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User talk:ScepticWombat

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New logo large.png Welcome to RationalWiki, ScepticWombat!

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What's up, buddy? Welcome to RationalWiki, the internet's most cherished goat. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 10:00, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

You are[edit]

Autopatrolled- in other words, us admin folk no longer get notified when you edit. This is our way of saying "you've been doing some good shit around here". If you keep up the good work, it's likely that you could be further promoted (or as we say here, "demoted") to a sysop/admin- this demotion will give you the abilities to change some user rights, to block people, and to do a whole bunch of other stuff I can't remember right now because I'm tired as fuck. Anyway, yeah. Keep up the good work! DØØM MĖSSIÅH Push the envelope, watch it bendDolan.png 10:57, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Whoah! Thanks a bunch! Don't know what I'd do with "greater rights", you know, power corrupts and all that jazz..., nah, I really couldn't care less about other users' abilities to share their wisdom and/or ignorance. I'm simply happy that I no longer have to complete a word puzzle for every edit I make (whoohoo!) :-D
ScepticWombat (talk) 11:23, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

Addressing people[edit]

Just a heads up: no need to copy/paste the signature links of the people you mention on talk pages, especially the more... decorative ones. Typing the name or a reasonable approximation of the name is enough. Even initials are sufficient, if it's clear who are you talking about. :) --ZooGuard (talk) 11:57, 7 December 2014 (UTC)


Please don't vandalize pages on RationalWiki, as you did at Republican Party. Continuing to do so can result in a block on your account. FrankNFurter (talk) 03:56, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Since when does replacing a grossly simplifying edit with a more accurate and snarky one (which also links to more relevant RW articles) constitute "vandalism"?
PS. I can see that someone else preferred my version too, since it has already been reinstated. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:37, 19 December 2014 (UTC)


Thank you, I suppose, for the "welcome", rather than the unwelcome. ^_^ (And Happy Christmas!) As you might be able to tell, I am not the standard RationalWiki visitor. But I looked at the mission statement and POV of this wiki, and while I will not make the scientific method my God (my be-all-and-end-all, for there is more to reason than the natural sciences), I think we have a lot more in common than not.

Now it seems very irrational to attack St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI alongside John Calvin and Ray Comfort. In my naïve Catholic rationalism, it makes you all seem just as bad as the fundamentalist Christians. Fundamentalism is bad, precisely because it attacks things foreign to it without discretion. And it seems Christianity is attacked almost without discretion on this wiki.

That being said, I understand why, somewhat. There are many truly irrational and science-hating Christians here in America, where most of the editors hail from. And a lot of them make a lot of press. I am personally opposed to this sort of thing, and would like to help the viewers and editors of this wiki discriminate between the anti-scientific and scientific (in the sense of encompassing all sciences, including the natural sciences, history, philosophy, and even law). [Only if you reaaaaaaalllly have the time.]

I am not the most learned man in the world. I have much to learn. But we could be allies against made-up nonsense - real made up nonsense - even if y'all wants no part of mah religiyun biyzness. What d'you say? (talk) 15:30, 25 December 2014 (UTC) PS: You may call me "Fr. Yuriy Shevchenko", even if I never get an account. PPS: Happy Christmas, and/or Channukah and/or Kwanzaa if those are still going on!

The importance of the selection' process in the evolution of wiki page[edit]

Hello. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to look at the work I had done on the evolution page, before it got rolled back.

I got the distinct impression that the person who rolled it back meant well, but didn't actually read my changes. The stuff above the index had gotten a bit long, so I moved much of them are in the new Overview section. It's possible that it was thought at a glance that I had deleted other people's work or something, but that is simply not the case. I do not know who is currently active in here, as I am new here, but you seem to care about the topic of evolution, so I'm asking. Thanks.

