs adding. The stated purpose as displayed on the “Main page”, gives a false impression. Shouldn’t it be changed to reflect reality? Slings and Arrows (talk) 00:29, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Rationalwiki Ideal: A bunch of articles of Pseudo-X, Authoritarianism and how these are handled in the media. If we are lacking in coverage, then we are missing something from the ideal. So if you think we don't talk about Pseudo science topics enough, why not go make the articles instead of unproductively bitching about how we're liars here? --Miekal 00:33, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Your claim, your burden of proof. If someone else needs to do so because you lied about that number then it is no one else's problem. Why should anyone believe someone who lacks integrity like this? -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 00:37, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
More pseudo-science articles is always a good thing, and while I think the BoN is probably trolling there is something to be said about articles that are way off ever being useful that seem to pop up (the first article that appeared for me when I clicked random article was 'British Isles'). I clicked 10 times and I had 4 articles come up that addressed pseudo-science in some fashion. For example one article was Eric Hovind, obviously not about pseudo-science but addressing his pseudo-scientific claims, another was about Phillip DeFina. The other 6 articles were about how the media reports on various issues (I forget the exact name but about moral panic in tabloids for example), and a few that should probably be deleted such as the aforementioned British Isles. Tielec01 (talk) 03:03, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Doing the same experiment. Lemonade diet - hit. Charter for Compassion - miss. Mount Rushmore - miss and WTH? Soundness - call that a hit. Kim Il Sung - miss. Marian Fitness - miss and WTH? Alphabet - hit. Food allergy - hit. Traditional values - miss. Cdk007 - miss. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 04:10, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

The words “lie” and “liar” didn’t come from me; although I have been repeatedly called a “liar”. I have only claimed that as it now currently reads, the Main Page is deceptive; it’s not a lie, but it is misleading.

So let’s examine the facts. Articles which deal specifically with “pseudoscience”, always have a light green banner which reads: “Style over substance, Pseudoscience”.

Select the “Random Page” and see how often that banner appears? It comes up less than 1% of the time. Try doing this yourself.

Also, there isn’t any “analysis and refutation”. None! For instance, check out the article on physics crank “Nassim Haramein”, which is a typical example. The article doesn’t analyze anything, it simply tells you that Haramein is a crank.

Now that is probably true, but you basically just have to take RationalWiki’s word for it. And that is pretty much the case with all of the pseudoscience articles; that is, the few that can be found. There is very little discussion of pseudoscience at RationalWiki, and almost never any “analysis”. Slings and Arrows (talk) 04:23, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Actually, the "pseudoscience" template is something of a catchall, and does not include pseudoscience that falls into more specific categories with their own templates like creationism, alternative medicine, cryptozoology, or magic. I've tried to make the templates more informative and useful and created a couple myself, but the pseudoscience template is a top level category, and esthetic considerations prevent templates from appearing on each potentially eligible article also. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 04:30, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

What is even the point of this discussion? Could the articles be better? Yes. That is why it is on a wiki so that people can come along and edit it. Really we are lacking editors with the time, knowledge and commitment to edit the 6,805 articles this wiki has. It is worth noting this was not what RationalWiki was founded for, it was originally more of a forum with a bad choice of format. That is why there are 118,576 pages on the wiki in total, most are probably talkpage archives. - π 04:50, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

That is exactly what I suspect; RationalWiki is “lacking editors with the time, knowledge and commitment”. And if it is simply a forum for discussing current events, then the Main Page should drop the false pretense and just say so. Slings and Arrows (talk) 05:22, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Nope, things are not going to be changed to suit what you want. The community wants to build such a thing, maybe it isn't fantastic just now (I personally think we have a good base to start from), but that is the aim. We will work at it slowly and if one day it meets your standards that will be a nice side-product not the objective. - π 05:32, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, I wish you the best of luck and sincerely want to apologize for having laughed at your humble start. Slings and Arrows (talk) 05:44, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Good luck finding another website to concern troll. - π 06:39, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm not really following the point here. The missions (plural) are: "Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement. Documenting the full range of crank ideas. Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism. Analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media."

I may have misunderstood the poster but is he suggesting that the wiki should just be dedicated to one of them? Why?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 08:08, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

He mistakenly thought that because it was a numbered list and pseudoscience was listed first, that was our "number one purpose". He then clicked the "random page" button a couple times and concluded based on this small non-representative sample that we don't have a lot of articles about pseudoscience (as if a particular topic supposedly being more prioritized would necessitate that it takes up a percentually larger part of the wiki than all other topics combined). (talk) 08:27, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

The Main Page claims that RationalWiki’s purpose (and it’s listed as number 1), is “analyzing and refuting pseudoscience”. Hey, I am not making this up; look for yourself.

Well first off, there are fewer than 1% of the total articles that actually deal specifically with pseudoscience.

And second, there isn’t any analysis of pseudoscience taking place. None at all. There is just a handful of articles which typically call someone a crank. Needless to say, that is not “analysis and refutation”; it’s just name calling.

I have suggested that the topic of pseudoscience be removed from the Main Page, since it is not even worth mentioning; no one is analyzing pseudoscience at RationalWiki. It’s just flat-out not happening.

