Talk:I Fucking Love Science

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Kickoff[edit]

Right, let's get this started! Space Turbo (talk) 15:16, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Delete?[edit]

I don't agree with the deletion. IFLS explores science topics and could use a rational treatment.NerdyWizardyou believed that why? 02:11, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

SIf all it takes for an article to be missional/needed is "it is about something we care about" then we need an article on every minor tumblr with one follower.--Miekal 02:15, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Disagree. IFLS isn't minor in any sense of the word - it is a massive project with millions of followers. Additionally, they do post crap and glurge as opposed to actually promoting science; in a sense, they are promoting a peculiar fondness for science but not actual science. I can't think of anything more mission related for RW than that! Space Turbo (talk) 17:16, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
That's my stock response to anybody who says "we need x because it's related to stuff we care about", because by that logic every munor science/pseudoscience/woo tumblr needs one too--Miekal 21:02, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

I'd want the IFLS page to be more than just a stub page, like it is now. There's no treatment of the on-mission concerns about IFLS on the page as-is. Remember the admonition on the RW To Do list: "If you find yourself creating a stub-level article just to remove a link from the list, consider whether you should be doing it at all." --Tracer (talk) 19:29, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

One argument for deleting the article was that it was a stub. I've expanded it enough to feel comfortable with removing the stub status. Cheers. NerdyWizardyou believed that why? 22:55, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Much thanks. I just saw that the To-Do and got the ball rolling; I do not know enough about IFLS to fill in the gaps but I do know that it certainly isn't a "minor tumblr." Space Turbo (talk) 23:04, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I'd recommend, in the future, that if you are going to go off the list and end up just making a stub, that you should leave the article to someone else who can at least get it going enough for it not to be a stub. The Wiki is littered with them and we don't need more. NerdyWizardyou believed that why? 23:07, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Shall we keep the "An editor wants to delete this article" notification at the top, for the time being? --Tracer (talk) 23:33, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I assume so, the original editor's argument was unrelated to its stub status. I say let the RationalWiki:Articles_for_deletion resolve, although with the person arguing that it was a stub being removed/invalid, it would be tied for keep status. NerdyWizard (talk) you believed that why? 23:39, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Actually only half their reason was "it's a stub" so... not really, still 4-3--Miekal 19:43, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Rumors of purging[edit]

There's a rumor I've heard that the IFLS facebook page used to have a whole bunch of page admins, some of whom were contributing content. Then Elise Andrew came back after a bit of a hiatus and, overjoyed at how popular the page had become, kicked out all the other admins. It was then that the quality of the entries started to suffer and the clickbaitish posts started appearing.

Is there any truth to this rumor, or is it just one of the vicious rumors that got started when people discovered "ZOMG it's run by a female!!"? --Tracer (talk) 15:19, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

I've heard that too, but I haven't found any legit documentation/citeable source to back up the claim. As far as it stands now its hearsay, in my opinion. --NerdyWizard (talk) you believed that why? 18:34, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Plagiarism[edit]

|: https://twitter.com/AstroKatie/status/583842331318554624 --ZooGuard (talk) 16:53, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Damn. Wonder why they didn't link back? αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 17:23, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
To quote this Twitter user, "IFLS has attribution allergy". They probably just harvest "memes", assume that the authors are impossible to track, and skip the effort of tracking them down.--ZooGuard (talk) 17:33, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Why is Rational Wiki smearing one of the most popular science websites in the world? (1)[edit]

I have only recently come across IFLS, but it seems to me that it is in the business of responsible science journalism. The fact it has been so phenomenally successful (their Facebook page now has more than 22 million followers) might lead the more cynical to assume that it *must* be churning out nothing but bunk, but I think that readers and contributors of this site would be pleasantly surprised were they to bother to go and take a look. (I am new to Rational Wiki too, but if you are in the business of promoting science and rationality, my point is that you *should* be pleasantly surprised -- delighted, even -- that so many people are taking an interest in science.)