DonaldKronos (talk) 08:53, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

While I'm somewhat flattered by this "referee request", I think the proper place for such a dispute is on the evolution talkpage and/or the talkpage of ZooGuard, who reverted your changes. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:33, 27 December 2014 (UTC)


He's wrong about the reasons for it, but kind of right about the effects; the thermal pulse from the bomb did things like leave areas of unburned skin where people were wearing wristwatches, and there were cases where people received burns which corresponded to their clothing (eg this) but they weren't as comically horrific as is being suggested. King Skeleton (talk) 19:51, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Now that sounds plausible (i.e. protected patches of skin not being burned), rather than the inverted examples mentioned in the article. Again, I see no problem in highlighting the truly horrific effects of the nuclear blasts, which caused multitudes of terrible burns. And I admit to being wrong about the example, so thanks for the pic (however unpleasant it may be). ScepticWombat (talk) 20:02, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
Some synthetics will worsen burns when they melt onto skin, so that could cause patterns to be burnt into skin.--TiaC (talk) 20:28, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
True, there are things that could have happened but might not be written down. However, I think EE is taking more than a bit of artistic license with a number of articles, like inversing what happened with the thermal impacts and patterning of skin. It's just guessing without a source. Some license would be no problem, and I know I have done it, but it's getting a little out of hand with speculation...Hitler owning slaves, not as bad as with the bug bite pain scales...but people are reverting these issues more often than known pains like RobSmith. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 20:44, 31 December 2014 (UTC)
I've has breakfast now; eating healthier should have been a higher priority. Hitler slaves was a book recommended to me on Wikipedia; I haven't read much of it; there was no consesus either way in that discussion other than that it would question the definition of slavery; which is what Drmies said. The pain scale is a zen retort to the fallacy; it's a clever way around it using sciences which should count I think, I believe House uses the a different pain scale in some episode; for what that's worth.

I need to cite the specific pages from now on with something as specific as the atomic bomb disease; that way their is no license; I will be researching that more. Leaving is my New Years resolution, I'll be writing on Rome Islam Egypt China and the Historical Revisionism of the atomic bombings, with a quote from 1984 ""Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." for historical revisionism in general; than I'll be done. It will at least be references to check, and it's history with the exception of the atomic bombings. That cool, sorry about not including page numbers? Exiled Encyclopedist (talk) 00:28, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Good on ya' Exiled Encyclopedist, I apologise if I went a bit overboard with my scorn - not knowing stuff is something we all have to live with, it's not learning new stuff and realising the extent of our ignorance which is the problem. I guess I've just been slightly warped by my encounter with LogicMaster and a dimwit on Wikipedia and so unfortunately generalised overly much. But just be careful if your sources include the kind of colourful language found in the NYT article on Pellegrino - that's usually an indication that your fact checking should be extra thorough. ScepticWombat (talk) 11:47, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Nomination to the Board of Trustees[edit]

It's occured. oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 05:40, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Reminder: You only have until 26 January to accept your nomination. oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 05:40, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the nomination, but I'm ineligible, since I've only had an account since July 24th, 2014, and you need a year's seniority to run for the board. Don't think I'd run even if I was eligible, though. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:29, 23 January 2015 (UTC)


Because of your edits to and time on the wiki, wizard Sysop has been added to your user rights. Feel free to let your newfound POWER course through your veins. Once the high wears off, see RationalWiki:Sysop guide for more information. If you have questions, bleat ask away. oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 04:04, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Damn, what have I ever done to you that you should give me a mop? ;-) ScepticWombat (talk) 08:59, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Category usage[edit]

Categories don't always have to fit topic to a "T," so long as they are closely related. In the case of Edward Abbey, it's safe to say, based off the information in the article, he's intertwined enough with the hard green movement that the category fits. He may not have exactly been a hard green himself, but that his ideas are cited by them is more than enough to link him in with the hard green category. Noisemobile (talk) 11:17, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Okay, that's cool. ScepticWombat (talk) 11:19, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

About avoiding the repetition of the same citation[edit]

Help:References #Repeating references--ZooGuard (talk) 10:02, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Articles for deletion discussion[edit]

You may wish to comment on the ongoing articles for deletion discussion about article "John Duffield". oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 02:49, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

European Union[edit]

Hey Wombat, thanks for correcting my language mistakes, I'll try to pay more attention to them before I save my edits. Now. I think I should say I disagree that Hallstein was more powerful then Delors. Hallstein in the end lost to his opponents when he got forced out of office by the French 'boycot' during his little fight with de Gaulle, and most of his truly federalist plans and goals were not realised until 25/30 years later. Hallstein was maybe more influential in the long term as a theorizer and thinker on Europe and federalism, but when it comes to power (and I realise I can't objectivly proof this) I think Delors had a lot more. I'd just thought I'd let you know like this instead of reverting your edit, so please let me know what you think. (InsertOpinion) (talk) 15:45, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