Now if you think I am wrong, then please provide links to RationalWiki articles that are doing “analysis” of pseudoscience. Put up or shut up; as the saying goes. Slings and Arrows (talk) 09:43, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

If only we had a troll picture to put just here. Tielec01 (talk) 09:47, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
To keep feeding a little: Are you aware of the existence of numbers greater than "1"? Even if we look at the first item on the list of four it says: "Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement." You are concentrating on the first part of one item of a list of four. That is not the whole reason for the site's existence.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 10:38, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
You could replace “analyzing pseudoscience” with "conducting cancer research". Hey, why not? No one at RationalWiki is doing that either. But instead, why not just list the main things that RationalWiki is actually doing; whatever that happens to be? Slings and Arrows (talk) 11:04, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
The appropriate answer to Slings and Arrows' latest post is found in two RW articles: Reductio ad absurdum & Bullshit. ScepticWombat (talk) 11:26, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Predictably, you can’t offer up a single article that does an actual analysis of pseudoscience; not even one. I rest my case. Slings and Arrows (talk) 12:09, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Cool. Congratulations you win. Here is your internet medal of bravery. - π 12:17, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
And equally predictably, Slings and Arrows is apparently too lazy to actually check some of the stuff or objections to the 1% claim which have already been mentioned, but, hey, it's no skin off my nose to link to say, homeopathy, Joseph was Imhotep (which is pseudohistory), Intelligent Design, or the anti-vaccination movement. Yup, not "a single article that does an actual analysis of pseudoscience" at all... ScepticWombat (talk) 12:27, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

So in conclusion...[edit]

Your reaction to someone posting an evidence based refutation of your claim that we don't have enough evidence based refutations of pseudoscience is to ignore the evidence. Objecting to the methodology or reproducing the experiment or embracing the data and adjusting your view to something less extreme are apparently all too hard. Ikanreed (talk) 14:27, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't think it is that complicated. He decided he didn't like the content so he lied in order to get it changed. Gret projection as well - decieving to get content changed he thinks is deceiving. From his own admission people often call him a liar because this seems to be a habit. I think he should take a bit more personal responsibility for his honesty, and then he is worth it to listen to. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 15:03, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Can I get a Poe's Law count on this page?[edit]

https://www.facebook.com/C4MB15.0 Necromancer 13:08, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

15.0 - David Gerard (talk) 13:16, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Database connection flaky[edit]

I assume everyone else is seeing the wonky behavior. I'm pretty sure no one needs my expertise to diagnose this, but database host service going down a lot seems like a likely candidate to me. Ikanreed (talk) 15:32, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

I saw it in passing. I'll wave a spanner at it later - David Gerard (talk) 16:55, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

American Sniper: The Controversy Over Oscar Bait[edit]

Disclaimer: This is solely intended to create civil debate and discussion, and its opinions should not be taken seriously. The writer also apologizes for the haphazard writing, as this is one of the most difficult things he has ever written.

Looking back on both times I watched it, American Sniper is an example of a good movie that becomes incredibly problematic once you know the background information and the nature of those who like it. This was a similar problem I had with Grave of the Fireflies, once I found out the director intended it to guilt trip Japanese teenagers in the 1980s into respecting the sacrifices their parents had made just growing up, even though that it was in a country that rivaled the Mongols in the barbarity of their warfare. We are seeing a similar case with the reaction of the people who made Eastwood and Co. $90 million in the box office this weekend, specifically to those dissenters who dared to voice criticism over it, a feat that rivals the fandom of Twilight in terms of sheer boneheadedness.

This criticism has everything to do with the subject of the film, the late Chris Kyle. There's a good BBC article that explains the issue more thoroughly and eloquently, but here is the Cliffsnotes version: In his autobiography that the movie is based on, Kyle wrote about numerous events and factoids that have since been disproven or have been revealed to be utterly fictitious (e.g. the government paid him to shoot looters from the Louisiana Superdome following Hurricane Katrina). He also calls Iraqis “savages” and “evil” in his book.

Now, if that portion of his life made it into the movie, or if the whole thing was a documentary instead, it would have made for a more interesting character that had faith in its audience to think about it. However, not only does Clint Eastwood remove the less positive aspects, but he also removes any political discussion about the war Kyle spent the majority of his time fighting in. The problem is further aggravated by inventing an Islamic terrorist who acts like a wannabe Saturday morning cartoon villain. As a Rolling Stone article on the film puts it, "The really dangerous part of this film is that it turns into a referendum on the character of a single soldier. It's an unwinnable argument in either direction. We end up talking about Chris Kyle and his dilemmas, and not about the Rumsfelds and Cheneys and other officials up the chain who put Kyle and his high-powered rifle on rooftops in Iraq and asked him to shoot women and children." As any American who has visited YouTube and Twitter recently, the dangerous part is very much front and center. It's blatant, one-note jingoism at its worst.

In the end, this is a good movie in all technical areas (save for the baby), but is rendered unwatchable by facts and a rabid fanbase that believe Chris Kyle was a genuine, all-American hero who deserved to have his funeral at Cowboys Stadium. He wasn't, and he didn't. The reason why he has been lionized is because we live in a world that believes that men are either wolves, sheep or their sheepdog protectors, and that women are either wives or whores. That type of thinking is going to ruin us as a species. — Unsigned, by: Dwbaker994 / talk / contribs 19:19, 22 January 2015

It's never too soon to rewrite republican history. Ikanreed (talk) 20:26, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Haven't read the book or seen the movie but am reading the screenplay and a fact-check review. Disclaimer: My father, who is still alive, was a sniper spotter in the South PacificWikipedia's W.svg in WWII. So I'm well aware of the ethics, traditions, and culture of this select group. And no, they are not a bunch of Eichmann's who just follow orders, neither are they braggarts like President Obama about killing people. Their is distinct, rational process, that must be taught and followed by young people, usually with no advanced education, as to when to make that decision both you and your opponent will regret. nobsISIS is SISI spelled backwards. 00:05, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
There were a couple of thought-provoking remarks today in a CiF thread in The Guardian (OK OK I know...).
  1. This I did know: the Soviet Army utilised many women snipers during WW2, including Ludmila PavlichenkoWikipedia's W.svg, credited with 309 kills in one year's active service. This song about her might raise some eyebrows when you see who wrote it.
  2. This I didn't know: people on sniper selection courses think they're being assessed for intelligence. Not quite: the instructors are selecting intelligent psychopaths.
Dad fought as an infantryman in Normandy in 1944. He doesn't like to talk about it. I do though remember him once saying, 60 years after the event: "I've thrown a Mills BombWikipedia's W.svg through a doorway. There were people inside." We changed the subject, I've never seen him so upset. No way could he ever have been a sniper: no "killer instinct". No coffee-boiler, though: he was later seriously wounded while leading the battalion he commanded against a dug-in Nazi position.
Now reread knob's post, carefully, and draw what conclusions you will. ProblemChimp (talk) 02:50, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree with you, it was a good movie and it makes a point that when you are a soldier you have to make really difficult decisions, I recall reading a graphic novel depicting an Israeli soldier who I think fought in the Lebanese Civil War. He may have become a leftist activist later, I can't remember, but most of what the book was addressing was what exactly the fighting was doing to him. There is a scene where they are confronted by a kid who was not even yet a teenager pointing an RPG at them, and they shot him. It stuff like that which causes the enemy civilians to become dehumanized to the soldiers. That being said as deplorable and despicable as the tactics of the opposing side were, it still doesn't change the fact that had Bush Cheney and Co. not invaded Iraq for no good reason, Mr. Kyle wouldn't have needed to kill anybody. "You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!" General William Tecumseh Sherman Alsto003 (talk) 23:32, 28 January 2015 (UTC) Alex