Far from churning out pseudoscience, their editor and writers appear to be scientists themselves (their news editor Justine Alford, for example, is a virologist with a PhD from a very prestigious British university), and they have articles on (e.g.) how to spot bad science, the problem of false balance in science reporting, how confronting anti-vaxxers with science only makes them more hardline, on the crisis in psychology because most experiments are not replicated, on cognitive biases in science publishing, and so on. It is also worth noting that they have been strongly endorsed by the likes of Richard Dawkins and the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe.

In short, I do not see that any of the accusations and criticisms on this page – e.g. that IFLS is "seriously skewed to the pseudoscientific", that it "has gradually drifted from being somewhat interesting ... to being a lot of clickbait cute/gross animal photos", and that it "has gradually followed a general trend of decline in its quality” -- are in any way substantiated by the actual content of the IFLS site, and no examples have been provided.

Looking through the history of the page it seems that all of this content was written by someone posting as "NerdyWizard”, who even admitted in his summary of his edit that his actual purpose was one of "denigration". I have raised these issues on NerdyWizard’s talk page but received no response – little wonder, given that his intention seems simply to have been to dishonestly malign one of the most popular science websites in the world. In any case, given that he provided no sources for his attempted smear in the first place, isn’t it time that all this defamatory content – content that is nothing short of libel, and that has been published on this site since July 2014 -- was removed? HalHuxley (talk) 10:44, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Well, it appears no one objects. Feel free to edit out the unsourced slander. <-𐌈FedoraTippingSkeptic𐌈-> (administrator) (system operator) (talk) 10:48, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks -- shall do. — Unsigned, by: HalHuxley / talk / contribs
K. <-𐌈FedoraTippingSkeptic𐌈-> (administrator) (system operator) (talk) 11:34, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
That was not a minor edit, and, generally, no - David Gerard (talk) 12:25, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
I was just about to remove the unsourced slander when I saw your comment. To be clear, when I added this section I marked it as "Watch this page". I then fixed a couple of typos in what I had written, and marked those as minor edits, because they were. As for "and, generally, no", I'm afraid that's a wee bit elliptical. If you disagree with the proposed expunging of the wholly unsourced traducement, please spell out your reasons here. I'll give you a little while to respond before I go ahead with it.HalHuxley (talk) 15:08, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Your fact tags were completely inane, and the claims are addressed in references already in the article.
I see from your talk page you have a problem with impetuousness and expecting others to dance to your tune. You should probably slow down a lot - David Gerard (talk) 19:09, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
What is "inane" about requesting that claims be supported with evidence? In this case, Rational Wiki is smearing and maligning a science website that reaches 22 million people, and which has been strongly endorsed by the likes of Richard Dawkins and The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, without any supporting evidence whatsoever. Why would you want to do that? And no, the claims are NOT supported in the articles cited. Anyone who has a modicum of background in science should be able to tell, simply by spending some time on the IFLS website, that they are in the business of responsible science journalism and popularisation, not pseudoscience. So why persist in traducing them? Why deliberately malign a website that has had so much success in sparking and nurturing a passion for science in so many millions of young people? Isn't that what we want?HalHuxley (talk) 08:21, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Why is Rational Wiki smearing one of the most popular science websites in the world? (2)[edit]

This discussion was moved here from RationalWiki talk:All things in moderation.

I have only recently come across the "I Fucking Love Science" website, but it seems to me that it is in the business of responsible science journalism. The fact it has been so phenomenally successful (their Facebook page now has more than 22 million followers) might lead the more cynical to assume that it *must* be churning out nothing but bunk, but I think that readers and contributors of this site would be pleasantly surprised were they to bother to go and take a look. (I am new to Rational Wiki too, but if you are in the business of promoting science and rationality and evidence-based reasoning, my point is that you *should* be pleasantly surprised -- delighted, even -- that so many people are taking an interest in science.)

Far from churning out pseudoscience, their editor and writers appear to be scientists themselves (their news editor Justine Alford, for example, is a virologist with a PhD from a very prestigious British university), and they have articles on (e.g.) how to spot pseudoscience and bad science, the problem of false balance in science reporting, debunking prevalent myths about cancer, how confronting anti-vaxxers with science only makes them more hardline, how neuroscience is being used to promote quackery, the crisis in psychology because most experiments are not replicated, cognitive biases in science publishing, and so on. It is also worth noting that they have been strongly endorsed by the likes of Richard Dawkins and the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe.