So Hallstein lost to de Gaulle - unlike Delors who (learning from Hallstein's example) never tried a similar face down. Just because you lose doesn't mean you aren't powerful. Delors essentially worked within the parameters set by Hallstein's defeat (that no COM President can defy the head of the big core states, such as France or Germany). Hallstein was essentially defining what the Commission was all about and testing the limits of its powers. If anything Delors was harking back to a "Hallsteinian" style of Presidential COM leadership, with the COM in the vanguard of an open and unapologetic federalist agenda. ScepticWombat (talk) 15:54, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
PS. I loathe references to "the average European" even more than the invocation of "the average American". It reeks of the sort of "real Europe/America" as opposed to the (presumably) "false Europe/America" found in Brussels/Washington. Who is this "average European"? Average in the sense of what? ScepticWombat (talk) 16:00, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
I concede on the Delors part. But, on the "average European" thing: I am not 'invoking' anything, as far as I'm concerned, by this single reference towards it nor do I have some 'between the lines' hidden agenda. If you really think it's a problem, you can of course take it out. My wording is not always perfect as English is not my first language. (InsertOpinion) (talk) 16:08, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
I might axe the average European (heh), but I'm at least astute enough to realise that this loathing is more of a pet peeve of mine, so don't worry about it ;-) ScepticWombat (talk) 16:10, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Not sure what's controversial about the use of "average" as synonym of "common/ordinary". It's just a way of saying the politicians aren't representing the general population's sentiments. (talk) 16:17, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, that is actually the problem. It's easy to claim that "politicians aren't representing the general population's sentiments", but it's unclear what that actually means. It has become a sort of catch-all term waved about and into which all kinds of more or less spurious claims can be plugged. Unless it's related to a specific issue and backed up with empirical data, it's essentially an empty phrase. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:27, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, when a bunch of people vote on parties whose main stance on the EU is "Let's shut this whole thing down." that's a pretty clear empirical indication that a significant portion of the European populace don't agree with where politicians are stearing the EU-project. (talk) 17:21, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Maybe yes, but I believe the sentence in the article was about the European Community in in the 60s~80s (InsertOpinion) (talk) 17:24, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
If we were to apply it to the contemporary situation, then considering that the "bunch of people" mentioned by .236 is clearly a minority, you could turn the argument on its head and argue that the "average European" is still either actively or tacitly pro-EU, or at least not overtly Eurosceptic. Also, those parties which actually want to "shut the whole thing down" are a minority even within Euroscepticism itself. Essentially, it's UKIP, the (Danish) People's Movement against the EU and probably a couple more. Most Eurosceptic parties don't want to dissolve or exit the EU, but want all kinds of different (and often mutually incompatible) versions of it. I'd actually be more worried about turnout, particularly for EP elections. ScepticWombat (talk) 00:40, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Minor Edit[edit]

Once again, thanks for cleaning up after me, let's hope my writing will improve soon enough so you won't have to do this everytime I write something. Anyway, minor question, when dó I use a Minor Edit check? For correcting spelling mistakes or things like that? (Tell Me What To Think)(I'll tell you what to feel) 11:38, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

In short, yes. Minor edits are for spell checks, grammar, correcting errors in links and similar stuff that doesn't really affect the content - other than making it more readable, of course ;-). Adding new links is not a minor edit, nor is adding a single paragraph or sentence, since either of these can easily affect the context and content of the rest of the article. Even adding internal links to RW articles in the "See also" section or categories can affect the context of the article (and are thus not minor edits either). You can also check out Help:Etiquette which is simply a condensed and "RW'ified" version of Help:Minor editWikipedia.
Btw, you might want to consider enabling spell checking in your browser as a rough filter - I do that myself (I'm not a native speaker either, though I'm quite proficient. However, I have to remember that my spell check is set for British English while RW tends to run on its U.S. offspring). Or (more cumbersomely) you could consider composing your version in a text document using Word/LibreOffice/whatever, which may catch more "sophisticated" errors in the grammar, and then pasting it into the article. I think the latter approach may be especially useful if you're going to add large amounts of new text (e.g. whole new paragraphs or entirely new articles).
Anyway, good luck and happy editing! ScepticWombat (talk) 12:05, 21 February 2015 (UTC)


Controversial edit... Gcolvin (talk) 03:07, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

aka another round in "lawyer-fying" RW, aka No, I really don't give much of a fuck about this one, but gave it a shot anyway. ScepticWombat (talk) 04:07, 26 February 2015 (UTC)


