Talk:Richard A. Gardner

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Icon skepticism.svg

This Skepticism related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


Scientific validity of PAS[edit]

Seems a bit brash to chalk up questions about the validity of PAS to "anti-Gardnerian" sentiment. First off, the criticism that he hadn't published any peer-reviewed research was in regard to his early research, which was self-published. I know that much of the research is based on case studies and that Gardner had been trying to get PAS in the DSM, but failed. In addition, the APA link states, "An APA 1996 Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family noted the lack of data to support so-called "parental alienation syndrome", and raised concern about the term's use." However, Gardner is not one of the figures I'm as familiar with as others in the Satan ritual abuse/memory wars and I don't know all that much about the current state of PAS research. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:11, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

First of all, I believe that when you say that we shouldn't chalk up questions about the validity of PAS to "anti-Gardnerian" sentiment to mean that somehow these people have something personal against Gardner; what I meant to say by "anti-Gardnerian" is a group of people who "question" his research by distorting his ideas.
Second, the first time he mentioned the parental alienation syndrome (PAS) by this name was in 1985 in an article named "Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation" in the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry's Academy Forum magazine, so his original research was not self-published. Even if it were, this is sort of a red herring, as later research of PAS, both pro and con, both Gardner and non-Gardner, was published in peer-reviewed journals, so at this point, the fact (or counterfact) that he didn't publish his research in journals is a moot point. (And, BTW, Gardner was not the first to note the PAS phenomenon. It was Wilhelm Reich in his book, Character Analysis, who spoke of divorced parents who defend themselves against narcissistic injury by fighting for custody of their child and defaming their former spouse. These parents seek “revenge on the partner through robbing him or her of the pleasure in the child. … In order to alienate the child from the partner, it is told that the partner is an alcoholic or psychotic, without there being any truth to such statements”. It was Judith Wallerstein and Joan Kelly who published the first study of this phenomenon, by a different name, in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry in 1976.).
The reason why Gardner failed to put the PAS in the DSM is that, at the time, research was not developed. It's still not completely developed today, and psychiatrists want a lot of research for the DSM. Take a look at Tourette's syndrome, which took nearly 100 years (1885-1980) to be recognised in the books.
As I said, that lack of data means that there should be more research on PAS.
Finally, he was not one of the main figures, but he was involved in the Satanic Ritual Abuse as an expert witness, most notably in the Wee Care Nursery School abuse trial.
Faunas (talk) 09:05, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Quote mining often goes both ways[edit]

Given the wording of the quoted writings, I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing is also quoted to bolster "pro-pedophilia" arguments. Though I'm not going to search for those.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:29, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Never seen it, but it might happen. If it does, it would be just like the supposed "links" NAMBLA and gay rights groups: beneficial for NAMBLA and homophobes, bad for gay rights groups. (Of course, quoting Gardner for "pro-pedophilia" arguments is beneficial for pro-pedophiles - including NAMBLA - and anti-Gardnerites, bad for Gardner's memory and PAS proponents). But sure as hell I'm not gonna do that research. Faunas (talk) 11:59, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Namedropping Dawkins[edit]

In fact, Dr. Gardner based his theories on Richard Dawkins's DNA theories. Is he considered pro-pedophile? Absolutely not!

First, what exactly do you mean by "Dawkins' DNA theories"? Second, the fact that person X is not pro-idea A, and person Y claims to base their ideas on person X's "theories" has nothing to do with whether person Y and/or their claims are pro- or anti-A. A lot of physics cranks for example claim to base their "theories" on non-controversial stuff. Third, the last sentence made me snicker. You are apparently unaware of the "belief in hell is worse than child sexual abuse" controversy. Not that it makes Dawkins "pro-pedophile", but...--ZooGuard (talk) 11:35, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Dr. Gardner mentions a book written by Richard Dawkins in 1976 (which one I don't know because he excerpted "A Theory about the Variety of Human Sexual Behaviour" from a book and didn't include his bibliography), and he considers his theory an extension of Dawkins's applied specifically to the various forms of human sexual behaviour. (Read more about this on the section entitled "Dawkins's Theory of Gene Survival and Transmission" on the link I gave you.) Faunas (talk) 11:59, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
I believe that the book was The Selfish Gene and that he based his views on sexuality on the gene-centered view of evolution. Faunas (talk) 12:42, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Oh, and I had never heard about the "belief in hell is worse than child sexual abuse" controversy until the moment I read this, but it seems to me that it was anti-Gardnerian-style quote mining against Dawkins by theists. I do understand why he said that: child sexual abuse is a definite fact, and atheists (which I'm not) don't believe in hell, i.e., don't think it's a fact. Better rephrase withdraw this. Faunas (talk) 12:15, 10 May 2013 (UTC)