You guys are misreading the battlelines here; it's not between gun-toting-redneck-tea partiers and and anti-war pacifists. The real fight's between Kyle supporters and Paulbots who support Jesse Ventura. You should see the angry comments streaming into Jesse Ventura's Facebook page right now. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 04:06, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, I don't buy that crap from a guy who sees Muslims as "savages" in his own book. --Nord Ronnoc (talk) 23:45, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
You're still missing the point: the SEAL community is at war with itself. Jesse Ventura, a veteran SEAL who was at one time used by the SEALs for recruiting and to address graduating classes, lent his name to the redneck Paulbot isolationist anti-Iraq war movement, is now persona non grata among trueblue redneck redstate hero-worshipping America, leaving the Paulbots in a quandry: do they support a glorified sniper-killer like Kyle or a pacifist thumbsucking liberal like Ventura. Remember the axiom, don't stand in the way when opponent is self destructing. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 00:15, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't know where you get this, but Ventura was an UDT Operative. Just checked. So no, with that information, SEAL was not at war with itself. And Ventura was a conspiracy theorist, a 9/11 Truther. And Kyle used libel against him, so I didn't shed any tears when Ventura won.
On another note, how were your ramblings related to American Sniper in any way, shape, or form?--Nord Ronnoc (talk) 05:46, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Look at Ventura's photo in the WP bio - he's wearing a SEALs T-shirt. I've heard him brag he was a SEAL. The did not use the name SEAL til about c.1981, but it evolved out of UDTs from the Vietnam era. At the time of the incident, Ventura was in San Diego to address a SEAL graduating class; upto that point, Ventura was probably the most successful SEAL in his post-active duty afterlife having been elected governor of a state. Evidently (as I understand it), Ventura's speaking engagements (presumably to SEAL graduating classes and other public appearances) dropped off and his income decline. He allegedly suffered financial damages. This was years before the book was ever published (which never claimed Ventura did anything) or Kyle publicly told his side of the story. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 16:27, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Jesse Ventura (May Allah's Justice Prevail) just pulled a Godwin. He must be loosing the argument. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 13:23, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Every time Clint Eastwood comes out with a new shoot ‘em up, it’s a sure bet I’ll be at the movie theater at least half a dozen times; and then doling out for Pay-Per-View, Netflix, and DVD’s. Eastwood has been systematically emptying my wallet for decades, and is out to do it again. There oughta to be a law… Slings and Arrows (talk) 05:05, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Board of Trustees Election[edit]

So i think it's prudent to mention that nominations (and thus acceptance of them) ends in 4 days (really 3), and that so far we don't even have enough people to fill out a majority on the board itself, let alone Elections for those spots.

This, for obvious reasons, is not a good thing. What do we do to get people to care?--Miekal 04:36, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Accept your nomination? - David Gerard (talk) 09:58, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
and be responsible for things I'm not good at? That's asking for disaster. --Miekal 17:19, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Okay, fine. Now I believe the death spiral claim people were making. Disaffection is the first sign, right? Ikanreed (talk) 17:23, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Disaffection has been ongoing a long time. The last few months I've noticed more long-time RW regulars drifting away from the site than in any other period I can remember. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:10, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Is this true? Anyone know why? OK, I guess I fit the bill here, but I think my "drifting away" is coincidental. Not sure why, really. DickTurpis (talk) 04:37, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I think the real reason that very few people responded to the nomination thing is that RNS didn't ever get the intercom message up, so most people didn't notice or forgot. (As evidenced by the fact that, when I spammed everyone on the list, everyone accepted or rejected.) So I don't know if this qualifies as "nobody caring".
Who here thinks that RW is losing its community in general? Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 05:06, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I wouldn't call myself a long time regular, so it somewhat surprised me to be nominated. I'm still not sure whether I'm well matched to the culture here, and apparently managed to get myself kicked off the Facebook group. It really surprised me that I would be considered for a position of authority here. Y'all must be desperate. I stick around despite some disaffection for the site, because I have a longstanding interest in crank and curious literature. It seemed a good place to write about them, and I like doing this. - Smerdis of Tlön, A ⇒ ¬A. 05:15, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
The Facebook group and Wiki are basically two entirely different groups and cultures that just happen to share the same name and a degree of user overlap, that's about it, so it shouldn't surprise you at all that one area doesn't negatively touch you here as well.--Miekal 05:18, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
@Fuzzy in particular, I would say that the only reason anybody (besides the 2 early acceptors) are accepting (or declining) the nominations for the group responsible for keeping the website up only after being reminded that there is even an election going on, (and that we still have less than a full board) shows a general disaffection or, worse, not caring. --Miekal 05:23, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Did this intercom message not post? I was able to see it. Nutty Roux (talk) 06:06, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Messages sent to the "general site news" group are only seen by those in said group, which I imagine consists only of yourself. I sent out the same message to "Site wide (urgent)" as that's the only group that everybody is a part of by default. Noisemobile (talk) 09:08, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
From what I can tell the Facebook group wields the banhammer in a manner that would make Karajou balk. I think I've escaped only because I decided pursuing certain topics wasn't worth the effort. Nevertheless, since I always personally saw RW as more of a forum than a resource, it has probably usurped some of my efforts which otherwise might have been spent here. DickTurpis (talk) 06:08, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
There are just 4 active admins (on a daily basis) on the FB site—so it is pretty much a close-knit cabal—and as far as I can tell only one is active on this wiki. Most of those who pissed off the old-guard appear to have buggered off elsewhere. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic? Moderator 15:04, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Ultimately every one at RW follows my orders so it doesn't matter what bogus elections you have, BECAUSE I AM THE NEW GOD OF THE INTERNET.--Palaeonictis (talk) 06:03, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