In short, I do not see that any of the accusations and criticisms on this page – e.g. that IFLS is "seriously skewed to the pseudoscientific", that it "has gradually drifted from being somewhat interesting ... to being a lot of clickbait cute/gross animal photos", and that it "has gradually followed a general trend of decline in its quality” -- are in any way substantiated by the actual content of the IFLS site, and no examples have been provided.

Looking through the history of the page it seems that all of this content was written by someone posting as "NerdyWizard”, who even admitted in his summary of his edit that his actual purpose was one of "denigration". I have raised these issues on NerdyWizard’s talk page but received no response – little wonder, given that his intention seems simply to have been to dishonestly malign one of the most popular science websites in the world. In any case, given that he provided no sources for his attempted smear in the first place, isn’t it time that all this defamatory content – content that is nothing short of libel, and that has been published on this site since July 2014 -- was removed?

By the way, I have nothing to do with IFLS, but I am very pleased to see that so many young people seem to be developing a passion for science, facts and evidence; and IFLS, with 22 million followers, is in my opinion doing a great job of sparking and fostering that passion. Yet if people who are new to science are unsure about whether what they are reading (perhaps they will be suspicious of IFLS because of the "rude word" in the name, for example), they may well google "IFLS wiki" in order to consult Wikipedia about it, and they will be directed to the Rational Wiki page, only to be told that it's all pseudoscience. How is this helping the cause of science and rationality in any way? Is it not doing precisely the opposite? Isn't there enough misinformation out there already to confuse young people, without Rational Wiki telling people that responsible science reporting -- in this case, the most popular site for such reporting in the world -- is in fact all just bunk and pseudoscience?

I have tried several times to remove the defamatory material, but it looks like I'm on to a losing battle. If there are moderators for this site, may I refer them to the talk page for the IFLS entry? I hope that there can be a reasonable resolution of this matter, before more people end up wasting even more of their time on this. It seems to me the matter is simple: demonstrate that IFLS is in the business of purveying pseudoscience rather than responsible science reporting, or remove the defamatory accusations.HalHuxley (talk) 08:58, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Mod here! How can I help you? - David Gerard (talk) 09:15, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
Since you are, it seems, the person responsible for blocking my attempts to revise the IFLS page so that it does not contain unsubstantiated slander, perhaps you could address the points I have made above? Why are you intent on maligning IFLS, and misleading people about it? Why would you want to smear honest and responsible science reporting, and a website that is doing so much to spark and nurture a passion for science among millions of young people, as pseudoscience? Do you have any arguments or evidence to support the claims that you are defending? If so, it would be nice to hear them.HalHuxley (talk) 09:47, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Your recent contribution to the IFL Science page (1)[edit]

This discussion was moved here from User talk:ZooGuard.

Your recent contribution to the page on IFL Science was to add the following quotation:

"You don't love science. You [love] looking at its butt when it goes by."

On the talk page for that entry, just prior to you adding this quote, I pointed out (inter alia) that the News Editor of IFL Science is a virologist with a PhD in HIV research from a prestigious British university. She has written many IFLS articles, and they all seem to be well-researched and informative (indeed, I would say the same of everything I have read on IFLS). Clearly, this is not someone who takes a casual, superficial, merely aesthetic or salacious interest in science. Rather, her life is devoted to it, and has been for many years.

What about you? What is your interest in science? Do you have a degree in a science? A PhD? Do you devote your life to scientific research and/or communication? If not, I do not see that you are in any position to deride the efforts of Dr Justine Alford, or any of the other science writers at IFLS, in the way that you have with that quotation. If, on the other hand, you are a scientist, or a science writer, you still need to make your case. It seems to me that IFLS is in the business of the same kind of popular science communication that is provided by e.g. Popular Science, Science News, New Scientist and Scientific American, yet reaching a larger audience than all these put together. In a world of popular pseudoscience and celebrity worship, isn't that something to be celebrated?