Did he mean (consensual) BDSM, or? Because several people here can take an issue with endorsing that view, including Nebuchadnezzar. :D (As far as I know.)--ZooGuard (talk) 11:37, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

He's not very clear about that, he just says "sadomasochism", although given that his definition of paraphilia is "forms of sexual attraction that don't contribute directly to reproduction", I'd have to say he meant consensual BDSM... :( Faunas (talk) 11:59, 10 May 2013 (UTC)


You need also to explicitly clarify what is meant by "pedophilia" in the different instances where it's used - whether it's just "sexual attraction to children" or "sexual abuse of children".--ZooGuard (talk) 11:40, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

It's a bit ambiguous: in the first paragraphs I quote, Gardner uses pedophilia as "sexual attraction to children"; in the last paragraphs, it's "sexual abuse of children". Faunas (talk) 11:59, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

On the elimination attempt[edit]

OK, who is the RW editor who is putting Faunas's law nº 6 into action? Faunas (talk) 10:06, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

That would be Osaka Sun. Can you justify why this article is on-mission? P.S. It's not a violation of your pet cause law, it's questioning why this article belongs on this wiki, period. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 10:13, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
So User:Osaka Sun is the grand applier of Faunas's law nº 6. Very well, then, I guess we'll have to block him from editing more this page.
Why is this article on mission? Because it's a great example on how the heavy use of fallacies to attack someone works, and how some people tend to psychologically project how pseudoscientific they are (they say Gardner is pseudoscientific, but it's actually them, those against Gardner, who are). Besides, this article is related to satanic ritual abuse, confabulations and men's rights. Got it? Faunas (talk) 10:20, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I guess we'll have to block him from editing more this page. No, that is wrong. That's not how this works. It sounds like you've got a persecution complex by proxy on this subject, to the point of psychologically projecting libelious anti-Gardener motivations onto Osaka Sun. At no point did Osaka Sun suggest that Gardener is a pedophile, or pro-pedophile. Instead, OS asked what the fuck this article is doing on this wiki, fellating the old man's history with a puff piece authored by one single person. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 10:31, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Talking about yourself in the third person & referring to your made-up laws as if they're things which people should know & recognise won't tend to endear you to other editors. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 10:38, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Ok, sorry, Weaseloid, but I was trying to make a point. And, because the article was on the mainspace and not on an essay or my user space, I had no option but to refer to myself in the third person, like a journalist would when he wants to say something subjective. Besides, aren't all Internet laws made up by someone? Faunas (talk) 10:53, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand why you feel that you need to act under the editorial standards of a print newspaper when this is a wiki with SPOV, so you can skip it. Also, Internet laws are usually created when one person says something and someone else recognizes the wider applicability of the statement or concept to the Internet. 4chan's "Rules of the Internet" were crowdsourced and adopted by the hivemind, not forced upon them by the one guy who thought they were cool. You really sound pompous deciding that your ideas are unique and worthy tenets of the Internet on the whole. It'd be like me declaring that I am the king of social media, because I decided it was true, while my Twitter account is hardly of notice. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 11:06, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Not only print newspapers, but all media and even encyclopedias (or pseudo-encyclopedias like this, don't get me wrong, by everyone thinks we're an encyclopedia when we're not), as well as every place in which more than one person writes and there is no identification of the article of the author (the page history does not count), which applies to this Wiki too, use the third person style I mentioned. Also, if you go to my user page, I mentioned my "laws" as Internet law proposals, which those recognised Internet laws were at one point. Maybe I should have included a disclaimer in that it was just a proposal, not a widespreadly accepted Internet law. Faunas (talk) 12:12, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I think the point of Internet laws is that they have some greater applicability that catches on because of its innate application to the Internet. What you are doing here is what's known as a forced meme. They never work. Additionally, I wasn't aware that the entire world agreed upon a single style guide. I don't have a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style accessible to me, nor CP Style, but we are not a strictly journalistic enterprise, nor is there any sort of universal English language consensus that you seem to believe exists. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 12:18, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I didn't say the world agreed upon a single style guide, and I don't have any style guide. I said that, in every place in which more than one person writes and there is no identification of the author of the article, we, the editors, use the third person when referring to ourselves. (This isn't a consensus?) On Faunas's law nº 6, I think it definitely applies to the article, and I want it to catch on. If you read any article outside RW on Gardner or PAS you'll see it applies, there are always drones of nutsies claiming Gardner is a pro-pedophile and/or that Gardner and other PAS proponents are secret pedophiles/abusers. :) Faunas (talk) 12:30, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Your law applies to the article because you wrote the article to document it. That's circular reasoning. I'm glad this isn't a drinking game or I'd be too smashed to keyboard. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 12:36, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Nope, I wrote the law because it applies in Internet and even real life (if you don't believe me, go to the comments section on any article on Gardner and/or PAS). I wrote the article in order to refutes the assertion "Gardner is pro-pedophile and his ideas pseudoscientific" on condensed version. But what refutes that assertion is already in Gardner's books, studies, etc, etc, so it's not a circular reasoning. Yes, I proposed the law more or less at the same time I wrote the article, but that's because I remembered the text at that exact moment - it's just a coincidence that it came out at that time. (The law only applies to this article because it's about Gardner and there are people who say those things.) It's just like Mike Godwin writing about Nazis and making him think of Godwin's Law at the same time when writing about Nazis. Faunas (talk) 13:05, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
The other part of laws is their broader applicability. Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies is applicable to a wide swath of the Internet because people reach for comparisons to Nazis/Hitler on a constant basis, and it's a tired and clichéd logical fallacy that is common enough to warrant "Godwin's Law" gaining a notable frequency of use. Your law narrowly refers to online critics of a man with disputed theories. These are not of equal notoriety or notability. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 13:16, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, but I was able to succesfully prove Gardner was not pro-pedophile, so its broader applicabililty stands. It's a fallacy that Gardner is considered pro-pedophile just because of some quote-mined quotes. If you mean "broader" in the sense of to whom it applies, let me renind you of Scopie's Law against, and also parts of Faunas's Law nº 6 apply to people other than Richard Gardner. The idea that Gardner is pro-pedophile is itself cliched and tired. Faunas (talk) 13:24, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
You asserting something does not make it true. Your first law is essentially a description of attacking the person instead of the argument, which I'm sorry to say has predated you by quite a long time. Your second law is a description of argument by self-reference, and again, predates you by a very long time. Your third law explains that it is the definition of the fallacy of circular reasoning, and therefore is completely superfluous. Your fourth law should be a corollary of Cohen's Law instead of a distinct law of its own, as it is a modification to Cohen's Law. Your fifth law is some strange halfway point between Poe's Law and the Dunning-Kreuger Effect, and out of any of these I would give you this one, even if it's pretty obvious.
It really sounds like you're waving your arms and jumping around, yelling "look at meeee" when you mention these. It appears seriously narcissistic. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 13:37, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I admit that these laws were already told in some form long before I mentioned them (which I explicitly admit in the first law, which is in philosophy an ad hominem, and in the fifth law, although I coined the law before I learned of Russell's Law). But I was just trying to put all these things in easy-to-read Godwin-like Internet laws. Ironically, using the Godwin's Law argument, you are again wrong in calling me a narcissist, because there was already a "Godwin's-Law-before-Godwin's-Law", called reductio at Hitlerum, coined in 1951, so by this analogy, you're calling Godwin a narcissist. On Faunas's Law nº 3, many people don't know the real definition of "begging the question", and, when I started learning English, I always got confused with this expression: was it the fallacy or the other expression? (This is why I want it to spread memetically.) On the fifth law, sometimes obvious things have to be told out loud, because some people are really that stupid (when I read the Wikipedia article on The Colbert Report, I couldn't believe some conservatives were that stupid in thinking that it was a parody of their opponents' view of themselves, instead of it being a parody of themselves, and that's how the law came to my mind). In a more general point, one day I just read something which made me remind of a phrase which applied to the situation and then wrote it as an Internet law proposal. Faunas (talk) 14:05, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
P.S.: What do my five other laws matter to this discussion? They have nothing to do with Gardner nor PAS. Faunas (talk) 14:24, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
By merely suggesting his ideas were pseudoscientific, and unless he specifically says otherwise, he considers Gardner to have been a pro-pedophile, because the main "prove" people who are against Gardner's ideas have is that he was somehow pro-pedophile, which he wasn't. I'm not saying he was being libelous, I'm saying that the ideas on which the assertion that Gardner's ideas are pseudoscientific is based are pseudoscientific. He might well believe they are pseudoscientific without knowing the real origin of this assertion, and I'm saying we'll have to block him because next he might try to change the article in order to say he was pseudoscientific, and include the quote-mined strawman version of his ideas on paraphilias, especially pedophilia. Faunas (talk) 10:53, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
What you're doing right here? You're putting words into Osaka Sun's mouth and projecting motivations. And if your idea of the right way to handle it is to block a well-known (on RW), productive, constructive sysop from editing the article, you can expect little cooperation from the rest of us. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 11:06, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Deletion vote[edit]