How is it cherry-picking to point out that Hitler was an avowed Christian who used Christian rhetoric to galvanize his followers? Let's not pretend Christian apologists have anything resembling a leg to stand on when they try to claim he was an atheist. --ShorinBJ (talk) 18:00, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Because Hitler's beliefs are far from as clear cut Christian as claimed by certain atheist/anti-theists whose approach seem worryingly close to fundie Christians in their penchant for cherry picking references to God or the divine and claim this is proof of Hitler's Christianity. These references aren't, though they're useful in debunking the "Hitler the Atheist"-nonsense so beloved of Christian fundies. Hitler's religious sentiments seem rather opaque and eclectic with various types of mysticism and vitalism mixed in. Just because Hitler was religious doesn't mean he was a Christian. ScepticWombat (talk) 19:29, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
What do you or anyone know about what Hitler privately believed? He identified as a Christian, and that's pretty much all you need to be a Christian. There are so many hugely different flavors of Christianity that to point at one and say, "That doesn't qualify" is hair-splitting nonsense. It's firmly in No True Scotsman territory. --ShorinBJ (talk) 03:07, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
Hitler made private statements that Christianity was corrupt / too Jewish / etc, which probably gets close to his private beliefs. The whole "debate" over Hitler's beliefs is irrelevant; a single man's beliefs do not a Holocaust make. the fact that Hitler successfully used Christian rhetoric towards a Christian populace to rise to power, to justify war, and to justify genocide, should be enough to show that Christianity not exactly antithetical to oppression. Sir ℱ℧ℤℤϒℂᗩℑᑭƠℑᗩℑƠ (talk/stalk) 04:29, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
Of course "Christianity [is] not exactly antithetical to oppression", but I simply don't think that Hitler is a very good example of that. Again, from the arguments I've seen so far, Hitler's beliefs are not clear, though he was certainly religious. To categorically state that he was a Christian doesn't match the rather scanty evidence, though he was at least a cafeteria or cultural Christian,Wikipedia since most Germans (and indeed Europeans) of that age were either active worshippers or cultural Christians (that's still the case, come to think of it). Saying that he was a Christian without adding any qualifications gives the impression that Hitler was an active worshipper (he definitely wasn't) and suggests that Christianity had a prominent place in, or as an inspiration for, Nazi ideology (it didn't). I get a bit dismayed when some atheists/anti-theists, in my eyes, copy the dubious practices of Christian fundies by trying to place Hitler on "the other team" through cherry picking a few rather unclear quotes and building very strong conclusions on them. ScepticWombat (talk) 06:24, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
I certainly wouldn't claim Hitler was a strong Christian. It seems unlikely that his own religion was something he gave a great deal of thought to beyond using it as a tool to control and motivate people (or as an obstacle, sometimes). But he was prima facie a Christian. He was raised as one, and it was his chosen religious identity, at least publicly. I don't see the need to quote him at all, when we have those facts. --ShorinBJ (talk) 05:07, 16 March 2015 (UTC)


Yes, the links are necessary. BTW, have not you find the claims funny? --ThisIsYeah (talk) 09:31, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Of course I did - that's why I added the humorous links à la Occam's duct tape. It reminded me of the tortuous interpretations of the bible or Koran used by fundies trying to demonstrate their "amazing" accuracy in predicting the future and/or scientific discoveries. Or why obviously legendary material, such as Jesus' resurrection or Muhammad's night journey, just "has" to be unvarnished history. Or, for that matter, the various forms of aliensdidit and/or out-of-place artefacts.
The argumentation is pretty much the same in all instances:
False dilemma + Occam's duct tape = Preferred mystical/magical explanation must be true.
ScepticWombat (talk) 10:06, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
Hindutva groups are very active worldwide and have infiltrated the academic establishment (see p. 23-27 of this report). --ThisIsYeah (talk) 11:29, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
As far as I can see from the report, the Hindutva groups haven't as much "infiltrated the academic establishment" as they have created their own parallel echo chamber of pseudo-academia - I wonder where they got that idea... ScepticWombat (talk) 13:09, 12 April 2015 (UTC)


Western schools of thought look at material evidence of history. We can’t produce material evidence for everything. India is a continuing civilisation. To look for evidence would mean digging right though the hearts of villages and displacing people. We only have to look at the people to figure out the similarities in their lives and the depiction in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. For instance, the Ramayana mentions that RamaWikipedia had travelled to Bhad­ra­chalamWikipedia (in Andhra PradeshWikipedia). A look at the people and the fact that his having lived there for a while is in the collective memory of the people cannot be discounted in the search for material evidence. In continuing civilisations such as ours, the writing of history cannot depend only on archaeological evidence. We have to depend on folklore too.