I think that people might take more interest in the board if the board occasionally communicated with or regularly interacted with the site in some way.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 18:27, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

You are welcome to implement whatever plan you wish, Bob, when you run again (and I'm not sure what plan you implemented before). Most of this year was minor legal issues that I wouldn't discuss with the entire world, and the finances are a number that goes up and down. There hasn't been much of a stomach for off-wiki plans either on the board or here, and hence that line of thought was very minimal this year. Sterile (talk) 18:50, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I implemented no plan that I can recall. I was simply suggesting that the apparent invisibility of the board on the site may the reason for a certain lack of enthusiasm in respect of the elections. No doubt if you have a better explanation you will present it.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 20:02, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I think the reason people don't want to run is that people are oddly critical of the people on the board, in part. There's nothing for me to explain. I'm not sure what being less visible means--hey, we had a financial report! and we talked about legal matters! shall I post it 18 times?--and I question the assumption that the board needs to be less invisible. Perhaps you can explain your assumption. Sterile (talk) 01:13, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't think people are "oddly critical" of the board at all. The only conversions I can recall about the board are ones where people wonder if minutes are going to be published. Can you give me a few examples of people being "oddly critical"?
As for giving examples of the board not being visible I must admit this is difficult, as providing examples of something not being present is a tough task. Perhaps it would be better if you could provide the numerous examples of the broad communicating with the community?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 08:23, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
This conversation is one of them. If you want to know the balance, ask Stabby or Trent. If you want to know about legal matters, no. There's nothing else to communicate about. And I'll ask again, what great plan did you have when you were trustee? I'm not responding to this idiocy any more. Sterile (talk) 14:57, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Sterile - this isn't about me or any hypothetical action I might have made taken four years ago. I'm suggesting that the problem with the present non-involvement of the community is caused by the fact that the board doesn't communicate with the community. This isn't an example of being "oddly critical" it's an example of someone making a suggestion.
Furthermore, the fact that the board says almost northing the wikii is self-evident. I have challenged you to to show this is not the case and, if you can show the the board does communicate regularly with the community, I will happily admit that I am wrong. I will be delighted to admit I am wrong. Quite honestly I don't understand your hostility to this question.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 15:54, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
I guess for me the question is -- what am I voting for? How can I tell that the people I'm voting for are doing a good job/a bad job/taking steps that make the wiki a better or worse place? Did I vote well last time? I mean, the lights are still on, so nobody fucked it up too badly, but it's not like I cansee a community investment in the process if the only interaction between the wiki and the Board is an annual election. Other non-profits that I'm involved with, like my church and various activist groups do try to maintain some regular degree of contact between the executive level and the larger community: here are some projects we're talking about. Here's a chance for the community to give some input.Maybe if there was more dialogue between the leadership and the followership, the followership would show a gretaer degree of enthusiasm to take up some of the leadership chores. AgingHippie (talk) 02:29, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
I have a few seriously dumb questions: What rule mandates that there be elections? can the by-laws be amended to create permanent trustees? What about moving toward a Retention electionWikipedia's W.svg if necessary? Bobthe Battery Operated Boyfriend 12:55, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Unless they are posted elsewhere, minutes haven't been posted since July 2012, and finances since 2011. I understand that a) there are legal things that aren't for public consumption, b)the board is seperate from the editing public of the wiki and is not accountable to it in any formal way, but I do find it odd that this wiki is the site for the elections for/that I was nominated to a position on a body the readership hasn't heard from in 2-and-a-half years. Is it time to review the actual relationship between the wiki (which can barely get enough warm bodies together to run the board) and the board (which has had no real reason to communicate with a wiki made up increasingly of people who were not here when the last board minutes were published)?
Note, please, that I am not demanding any info from the board, or complaining about the job the board is doing (I can't complain about something I only have 2.5 year old updates on...); but if I'm going to vote for board members, it would be cool to know why. Right now, there's nothing written down here that makes the relationship between the two entities seem real. AgingHippie (talk) 19:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
There are a few items from last year on RationalMedia site, including monthly financial reports for a couple of months and agenda + minutes from one meeting. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:20, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, basically there hasn't been a lot to tell. Stuff ticks on, the wiki seems to be getting some new editors, no big plans. If you feel inspired to keep an eye on stuff, that would be superb and would not take up any significant chunk of your time unless you want it to - David Gerard (talk) 19:13, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Most nonprofits do not publish their minutes on-line. The role of the board is spelled out on wiki, and isn't really different from many other boards. I'm sorry you can't figure it out. Sterile (talk) 19:27, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
The job is pretty much to meet, go over stuff, check things are ticking along (i.e. are we broke? is there a threat to the organisation on the horizon? is someone doing something stupid that is in the board's ambit?) and authorise spending money, requested use of the trademarks, exciting new projects in the Foundation or wiki's name, etc. Personally that suits me fine - David Gerard (talk) 19:57, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I do fit all of the requirements, but considering almost all of my edits recently have either been discussion, WIGO, or the occasional de-vandalizing, I'm not sure if I'm the type the board would be looking for. Noir LeSable (talk) 05:22, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