I strongly recommend that you spend some time looking through the articles on the IFLS website (http://www.iflscience.com/), and then, on the basis of that, consider whether or not you still think that your mockery is justified. If you agree with me that it is not, perhaps you will consider removing that quotation?

Lastly, even if IFLS do use "clickbait", what exactly is the problem with that? If those of us who wish people would spend more time learning about science than they do on pseudoscience, superstition, conspiracy theories and quackery, isn't it about time that we started making use of the most well-researched, effective and powerful marketing techniques? On this point, allow to quote cosmologist/theoretical physicist Max Tegmark:

" The first thing we scientists need to do is get off our high horses, admit that our persuasive strategies have failed, and develop a better strategy. We have the advantage of having the better arguments, but the anti-scientific coalition has the advantage of better funding. However, and this is painfully ironic, it is also more scientifically organized! If a company wants to change public opinion to increase their profits, it deploys scientific and highly effective marketing tools. What do people believe today? What do we want them to believe tomorrow? Which of their fears, insecurities, hopes and other emotions can we take advantage of? What's the most cost-effective way of changing their mind? Plan a campaign. Launch. Done.

Is the message oversimplified or misleading? Does it unfairly discredit the competition? That's par for the course when marketing the latest smartphone or cigarette, so it would be naive to think that the code of conduct should be any different when this coalition fights science. Yet we scientists are often painfully naive, deluding ourselves that just because we think we have the moral high ground, we can somehow defeat this corporate-fundamentalist coalition by using obsolete unscientific strategies. Based on what scientific argument will it make a hoot of a difference if we grumble "we won't stoop that low" and "people need to change" in faculty lunch rooms and recite statistics to journalists?

We scientists have basically been saying "tanks are unethical, so let's fight tanks with swords".

To teach people what a scientific concept is and how a scientific lifestyle will improve their lives, we need to go about it scientifically: We need new science advocacy organizations which use all the same scientific marketing and fundraising tools as the anti-scientific coalition. We'll need to use many of the tools that make scientists cringe, from ads and lobbying to focus groups that identify the most effective sound bites.

We won't need to stoop all the way down to intellectual dishonesty, however. Because in this battle, we have the most powerful weapon of all on our side: the facts."HalHuxley (talk) 13:50, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Your recent contribution to the IFL Science page (2)[edit]

This discussion was moved here from User talk:Weaseloid.

Your recent contribution to the page on IFL Science was to try to substantiate the view IFLS promotes a "a watered down version of science reporting" by claiming that they often focus on "cute animal photos". You also suggest that the infographic they republished, entitled "52 Of The Most Common Myths and Misconceptions Debunked In One Infographic" "typifies IFLS's approach: debunking popular myths with a clickbait title and kitsch infographic".

Now, I disagree with these claims. Looking through several dozen of the articles published on their website in recent weeks, I came across plenty of well-researched science reporting which, though clearly aimed for the most part at a popular audience, was certainly not just a matter of posting cute animal pictures or kitsch infographics. Rather, almost everything I read was informative and well written.

I humbly suggest that you do as I have done: spend some time looking at/reading the kinds of articles they publish, and noting how many times (if any) those posts focus upon cute animal pictures or comprise nothing but kitsch infographics. Do they do that "often", as you have claimed? Does it really "typify their approach"? If you find that they do not, I recommend that you do the honest thing and remove the misleading information you have provided.

Lastly, even if IFLS do use "clickbait", what exactly is the problem with that? If those of us who wish people would spend more time learning about science than they do on pseudoscience, superstition, conspiracy theories and quackery, isn't it about time that we started making use of the most well-researched, effective and powerful marketing techniques? On this point, allow to quote cosmologist/theoretical physicist Max Tegmark:

"The first thing we scientists need to do is get off our high horses, admit that our persuasive strategies have failed, and develop a better strategy. We have the advantage of having the better arguments, but the anti-scientific coalition has the advantage of better funding. However, and this is painfully ironic, it is also more scientifically organized! If a company wants to change public opinion to increase their profits, it deploys scientific and highly effective marketing tools. What do people believe today? What do we want them to believe tomorrow? Which of their fears, insecurities, hopes and other emotions can we take advantage of? What's the most cost-effective way of changing their mind? Plan a campaign. Launch. Done.