Source: [1]. Could you figure out the fallacies in this statement? Some points I can figure out are the following:

  • Providing material or archeological evidence is not always possible, we have to depend on folklore too.
  • This means he believes something as true, then trying to produce evidence to support that. This is what creationists do too. What exactly is the term for this act?
  1. That would be a variant of an argument by assertion with a dash of appeal to tradition.
  2. And it of course ignores the very good reasons historians (myself included, btw) have for not simply accepting folklore at face value. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:52, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
  • To look for evidence would mean digging right though the hearts of villages and displacing people.
  1. Yes, it is. It's also a red herring or possibly an escape hatch bordering on an emotional appeal ("Oh, the poor farmers!" - as if anyone suggests that it's necessary to move in with bulldozers and demolition crews. Contrast with how we've acquired knowledge of other ancient, but still inhabited, sites, such as Rome, Jerusalem, Jericho or Istanbul). ScepticWombat (talk) 07:52, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
  • We only have to look at the people to figure out the similarities in their lives and the depiction in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
  • What is the logical fallacy in this statement?
  1. It's the same that biblical literalists use when they pull the "these events were real, hence the entire bible must be correct"-stunt that is called the Spider-Man fallacy on RW. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence is probably the most used objection.
  2. It also involves circular reasoning, because it use the fact that folklore match written epics which were originally orally transmitted as evidence that the written version is correct. This is patently absurd and amounts to using the correspondence between the depiction of Spider-Man in the movies and in the comics as "evidence" that Spider-Man must be real and that the movies are essentially documentaries. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:52, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
  • In continuing civilisations such as ours, the writing of history cannot depend only on archaeological evidence. We have to depend on folklore too.
  • What is a continuing civilisation? What are the problems in this concept? How could one be sure whether the folklore is myth or reality?
  1. This one reeks of special pleading and ad hoc - it's like when various paranormal woo peddlers make all kinds of excuses why their branch of woo doesn't work when subjected to actually controlled experiments. Try to imagine a Dane, a Norwegian, or a Swede making this same argument and insisting that the tales of Thor and the JörmungandrWikipedia has to be taken as fact(oids), because the Norse lands are "a continuing civilisation". It's a nonsensical notion, and as you correctly pointed out, the vague concept of "a continuing civilisation" isn't even explained (making it something of a hand wave too). ScepticWombat (talk) 07:52, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

I am waiting for your respose because you know logic and logical fallacies better than me. --ThisIsYeah (talk) 06:09, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Well done spotting the multitude of BS in that short paragraph. And don't worry, you'll quickly habituate yourself to the fallacy lingo here on RW, especially as these fundie types use remarkably similar techniques fallacies, whether they're pantheon stems from the Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, some eclectic New Age mix or something else entirely. I suggest a tour of RW's articles on logical fallacies, especially the fallacious arguments category and its sub-categories of formal and informal fallacies. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:52, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Wow, thanks, for the detailed refutation. I have added a refutation in Hindutva#Pseudohistory_and_pseudoarcheology. Please review it. One point, many fundamentalists in India try to discredit neutral scholarship arguing "this suffers from western bias". What kind of fallacy is this? --ThisIsYeah (talk) 09:31, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
I guess that would be other ways of knowing dressed up as an objection to Eurocentric scientism, but really it's just another garden variety of anti-scientific promotion of pseudoscience. It's similar to the whining among Christian fundamentalist about the supposed "anti-miracular" bias of historians who dare point out that the tall tales of the bible can easily be explained without resorting to Goddidit. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:00, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
I've cut down the responses to Rao on the Hindutva page a bit to make them more succinct. I hope you like it. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:45, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
More elements of laugh and shock here. If possible, you make necessary edits to make the tone more humorous. --ThisIsYeah (talk) 10:28, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Paul and Prophet Fred[edit]

I did a rewrite the Paul and Prophet Fred section showing what my actual point was.--BruceGrubb (talk) 19:24, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Groovy, I might check it out during the weekend. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:11, 8 May 2015 (UTC)


Thanks. FuzzyCatTomato (talk/stalk) 21:42, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