I think that Noir LeSable's comment captures one reason why people don't want to run perfectly (doubting they're the kind of person who'd be fit for the board), while another seems to be on the order of "I don't like/care about or suck at fundraising and economic management". Then there's the "I've done my bit" and the "I don't really have the time" pleas. Unlike Sterile's claim above ("the reason people don't want to run is that people are oddly critical of the people on the board, in part"), I've seen no indication that dissatisfaction with the board or the notion that it's some sort of "hot seat" is the reason for declining to run. Hell, how many users here actually know who's on the board now? As for publishing minutes etc., sure that's fine (pretty standard organisational MO), but how many people are actually going to read them? In so many words: I doubt that there's some kind of major dissatisfaction with the board due to missing minutes or budget info, or that missing this information is what turns people off from running. My guess is simply that quite a lot of potential candidates are happy with being editors (and probably sysops) and don't want to commit to anything beyond that. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:12, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

I pretty much agree with SW's post here. There are plenty of other people who I feel are better suited for the position than I believe I am (although looking over the candidates list, not many of them accepted either), and in any case, while they are few, I feel there are enough areas that the RW veteran community and I appear to not entirely agree with or have qualms about when it comes to non-science/religion matters that I'd probably end up being counterproductive. Noir LeSable (talk) 00:50, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Hey, Noir LeSable. If your main concern was disagreement over various topics/biases on RW, then I think you ought to have run for the board, since, as far as I can gather, the board's function is administrative (in the sense of organisational) and economic - though I'd understand it if that's not really your thing. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:24, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Who can you trust?[edit]

A commentator on the WMF blog responded to a self-serving defensive posting by Philippe Beaudette:

"Oh dear, it appears you’ve failed to cite your sources properly. This blog could scarcely be taken as fact by even the most delusional #gamerhate member, let alone a rational human thinker. Speaking of “rational” have you heard about the alternative Wikipedia that greatly increases quality by *not* actively seeking and banning all the feminist editors they can? It’s called RationalWiki and our lord and savior Ryulong has already made his Exodus, like Moses, to the promised land and you should to if you value the truth over slanderous anti-feminist lies. Wikipedia likes to pretend they aren’t anti-feminist with their project feminism page but that’s just smoke and mirrors. The woefully pathetic and incorrect ArbCom decision was exposed by our friends at The Guardian, which mind you is a primary source unlike this embarrassing blog which only serves as a speaking point of a jester whose rouse has been exposed so thoroughly he must desperately lash out at all those who oppose his act and hang onto the few who are still deluded in order to rebuild his kingdom of lies once again. That’s what Wikipedia is, a kingdom of lies.
"I can believe people are citing RationalWiki as a more neutral and unbiased online encyclopedia than Wikipedia. That is seriously delusional. What’s next? Conservapedia?"
[1] Hclodge (talk) 03:54, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Good to see that, no matter where you go, the internet comments sections are full of the same incoherent morons as everywhere else. I'd like to give opinions on those opinions (even the ones I agree with), but they are all just so...... shitty that I'd have to take a shower for 6 hours afterwards. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 11:41, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Sounds like irony/sarcasm to me. There are people with newfound hatred towards RW due to the Gamergate article, and some of them are trying to steer shit rivers this way.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:47, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
It'll work, of course. It's pretty easy to find something on here you personally find objectionable. And I almost agree with them about citing rationalwiki when wikipedia is available. Ikanreed (talk) 14:37, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
I'll go so far as agreeing with them on RationalWiki/Wikipedia. WP has a knowledgebase that's several orders of magnitude larger, and a lot more resources, checks, and balances than we do here (I mean, ffs, we had "having excessive fat is not unhealthy" on the Obesity page for the better part of four years). I believe that RW is best used in conjunction with those other sources as it gathers together and emphasizes the bits relevant to Skepticism/critical thinking/social justice/etc. We aren't an NPOV encyclopedia. Noir LeSable (talk) 20:02, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

The topic in which we discuss the hypocrisy (or lack thereof) of taking children to places of worship.[edit]

Seriously though. It seems strange to me that religions that proclaim all about discovering "Jesus" or "God" or "Allah" in your life, need to institute children into their system at a young age, before they've (the children) even been able to comprehend about how they've (the children) arrived in this universe. The question doesn't even come up when you're young! No adult ever came up to me in third grade and said, "Hey, LAN, I know you're in third grade, but how do you think everything came to be?" The system of religion, where parents can try and force feed their child whatever they want at a young age, seems scarily like protection against learning different ideas about the universe's creation. Instead of asking children to question it, people are just trying to drill "God is real, God is good." into their (the children's) heads through repetitive church sessions, and religious ceremonies. It's ironically similar to Santa Clause. Children don't even question the existance of a God, they just learn about it at a young age, and automatically accept anything about it as truth. Anyway, that's just my opinion. What's your guys's? — Unsigned, by: ‎LAN Megalodon / talk / contribs

Oh, are we having an antitheism thread? Well... my own view is that religion is a memetic analogue to a virus. Rather than subverting the behavior of a cell to reproduce more of itself, it subverts the behavior of a brain to reproduce more of itself. And taking your kids to church is a bit like how retroviruses infect descended cells of those they infect. Ikanreed (talk) 21:11, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Hippocracy -- a political system in which the horses are the rulers. Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 22:13, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Houyhnhnmland? Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science. Moderator 13:39, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
It certainly is indoctrination and not persuasion, especially since very few places of worship focus on logically proving that their god exists and most just drill the holy text of choice over and over, but I'm not sure how it's hypocritical. Aren't the Torah, Bible, and Qur'an all pretty big into "convert now, or die", not "convert now, based on the intellectual merit of our deity"? Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 22:59, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh God, another truth-seeker; if you learned it as a child, maybe you wouldn't be so confused as an adult. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 05:20, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
It's clearly indoctrination as they are being told "believe this" as opposed to "evaluate this". On the other hand there are a number of other more secular values which are arguably transmitted the same way.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 12:54, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
You got a point; I deal with criminal sociopaths daily. Many never learned as a child how to investigate and evaluate truth or truthful statements. They have a remarkable ability to convince themselves of their own lies. They think everybody is a lying piece of shit, and language only exists to deceive others. I'll give credit to many secular atheists - many definitely are on a personal quest for truth or at least place some value on the idea or concept of truth and truthfulness. nobsISIS is a thorn in the world's ass and will be removed. 21:13, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

