Talk:John Zerzan

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I added Zerzan to the category "extreme moonbattery" on the following grounds: The article explains that Zerzan spent a lot of his early life joining more progressively far-left groups and rejecting one for another when he decided they weren't extreme enough, his philosophy is anti-science and commits a number of fallacies (with appeal to nature being the most prominent), most anarchists distance themselves from him and think he's full of it, and apparently even a number of primmies reject him as too extreme. Additionally, not only is he an admirer of the Unabomber, but the Unabomber himself seems to think he's an idiot. If John Zerzan isn't a clear-cut example of extreme moonbattery, I don't know why that category even exists on this wiki. The One They Call Mars (talk) 06:03, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Planning to remove much of the article's content[edit]

I will be removing much of the content of this article as time goes on since nearly all of it is a misrepresentation of Zerzan's work. The article makes no effort to tie its claims to Zerzan's words, and it provides no demonstrative citations or quotations from Zerzan, so there is no existing justification for these statements to remain. I will provide an explanation for why I am deleting each statement regardless for the benefit of the original author.

  • Taking the elements that are in common to all of them, he has constructed an idea of a primal human methodology that manages to have quite a bit in common with the archetypal noble savage, and that all of humanity — the current hunter-gatherers included — needs to regress to that point, if they are to be free of oppression and corruption.*

Zerzan's work refers to the work of contemporary anthropology and other social science when he discusses the modes of thought characteristic of various primitive societies, and the ways in which those modes of thought differ from the target of his intended criticism -- whatever dominant paradigm of techno-civilization he is discussing. There is no 'idealized primal human methodology'. Only concrete examples of alternatives that have been found in primitive societies. The comparison of this non-existent 'idealized primal human methodology', to the 'noble savage' isn't even coherent since the 'noble savage' is a literary cliche intended to symbolize corrupted but ignorant humanity and the former is a concrete description of the culture and psychology of primitive humans. Zerzan would not describe the adoption of the primitive mode of thought as a regression, since he compares it favorably to the existing techno-civilized mode of thought. Zerzan would say that we regressed when we went down the path of the techno-civilization.

  • Zerzan has inveighed against tool-making (inclined planes etc. are the furthest he's fully comfortable with), art, language, math, and the very concept of time itself, as he believes they deviate from his primal ideal.*

It is true that Zerzan has written essays criticizing each of the points listed. Never has the criticism consisted of merely the blithe statement, "this deviates from my primal ideal." Zerzan's criticisms of each of these topics are varied, and he uses large numbers of citations to refer to the works of contemporary science and philosophy (and other parts of culture) to demonstrate his argument. This is completely worthless as a description of Zerzan's work. Not only does it fail to capture any of his actual ideas, it actually lies about the content of his criticisms. 98.159.211.50 (talk) 22:15, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

I reverted your edits because this seems like a case of citations being needed in certain places rather than simply deleting all of the statements you dislike/disagree with in this page. Remember that this isn't Wikipedia, and we're a lot more lax on original research and formulating ideas based on sources rather than directly paraphrasing them. LynnR (talk) 22:40, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Hello, sorry I've been very busy and unable to dedicate the time I thought I had to fixing up this page. I removed the statements I removed because they were complete fabrications about the nature of Zerzan's work, and they did nothing but mislead and bring the article's quality down. I'm disappointed to see that you reverted this edit on 'technical' grounds I think that means you don't understand the subject matter. For the time being, I don't want to start an 'edit war' and will let your revision stand, because I genuinely want to see this article improved, and because I think you are not familiar with this subject and we can clear up our misunderstanding easily. You say that you agree that citations are needed for the removed statements to remain in the article. Yet you have re-added them without citations. I think we both understand the meaning of the word 'needed'. So why were they re-added without the citation that even you admit is required of them? Please understand that I did not remove these statements because they are merely controversial, or because they don't fall in line with my own reading -- I removed them because they are outright fabrications. They are absurd to anyone familiar with the subject matter, and I explained as much in the comment which you replied to but seem to have ignored. Even though you say that your editorial requirements are lax compared to wikipedia, I don't see how that is relevant. Are you saying that it is fine for rational wiki to be explicitly WRONG? 74.79.240.188 (talk) 01:29, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
So, the problem is that you deleted them before leaving a [citation needed] for a while - we don't want to have empty pages, and would rather that we leave the cn template there so that people can come along and add a citation if they are familiar with the subject, and so that others who are just reading know that the information is not necessarily reliable. See our what to do with unsourced statements page. And while I appreciate your (apparent) desire to improve the article, I don't have a way of knowing that the claims made in this article are truly "absurd", especially since you're a BoN, which aren't known to be particularly reliable sources. Like I said previously, we encourage people to fix together their own ideas based on other sources, but not everything needs to be directly stated in the source. See what RationalWiki is. These are the two segments that you deleted:
"Taking the elements that are in common to all of them, he has constructed an idea of a primal human methodology that manages to have quite a bit in common with the archetypal noble savage, and that all of humanity — the current hunter-gatherers included — needs to regress to that point, if they are to be free of oppression and corruption." - This is not sourced, but is an idea that seems pretty reasonable, and he has written about this in his works (while this is obviously critical of his ideas, so it's not directly from them).
"Zerzan has inveighed against tool-making (inclined planes etc. are the furthest he's fully comfortable with), art, language, math, and the very concept of time itself, as he believes they deviate from his primal ideal." - I don't know much about Zerzan, but if he truly is against art, language, etc., then that's perfectly fine. Remember that this RW uses SPOV and we are happy to criticize those who ignore science, as you see in the "believes they deviate from his primal ideal." However, if he isn't against those things, then that statement definitely needs to be removed. Thanks, LynnR (talk) 01:58, 23 October 2017 (UTC)