No worries. ScepticWombat (talk) 23:51, 18 May 2015 (UTC)


Unless the IP constantly checks their block log or RecentChanges, they're not gonna notice that anything happened. (talk) 11:32, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

True, but it'll show up in the block log for that IP, so it's more for future reference if this BoN keeps on and/or steps up posting these irrelevant rants which are completely off-topic in relation to the talk pages they have appeared on. Symbolic, I know. ScepticWombat (talk) 13:59, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Regarding the Revert[edit]

Could you elaborate on your two points for why you changed my edits back? I never intended for it to be a minor edit (are major edits forbidden on that page?), and the reason I changed it is because those three sentences sound like Tea Party talking points. I'm not angry or anything, just curious. ConfusedLiberal (talk) 22:11, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Glad to hear it was just a glitch that you checked the minor edit box as my first point was that though marked as a minor edit, it really wasn't (minor edits are for correcting grammar, punctuation, fixing links and the like). So no, you're free to make any kind of edit you want to to that (and any other) page.
As for the style, considering the hard-nosed tone in general on the donkey & elephant show pages, I didn't see a reason to hedge, though I'll admit that there might be problems à la the balance fallacy in this approach.
Whether your or the reverted version is used is not a cardinal point for me, which is what I tried to hint at with the "feel free to revert" bit. Happy editing. ScepticWombat (talk) 04:37, 1 July 2015 (UTC)


CharlieBass is a sockpuppet of Mikemikev. On that account he added Anthroscape, Forumbiodiversity, Bonesandbehaviours, VNNforum, Hbdchick and so on as hit-pages since he's been banned on all these forums & blogs, so he wrote them as slander and then blames the page-creations onto other people. He's admitted to impersonating anti-racists on this site and elsewhere to get his edits through. "Charlie Bass" is the name of an Anthroscape member, Mikemikev has a history of impersonating online.

All these pages should be deleted. Its not as if they are even significant or pass notability critia, and they just read as attack pages. Bonesandbehaviours for example doesn't even now exist (its been deleted for well over a year) and is irrelevant, it was a crappy forum with less than 10 posters. Hbdchick is just a BlogSpot, that has little traffic.

And my other issue was just removing where Mikemikev links to a libelous thread he created at Anthroscape about me. If you follow that link you will also see his account is banned there. Gorgonite (talk) 20:27, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

One: At RW we usually don't give a hoot about what happens off-site.
Two: RW doesn't operate under notability criteria, but as a mobocracy. Make your case and see what happens. Just going around and deleting stuff you don't like isn't going to get you very far.
Three: Just because the articles were originally created by a moron doesn't mean they don't deal with topics relevant to RW's mission. I can also see that several of them have been worked on subsequently by other editors, but you could of course try to nominate all of them and maybe the mob will agree with you. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:31, 7 July 2015 (UTC)


Making an article more accurate isn't vandalism. — Unsigned, by: Dsmelser / talk / contribs 19:46, 30 July 2015‎