@AgingHippie: Rather than rule by horses, I thought a "hippocracy" might be a theocracy dedicated to the worship of TawaretWikipedia's W.svg. ScepticWombat (talk) 13:19, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

River horses don't count as proper equines. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD member Moderator 13:40, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
INFIDEL! TawaretWikipedia's W.svg will surely do something inventively nasty to you for such impudent blasphemy! ScepticWombat (talk) 13:47, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Hmm, I wonder how she feels about RW's lack of an article dedicated to her worship. (talk) 14:00, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
She may be grinning (hippos really can't help it), but I doubt she's amused... ScepticWombat (talk) 14:21, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Oh god, I just realized I spelled "Hypocracy" H-i-p-p-o-c-r-a-c-y.LAN Megalodon (talk) 14:07, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Hypocrisy? I would say that the vast majority of church goers believe that taking their children is the right thing to do. As such this is not hypocritical. Misguided - well, that's another discussion. Hypocritical, come on guys, they're sincere. Doxys Midnight Runner (talk) 14:11, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
"Hypocracy" would mean "lesser/lower rule" or "rule by the lesser/lower". So that'd probably be either the opposite of meritocracy/geniocracy or an oligarchy run by midgets. (talk) 14:22, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm sure atheists indoctrinate their kids too. People are bound to impart to their children things that they feel strongly about - beliefs, opinions, culture, hobbies, etc. They fuck you up, your mum and dad. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:09, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

World's best typo? "They tuck you up, your mum and dad." ProblemChimp (talk) 17:05, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Sure, everyone indoctrinate their children - it's called parenting. Indoctrination just tends to be used primarily for what is considered unacceptable variants. I'll be happy, for instance, to indoctrinate children on the virtues of democracy, the importance of rational and thorough scrutiny, or the usefulness of reading science fiction.
Hell, teaching (which I've also done) is definitely skirting indoctrination too, in the sense that you don't just present chemistry and alchemy side-by-side and let the pupils/students choose. As with parenting, being the (more) grown-up and (supposedly) smarter and (hopefully) wiser part of the exchange means shouldering the responsibility of not just letting the pupil/student decide what (s)he thinks is right (unlike teach the controversy). Of course, once the student reaches a sufficiently advanced stage in their education, the teacher will turn into more of a supervisor (e.g. once students have to conduct actual research). ScepticWombat (talk) 14:20, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Sure, raising your kids as you think is best is a thing, but most major religions come with an ingrained element of specifically doing things to indoctrinate kids. There's no atheist equivalent of Sunday School, e.g. In fact, my charge is that thanks to evolutionary forces, religions that don't enforce themselves upon children die off over the course of a few generations. Ikanreed (talk) 14:38, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I'd definitely agree that most major religions carry the kind of outdated baggage which would make any raising of kids that relies overly on zealous adherence to such religions constitute indoctrination. Of course you're right that there aren't any "atheist Sunday Schools", but that's more a question of atheism not being the kind of organised venture that religions are. And I've never been too convinced by the "if children weren't indoctrinated religion would die out"-argument. Mainly because religions propagate among adults all the time. ScepticWombat (talk) 14:53, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Kids can be reasoned with, from a surprisingly early age, if you put yourself into their head space. It takes vigilance, creativity, and constant effort, so it can be easier to try building useful habits by parental fiat instead. They may not have Sunday school for atheists, but many Unitarian congregations have open-minded, inquiry based Religious Education (RE) programs, for introducing the little savages to realms of spiritual thought and practice. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:11, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
You misunderstand me scepticwombat, I'm not saying that religion in general would die for lack of Sunday school, religiosity has a real genetic heritable component. I'm saying specific religions get out-competed by those that are better at getting into peoples' heads, and youth is an ideal time to do that. Ikanreed (talk) 15:21, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Maybe, but I can say from my own experiance that the kids I saw being raised in a lower key religous home tend to be more well adjusted on average then people who convert as adults (or are raised in a very relgious home). The first group believes and seem to be in general kind, friendly, smart, and don't get all up in your grill. People you wouldn't mind being in a social club with hymns with every Sunday even if it seems silly. The ones who converted as adults tend to be the classic Tea Party asshole - Bigoted, constantly angry that other ways of living even exist, morbidly obese, self rightous about everything, holier than anyone in earshot, and scary as shit. People who even the first group have asked to cool it or leave gatherings. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 15:32, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I went to church and to Sunday school until I was 4, when my brothers and I revolted and refused to go. My mother was furious, but my father was pleased. @emerald thats some pretty hefty generalistion there AMassiveGay (talk) 15:38, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
4? Wow, you got off that train early. I take it your brothers were older than you? Ikanreed (talk) 15:43, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
the eldest was 7, the youngest was 1. The older brother said he weren't going and I said if he doesn't have to then I not going. AMassiveGay (talk) 16:22, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I know it is, but I did say from my experiance and from a large extended family. So far from outside of family that those experiances have not been disproven either. It is likely different in comparison to others experiances, but commenting on personal experiance and opinion drawn from that is allowed...right? -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 15:47, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
@Ikanreed: Sure kids can be reasoned with - but that doesn't mean it's feasible or even necessarily preferable to turn everything to a debate. "Because I say so" can actually be a useful introduction to the fact that the world doesn't operate as some sort of continuous referendum. As long as it's employed in moderation of course - I'm not advocating the kind of mindless authoritarianism that the Germans call "cadaver obedience".
The Unitarian schools sound quite interesting. I have experienced government mandated Lutheran religious instruction/education while I went to a public school (Note: "public" in the U.S., not British sense of the term). It was, however, rather minimal in terms of time, something like a lesson or two a week, taught by teachers who were generally not particularly religious (or knew much about Lutheranism, I think), and strictly delineated as being "non-missionary". Basically it's seen as part of what the Germans call BildungWikipedia's W.svg (as opposed to education which would be "Ausbildung"). Also, any parents who wished could have their children exempted from these lessons (traditionally this was to accommodate non-conformists). To be honest, I think few kids actually learned much - bit of a waste time, really (a few bible stories, some colouring books, that sort of thing). Essentially it's a remnant of an earlier school system in which the (Lutheran) state church was hugely influential, but the church hasn't had this role for decades; not since the 1960s, I'd guess. I've never considered myself religious, though, which makes all the talk of deconversion rather exotic to me (I'm not from an atheist home, just not a very religious one).
As for the religions out-competing each other, I'd still be sceptical about it. Just look at how religio'esque political ideologies tend to prevail, despite not being propagated to kids (I doubt the remaining communists went to "Marxist Sunday Schools"). ScepticWombat (talk) 15:50, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I can understand some fundamental skepticism towards memetic evolution, since it's never gotten any serious scientific work. That's fine. Such skepticism is a good thing. But history is filled with cases where a local religion gets displaced by a more evangelical or militant religion, and the older (and I'd argue less evolutionarily fit) variant dies out. As a subjective mode of interpretation for the history of religion, I see very little contrary evidence to its efficacy.
As evidence of my claim I submit that every (still extant) major religion exhibits the following traits, and stronger exhibition of these traits correspond to larger believer bases.
  1. An emphasis on having numerous children(see the growth of Mormonism and the death of shakerism, contemporary religions)
  2. A clear core statement that belief in the religion is the highest virtue.
  3. An important text suggesting the dismissal of other religions.
  4. A call to proselytize.(This being the major distinction between Judaism and Christianity)
And that historical religions that didn't exhibit these characteristics were displaced over time. Ikanreed (talk) 16:20, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm not disputing that some religions die out, it's simply that I doubt that preventing religious indoctrination of children will have a huge effect on the "extinction frequency". Also, there are plenty of adaptive strategies - for instance Mormonism may have reached a number of some 15 million, but that still leaves it as a rather minor religion. I find the survival of Lutheranism despite a general secularisation of many of its core areas (Northern Germany and Scandinavia) far more interesting, because it runs contrary to the idea that only aggressive missionary activity and/or "natural increase" through child birth is what determines survival. A call to proselytise is of course important and indeed most religions have some form of missionary activity (Judaism used to be among them, but represents an interesting divergence). I would also be careful about extrapolating from currently large religions, because many of them have grown big by "government sponsorship" and their size owes quite a debt to the relative (past) power of these "sponsors". ScepticWombat (talk) 16:37, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
The four characteristics listed match most of the major religion somewhat. Religions and individual sects tend to change as well. For instance Zoroastrianism used to be an extremely aggressive proselytizing religion during the Sassanid Empire, now a sizable faction of its adherents (though not all, as is commonly asserted) will accept neither converts nor children of interfaith marriages. I would agree to some extent with ScepticWombat, I can think of two major proselytizing religions, Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism, the former of which died out and the latter of which is reduced to less than 200,000 adherents. Both of these religions proselytized aggressively in late antiquity, however political events, the coming of Islam, the persecution of non-Chinese religions by the Tang Emperors, and persecution in Europe, all contributed to the decline of those two religions. Basically political power for a religion guarantees that religion's survival, either directly as in a theocracy, or indirectly in states like Israel, Armenia, or Greece, where the religion of the majority has influence regardless of whether or not it has official status. Alsto003 (talk) 16:49, 30 January 2015 (UTC) Alex