Rather than pander to latherhead's pet obsession (defending Richard A. Gardener from all comers, real or imagined) and waste time on that, I'm calling a vote so we can see if there's a consensus on the value of this article. It's not an election vote, so I don't think we need to worry about standing. I suggest letting it run for a week or until a clear consensus emerges on the fate of the article, subject to new developments (maybe it gets cleaned up into a more mission-worthy state that changes minds, who knows). I'm going to assume there're no objections (other than Faunas's expected protests of persecution and wild allegations of conspiracy) to the vote and begin. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 10:55, 11 May 2013 (UTC)


  1. Faunas (talk) 10:58, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
  2. Should be more focused on the pseudoscientific theory (that is still really popular outside of science), but as a concept is needed)--Token Conservative (talk) 16:50, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
  3. Keep -- related to satanic ritual abuse and the memory wars. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:59, 11 May 2013 (UTC)


  1. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 10:55, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
  2. Shock of shocks. Another essay in mainspace. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 12:47, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
  3. Mission irrelevant. Talking about a theory and why it is not scientific might be, but as an article about a person, it probably isn't. Sterilesig.svgtalk 14:31, 11 May 2013 (UTC)


Vote-specific discussion[edit]

Off-topic side discussion goes here[edit]

1. What's a latherhead? (I already know, from the use of the word, that it is derrogatory, but what does it mean specifically?) 2. I didn't accuse anyone at RW of psychological projection or of a conspiracy, I accuse those who are against Gardner and PAS of the first, not the second (I'm not paranoid). 3. As I proved in the article I wrote, there is heavy use of fallacies against Gardner (such as quote mining, appeal to nature and appeal to emotion) and lies (such as that he is pro-pedophile, that the PAS is somehow scientifically invalid, or that his guidelines on child custody and child sexual abuse are somehow not in conformity with accepted guidelines). Faunas (talk) 11:09, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