Protip: Starting an editwar won't endear you here to anyone and your edits were anything but accurate.--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ 19:57, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
No, they were definitely accurate. Your characterizations of Ward Churchill's positions (and admittedly, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to ridicule the guy) are ludicrous and quite clearly based on sound bites. Dsmelser (talk) 20:16, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Another pro-tip for Dsmelser: Signing and time stamping your posts lends a bit more weight to your tips. Besides, at least two other editors disagree with you, and I'd have reverted your edit as well. This wiki doesn't encourage pro-Nazi BS and adding it (e.g. by claiming that Israel is involved in genocide) has nothing to do with accuracy and intensely edit warring over it (your constant, instant reversions was why I applied the vandal brake) has everything to do with unfunny vandalism. Contribute worthwhile stuff and you'll be out of the vandal bin in no time. ScepticWombat (talk) 20:02, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
1. You don't have a good reason to disagree with me.
2. You're seriously some kind of idiot if you think you have to be pro-Nazi to suggest that Israel's behavior toward Palestine at least approaches genocide. You don't have any idea what the fuck you're talking about. You being a sysop is absurd. No wonder this place has gone to shit. Dsmelser (talk) 20:16, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
The sockpuppet and/or troll is strong in this one.--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ 20:18, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm hardly a staunch Israel supporter, but to call Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, as bad and reprehensible as it may be, genocide, is an indication that someone is off their rockers. The reason I'm calling your Ward Churchill edit pro-Nazi is that you tried to at least implicitly justify Churchill's crappy victim blaming by inserting the BS claim about an Israeli-run genocide. The same goes for calling Israel a theocracy which it's obviously not, or your endorsement of that old chestnut of Jooish Bankstahs. If you're unhappy with the description, you might just be an example of the horseshoe theory in action (as Churchill too seems to be). ScepticWombat (talk) 20:35, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
1. "I'm hardly a staunch Israel supporter, but to call Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, as bad and reprehensible as it may be, genocide, is an indication that someone is off their rockers."
The naked assertion of an ignorant internet shithead aside, no it fucking isn't.
2. "The reason I'm calling your Ward Churchill edit pro-Nazi is that you tried to at least implicitly justify Churchill's crappy victim blaming by inserting the BS claim about an Israeli-run genocide."'re not smart enough for any rational person to give a shit about your naked assertions. Moreover, I wasn't attempting to justify anything. It was just more housecleaning of the gross film of right-wing soap-scum that's been accumulating on this site for a long time (of which, you clearly seem to be a part).
3. "The same goes for calling Israel a theocracy which it's obviously not"
Except that it OBIVIOUSLY is, you fucking dipshit.
4. "or your endorsement of that old chestnut of Jooish Bankstahs"
...And this is where your whole fucking stupid "I'm not a shill for Israel" line of bullshit comes a-tumblin'-down. Where did I say anything like that? Come on, asshole. Show me the edit. Link it to me, you fucking stupid bastard. You were so fucking ready to associate criticism of Israel with the Nazis that you've managed to just make something up out of whole cloth and expose yourself. Good job, idiot.
5. "If you're unhappy with the description, you might just be an example of the horseshoe theory in action (as Churchill too seems to be)."
lol... Horseshoe theory? Really? Holy fuck, this place is doomed. Dsmelser (talk) 20:58, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
I may have conflated two branches of your pro-Churchill whitewashing attempts and erroneously coupled your ludicrous claims of an Israel-sponsored genocide with your equally nonsensical victim blaiming of the 9/11 victims for "their participation at the highest levels in American capitalism and the unflinching support of the worst abuses it takes to inflict it." If that's the case, I'm sorry.
As for the rest of it, I think that your immediate resort to name-calling speaks for itself as does the fact that you criticise my responses for being "[t]he naked assertion of an ignorant internet shithead" and then proceed to counter with your own naked assertions, supplemented with verbal abuse, of course. I wonder what's in it for you and if it gives you some sort of satisfaction to get into rows with people on the Interwebz, considering your aggressive and derogatory rhetoric? ScepticWombat (talk) 21:12, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

1. "I may have conflated two branches of your pro-Churchill whitewashing attempts"
Yes. It's very clearly whitewashing to include the context of what he actually thinks.
2. "ludicrous claims of an Israel-sponsored genocide"
No one with two brain-cells to rub together gives a shit what you think is ludicrous. It's not beneath debate just because you can tie one of my hands behind my back, asshole.
3. "equally nonsensical victim blaiming of the 9/11 victims for "their participation at the highest levels in American capitalism and the unflinching support of the worst abuses it takes to inflict it."
That's not victim blaming. I'm not suggesting they deserved to die and neither was Churchill when he invoked the phrase "little Eichmanns." Look, I get it. You've gotten all of your education from South Park. It's ok. You can't help it. You quite clearly don't understand the meaning of that phrase or the context in which it was used. You should stop embarassing yourself along this vector.
4. "As for the rest of it, I think that your immediate resort to name-calling speaks for itself"
5. "...and then proceed to counter with your own naked assertions..."
Oh I'm sorry. I didn't realize I was required to put more effort into refuting false bullshit than was put into its presentation. I REALLY I didn't realize that I was obligated to do that in a forum where my ability to post has been crippled while interacting with the very same might-makes-right ass who's responsible for it in the first place. Fuck you.
6. "I wonder what's in it for you and if it gives you some sort of satisfaction to get into rows with people on the Interwebz, considering your aggressive and derogatory rhetoric?"
I happen to think the truth matters and I happen to not like shitheads who abuse the standard wiki-etiquette around "I got here first" as an excuse to spout stupid bullshit.Dsmelser (talk) 21:33, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Ah well just one more example how thin the line between "legitimate criticism of Israel" and Antisemitism can be. Both in individuals and in lines of reasoning... (talk) 21:06, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
I can't really spot any legitimate criticism of Israel in Dsmelser's posts this far. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:12, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
And obviously you're really giving me a fair shake, given how rational and impartial you are. lulz.... God, what a shithole. Dsmelser (talk) 21:33, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Well neither can I, but several major political parties on both ends of the spectrum in Germany make statements that are very close to what this person says. Claiming Israel to be theocratic or treating the Palestinians the same way the Nazis treated the Jews. Or putting them into Lager (camps, with the implication at least of "Nazi death camp"). The latter one was in fact used by one Jakob Augstein in his "legitimate criticism of Israel" when describing the situation in Gaza for German weekly Der Spiegel (talk) 21:17, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
It's way more than just Germany. Dsmelser (talk) 21:33, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm assuming that .129 is referring to this article, and if so, it's worth noticing that apart from that one reference to "ein Lager" (in connection with densely populated Gaza being even more tightly isolated during the Gaza War), which appears to me to literally be the only two words that are anywhere close to a Godwin, the article condemns the idea that a violent solution is possible, though the author also despairs over whether there'll be an end in sight to the constant retaliations from all sides.
As for Dsmelser's alleged Israeli theocracy, even some secular Israelis have been expressing worries about what they fear is an increased influence of fundamentalist Jewish denominations and a sort of "aggressive Jewishness" that emphasises divinely sanctioned rights to biblical lands, rather than Israel as a liberal, democratic and secular state and a potential home for persecuted Jews around the world. However, fears about the influence of religious fundamentalism doesn't make Israel a theocracy any more than similar influence of Christian fundies in US politics means that the US is a theocracy (no, not even "technically", Dsmelser). ScepticWombat (talk) 22:41, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Protip #2[edit]