Well I suppose I am here to take the opposing side. As I am not an antitheist, I typically don't take that position. However I have a couple of other problems with the idea that teaching children religion is immoral. Firstly is restricts parental rights in a way that is simply far too authoritarian for me to ever accept. From the perspective of this American this notion tramples more than a couple constitutional rights, including, in all probability, the Due Process clause of the fourteenth amendment and the right to privacy. I say that it would violate the Due Process Clause because what you are basically suggesting, that is, to keep parents from teaching their kids religious stuff, would violate the right of parents to teach their children. This principle was elaborated in a landmark Supreme Court decision decided in the 1920s; Meyer v. Nebraska, wherein the court majority held that outlawing the instruction of kids in the German Language violated the due process clause of the 14th amendment. It is not very difficult to see how one could apply that principle here. So why go discussing American law here? Well the reason for that is because I agree with the 14th amendment and I agree with reasoning of the court, not just from a legal standpoint but also from a moral standpoint, and the reasoning applied by the court in that case is, (in my view), just as applicable in this case. I cannot agree with the idea that we should prevent parents from talking to their kids about religion. Secondly: As someone from the small religion of Judaism, I tend to hold a different opinion on this matter, my faith is not just that, it is also my heritage at the same time. There is a story, a joke that I remember: “Two Rabbis are in a bar arguing over the existence of God. After a long argument they come to the conclusion that God does not exist. The following Saturday one of those two Rabbis walks by the synagogue and inside he sees the other Rabbi (the one who he had the argument with) praying in shul. Confused he confronts the other Rabbi and says: ‘Why are you praying in shul when we just agreed that there is no God?’ to which the other Rabbi replies: ‘Yah, so what does that have to do with it?’” I here an objection being raised from the crowd: “Judaism is not a religion it’s an ethnicity!” I can only ignore that protest; if I had a dime for every time I heard both it and the opposite of it, I would be a rich man. “So is Judaism an ethnicity or a religion?” The correct answer is: “Yes.” So basically, since Jews are the minority in everywhere but Israel, and because Jews don’t proselytize, you would essentially be dooming us to extinction, and there are Jews I know who would use decidedly more colorful language in response to this idea you bring up for that very reason. I doubt that the latter view I expressed is limited to Jews; Zoroastrians, Mandaeans, Jains, Sikhs, or any other member of a minority religion (especially if they are a minority everywhere) would protest this idea for the same reason, as essentially favoring the larger proselytizing religions. Alsto003 (talk) 16:25, 30 January 2015 (UTC) Alex