  1. Well, "lather" is what you get if you rub a wet bar of soap against a wet washcloth -- soap suds and bubbles. In English, if you're the sort to be playful with language, you can sort of attach "-head" onto the end of any noun, with results ranging from silly to deadly insult. In this specific context, I'm being more silly than deliberately hurtful. I would've called you a shithead if I really wanted to anger you.
  2. No, that's exactly what you are doing, you are projecting. That's what I'm saying.
  3. So? People writing hit pieces about a dead man whose scientific work is of disputed and questionable validity is not really on-mission. Well, maybe it is, but I don't think your article is.
Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 11:17, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
2. You mentioned RW editors would "[expect] protests of persecution and wild allegations of conspiracy", so you were accusing me of accusing RW editors of persecuting me, projecting on me and conspiring against me. Yes, I exagerated a lot about Osaka Sun, but fears of a real hit peace against Gardner with works which quote-mine him are real. Go for instance to a proeminent anti-Gardner website/hit peace, the "Liz Library", which I quoted in the article. There are already two warning signs when you enter that page: Haig's Law and Timecube Law. Then, in a display of crank magnetism, Liz defends quasi-pseudosciences such as recovered memory therapy and quotes from Judith Reisman and ridiculous things such as fathers' rights activists and PAS proponents secretly controlling the American family courts. This would be the kind of sites that Osaka Sun probably would quote from if he edited this article, that's why I proposed him from blocking this article, not RW. (I'm not saying he's unproductive in RationalWiki, I'm saying he'd be unproductive in this article.)
3. If I really wanted to write a (pro-Gardner) hit peace, I wouldn't even touch his homophobia. By your definition of "hit peace", 90% of what RW is notable for is hit peaces against creationists, Conservapedia and alt med (which I'm totally in agreement that these things should be criticized). And, since this Wiki is about rationality, the use of fallacies and lies is against rationality and the opponents of Gardner use fallacies and lies, then this article is definitely within the remit of this Wiki.
Faunas (talk) 12:00, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't believe I offered any explanation or personal definition of "hit piece.". I'm also curious to know how you know which sites Osaka Sun would "probably" use, especially with the direct implications that OS would try and use Timecube-like resources in support of... well, anything. Please put the strawman down and talk to us like an adult. Seriously, have you actually read what you're writing here? Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 12:14, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
You used the term "hit peace", with an implied meaning, which was to me a "partial" article on a partial fact. Well, a hit peace is any peace which praises one side and attacks another (which this article is not, since it quotes facts in an undistorted manner, while the Liz Library is). The Liz Library is one of the "go-to" pages when you want to refute PAS and Gardner, so it's not a strawman. And yes, I read what I wrote here and I agree with it. Faunas (talk) 12:18, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
The strawman I refer to is the one you're holding up with "OSAKA SUN" painted in crude lettering on it with a little hand-made "GARDANER RAPEZ CHILDRUN" sign pinned to one arm. You have not once accurately represented this editor's actions, instead telling yourself that this is once again confirmation that the evil Anti-Gardnerian forces have found RationalWiki and are trying to silence the truth. You really sound too obsessed to behave objectively on this topic. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 12:23, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
My forced meme has two parts: that Gardner is (supposedly) pro-pedophile and/or that Gardner and other PAS proponents are (supposedly) secret pedophiles/abusers. I only made claims on the first part of the meme, not the second. But, if Osaka Sun doesn't think that, he's free to say it and I'll accept it. It is because of what I said previously that I say otherwise. Faunas (talk) 12:38, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
So what you're saying is, you're here to push an agenda and you're happy to put words into peoples' mouths until they speak up to make you stop. Yeah, your article is doomed unless it gets a complete rewrite by someone with more objectivity on the matter. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 12:42, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Ok, let's not overreact, I retract what I said about Osaka Sun, but you've got to understand why I reacted like this. Again, if he wishes to specify what he thinks on the subject, he should write. Faunas (talk) 12:52, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand why you're reacting like this, but you at least appear to be obsessed with trying to protect this man's reputation to the point of almost taking personal offense. You are also on the record in this talk page, on multiple occasions, of immediately advocating censorship against the first RW editor to oppose you. You proceeded to hold up a strawman and continued to shake it around after I called you on it. In my eyes, you have no credibility or objectivity in this matter, and I cannot help but treat anything you say about Gardner to be suspect. Gardner may legitimately be unfairly maligned and misrepresented by other quack sites, but you are not helping him at all, and I don't feel that the current draft of this article has any business existing in mainspace. RationalWiki is not your blog. Ochotona princepsnot a pokémon 13:25, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Gardner is "unfairly maligned and misrepresented by other quack sites", and the way these sites misrepresent Gardner is by saying he's pro-pedophile when he isn't and thus he's pseudoscientific. Yes, I exagerated with Osaka Sun, but this misrepresentation has lasted for so long that someone who refutes the "Gardner is a pro-pedophile" trope and then another someone comes and says his ideas are largely discredited, when it's total BS (just read the fucking article if you don't believe me) and this "discredited" thing is largely by those who do that previous trope, is going to feel him/herself frustated by people who say it's discredited and lash out in this manner. Besides, I have a personal reason: Richard Gardner did not die. I am him! Gotcha! Just kidding. (Yes, I do have a personal reason, but that's just because I've invested too much time in writing this article and it would be a shame if that time would go to waste!) Faunas (talk) 13:43, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Also, I don't believe in any "evil anti-Gardnerian conspiracy"; however, I do believe that they are "evil" in the sense that they choose to quote-mine from Gardner instead of passing along his real thought. If there is a conspiracy, it would be like the one by recovered memory therapy proponents and satanic ritual abuse believers against false memory syndrome proponents in the 80s, or the one by alt med proponents and believers against Stephen Barrett and other anti-quackery activists. Faunas (talk) 12:52, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Parental alienation syndrome[edit]

Why doesn't the article explain what parental alienation syndrome is? Are you assuming the reader already knows, or doesn't need to know? It would seem relevant to a discussion about whether Gardner's theories are scientifically valid; more so than merely asserting that they are peer-reviewed & anti-Gardnerians are wrong, as the article currently does. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 11:06, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

You're right. I'll add a definition of PAS to the article. Faunas (talk) 11:10, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Already done. Faunas (talk) 11:31, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Citing Google Scholar[edit]

Google Scholar does not index only peer-reviewed articles, but anything resembling a scholarly article. Please don't rely on it in this way.--ZooGuard (talk) 12:02, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Then, what free scholarly articles free search engine would you recommend to me? Faunas (talk) 12:05, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Web of Science, JStor, SSRN, PsycInfo, etc. Not all of them are free, but you can at least view citations and abstracts. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:03, 11 May 2013 (UTC)