Is the message oversimplified or misleading? Does it unfairly discredit the competition? That's par for the course when marketing the latest smartphone or cigarette, so it would be naive to think that the code of conduct should be any different when this coalition fights science. Yet we scientists are often painfully naive, deluding ourselves that just because we think we have the moral high ground, we can somehow defeat this corporate-fundamentalist coalition by using obsolete unscientific strategies. Based on what scientific argument will it make a hoot of a difference if we grumble "we won't stoop that low" and "people need to change" in faculty lunch rooms and recite statistics to journalists?

We scientists have basically been saying "tanks are unethical, so let's fight tanks with swords".

To teach people what a scientific concept is and how a scientific lifestyle will improve their lives, we need to go about it scientifically: We need new science advocacy organizations which use all the same scientific marketing and fundraising tools as the anti-scientific coalition. We'll need to use many of the tools that make scientists cringe, from ads and lobbying to focus groups that identify the most effective sound bites.

We won't need to stoop all the way down to intellectual dishonesty, however. Because in this battle, we have the most powerful weapon of all on our side: the facts."HalHuxley (talk) 14:10, 26 September 2015 (UTC)


Your reasons for reverting my corrections[edit]

Do have reasons for reverting my corrections on the IFL Science? If so, please discuss them on the "talk" page for that entry (or below, if you prefer). If you do not have reasons, why are you doing it? I am merely correcting howling inaccuracies. I have made the case for them being inaccuracies at length, yet no one seems willing to take me up on it. Instead, all I get is people with more editorial rights than I have reverting my corrections, insulting me, telling me to "stop it", or (now) threatening to lock the page.

Where is the rational discussion? Why do I receive no reasoned response to my arguments? If I am so obviously wrong, you (or anyone else who has disagreed with my edits) should easily be able to respond to the points I have made and refute me, right? So why is it that no one is willing to so much as try? How about, instead of eliding these questions, you confront them head on and go to the IFL Science talk page and respond to the issues I have raised there?HalHuxley (talk) 19:26, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

So I read HalHuxley's rantings, unfortunately...[edit]

And now my brain hurts.--NerdyWizard (talk) you believed that why? 10:19, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

His/her comments are too long, so people are likely to instinctively ignore them. I'll have a try at responding if no one's PM'd the user already, but all I'm able to work out so far is that we're being accused of dishonesty for treating IFLScience as pop science when one of the contributors actually has a degree. After that it's long threads about how we're cowards for hiding from a discussion and reverting his/her edits rather than explain why they're wrong.-- Forerunner (talk) 10:39, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
First, yes, the comments are long, and as such are likely to be ignored and/or perceived as “rants”; this I have learnt. Please note, however, that I first contacted individual contributors suggesting that what they’d written was inaccurate, and gave reasons for thinking so. Obviously, this takes more than a sentence or two. Rather than responding to these comments, they simply reposted them here. For that reason, what appears above contains a lot of repetition.
Second, I have not accused RationalWiki of dishonesty “for treating IFLScience as pop science when one of the contributors actually has a degree”. Such an uncharitable distortion of what I have said above suggests to me that you, like every other editor/moderator/contributor who has responded to me on this site (and there have been five or more so far), have little interest in rational discussion concerning matters of fact. Nevertheless, I am responding in good faith, in the hope that RationalWiki’s claims to “encourage those who disagree with us to … engage in constructive dialogue” and “always welcome those who disagree … to discuss their disagreement with us in a rational way” are not entirely spurious.
Since I have now responded to you with as many as 200 words I realise this will likely be perceived as further evidence of my putative penchant for "ranting". Rather than restating my objections more succinctly, then, I simply invite you to respond to what I have already written.HalHuxley (talk) 13:26, 11 October 2015 (UTC)HalHuxley (talk) 11:59, 26 October 2015 (UTC)