Chill. No one is proposing a law. Just whether it's hypocritical or indirectly harmful to children. A notion, I hasten to add, isn't even widely supported by this particularly anti-theist discussion. Ikanreed (talk) 16:31, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't consider myself an anti-theist for that matter (otherwise, I'd hardly remain a card-carrying Lutheran, though an atheist one). I simply have a problem with various types of fundamentalism. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:40, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I just meant the discussion has an antitheist overall tone not intending to say anything about the individual participants. Ikanreed (talk) 16:51, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Neither was my comment meant as a rebuke, and I don't even necessarily oppose religious instruction as such. For me, it's about the kind (no pun intended) of religious instruction. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:59, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't take any offence. I'm here to remind people of differing positions, how other people may interpret their own position, and the threat of sorts that I said "there are Jews I know who would use decidedly more colorful language in response to this idea you bring up for that very reason." is so that you realize that there are Jews even non-religious Jews, who would take offence to the idea that teaching children their religion is wrong. I still stand by most of my comments above though. Alsto003 (talk) 17:05, 30 January 2015 (UTC) Alex
Yes, and there are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists who would feel equally offended. That offense is both justified and irrelevant to whether the teaching itself is justified. Ikanreed (talk) 17:09, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Yah, but by and large those people will not accuse you cultural genocide, Jews I know (though not me), or members of smaller ethno-religions groups, would accuse you of that or, at the very least, as being insensitive. I don't because even though I don't agree with the sentiment I can see where you're coming from. (BTW, the Soviet Union which promoted anti-theism and was accused of stuff like that, was mostly, though not entirely, able to get around this problem, ironically by emphasizing ethnicity over religion in groups where the border between religion and ethnicity was fuzzy). Alsto003 (talk) 17:18, 30 January 2015 (UTC) Alex
As an interesting anecdote, there is actually an entire group of Jews, sort of like unitarians, called "reconstructionists" who only consider themselves cultural Jews. But long story short, I'm with ScepticWombat, how the religion is taught to you usually makes a difference. Alsto003 (talk) 17:33, 30 January 2015 (UTC) Alex
However, I can say from experiance if you make a comment about extremists and it makes people go nuts. People wax idiotically about any other faiths extremists across the US on prime time national TV....but breach the subject about people doing it in the name of their own faith and it's like a bomb went off. Radical Islam has been the go to thing for some networks in the US, blaming all of the faithful for what some do, while bringing up violence done in the name of Christianity will get threats of violence by radical nuts as moderates become utterly silent. Even about the threats of the radicals. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 18:10, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't see any hypocrisy, except in the case of non-believing parents who drag children along to religious services to increase the chance of getting a place in a good school which has some sort of faith-based entry preference.
Since we're getting all anecdotal... My parents were agnostic at best, but they sent me to a public school (UK version, Church of England), which had 15 minute chapel services every morning (psalm, lesson, hymn), a 60 minute service (with sermon) on Sundays, and an RE lesson each week. It was endured as part of school life - the rest of us rather envied the few Jewish kids who were spared it. We were mildly encouraged to get confirmed, and thereafter to attend the occasional communion. I don't remember anyone being outspokenly religious, not even the chaplain. Nor do I remember any attempt to indoctrinate: the sermons were about morality more than hellfire, and RE lessons in the final year included a series on comparative religion.
I lost what little faith I had at about 17. What I gained from the experience was knowledge of the KJV and of Anglican theology, insight into the motivations of religious composers (e.g. JS Bach), and the useful social skill of knowing what to do, and when, at wedding and funeral services. I'm no antitheist: I have (and have had) believing friends (one Jewish, several Christian, one Muslim, one Sikh; none of them fundies), and we get (or got) along fine. Looking back nearly 50 years, I have no complaints about that part of my edumification.
@Alsto003, I would argue that the story of Hillel and the Golden Rule is the earliest recorded Jewish joke: as with your tale of the two rabbis, it's funny and full of truth at the same time. ProblemChimp (talk) 20:33, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't really see it as hypocritical to attend services to get your kid into the "right" school. It's about ulterior motives and could even be viewed in utilitarian terms, but hypocritical, no. At least as long as they don't pretend to be honest and fervent believers. :::::::::The hypocrisy mentioned in the OP is, as far as I understand it, the contrast between the claims of the deity/faith being something central in your life that you need to "discover" (think of the annoying habit of some believers to label others as "seekers" if they don't subscribe the the same beliefs). Yet despite this proclaimed centrality, children are inducted into such religions prior to any discussions of its validity or merits, or whether the child is sympathetic to it or not. The question is then why, if such a "religious discovery" is so central to people's lives, does it need to be "spoon fed" to minors?
While I can follow the logic here and admit that there is a certain hypocritical, or perhaps rather incongruous or illogical, element in such a religious view (akin to the awesome universe-creating multi-omni God craving human worship), I think it also misses a couple of points:
First, the scenario seems to be one of a rather aggressive (U.S.-style?) religious introduction, whereas I've already mentioned my personal experience with a more "Bildung-style" approach (viewing such an introduction as useful socio-cultural knowledge as you also mention).
Second, it ignores that parents do these sort of things all the time, exactly because they're parents and want to do what they think is best for their children (making sure they eat their veggies, dress warmly, do their homework etc. etc.), despite what the children themselves may think at the time (as I've mentioned before this is part and parcel of being the grown-up).
Third, and this is something of an outcropping of the second, parents are generally mandated to take these kinds of decisions and while children's opinions may be sought in certain instances (e.g. on deciding which parent to stay with after a divorce), there's a reason why the concept of legal minority exist. Society generally doesn't entrust children with decisions that may have far flung consequences for their lives for the quite simple reason that such consequential calculations and deliberations are not something (most) children are good at. And what could, after all, be more important or long term than the eternal prospects for the immortal souls of the little mites? (OK, not that I think it's a real issue since I've no reason to consider either souls or the afterlife real, but this is a hypothetical scenario for the sake of the argument)
All in all, I don't think it that huge of an issue, but then I've been fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where kind of aggressive religiosity that seems to be prevalent in the U.S. was never very noticeable. If anything, this comic is more apt as a description of the perception of religion in these parts. ScepticWombat (talk) 08:24, 31 January 2015 (UTC)