Don't accidentally "conflate" criticism of capitalism and criticism of Israel with antisemitism. It makes you sound like an idiot. Dsmelser (talk) 22:13, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

I am dying to hear your mighty totally not antisemitic criticism of capitalism... (talk) 22:16, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
lol... are you seriously suggesting that criticizing capitalism is inherently antisemitic (or...let me only is if the person happens to not like the way Palestinians have been treated)? Regardless, I can't even post to my own pages at a rate which would be reasonable for debate. If you're really interested in critiques of capitalism (which you obviously aren't), it's not like you actually need me to make them. If you want a decent overview of anti-capitalist thought, go check out the Anarchist FAQ (section C is the most significant in that regard, but there's good stuff in D, E, F, and G as well). I mean...obviously you're too lazy for that, but it's not like the material isn't out there (which means you don't get to reasonably adopt this snide bullshit attitude). Dsmelser (talk) 22:43, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
There is antisemitic criticism of capitalism and there is non-antisemitic criticism of capitalism. As you did not provide a link, I won't be able to discern where you stand... Oy vey! (talk) 23:10, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
I told you the document to look for. You really can't type in "the anarchist faq" into google? Are you finger's broken? Oh're intellectually lazy. I forgot. Dsmelser (talk) 23:16, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Reply #2 And don't endorse victim blaming of 9/11... Oh, and I explained why I made the (apparently erroneous) conflation in the section above, so I wonder why you felt it necessary to let your trolling spill over into a new section. Also, could you please turn the name-calling and similar derogatory remarks down (protip: Along with the need to give "protips" to others, they make you look doubly dickish when you accuse your interlocutor of adopting a "snide bullshit attitude"). Ah well, perhaps I should just cease feeding the troll... ScepticWombat (talk) 22:53, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
1. "And don't endorse victim blaming of 9/11"
Yeah no one did that, asshole. Not even Churchill. But you know...why bother looking at what he actually said when they already told you what to think on South Park?
2. "Oh, and I explained why I made the (apparently erroneous) conflation in the section above so I wonder why you felt it necessary to let your trolling spill over into a new section"
Oh, because your "explanation" is ridiculous and I thought well-deserved ridicule might help cure you (although you seem to be fairly shameless in your intellectually dishonest defense of Israel, so that's probably an ill-fated tactic).
3. "Also, could you please turn the name-calling and similar derogatory remarks down (protip: Along with the need to give "protips" to others, they make you look doubly dickish when you accuse your interlocutor of adopting a "snide bullshit attitude""
The difference (of course) being that I'm right and you're wrong and if you ever deigned to actual debate on the matter (which would necessarily involve untying my hands), I'd make that fact pretty obvious to anyone who didn't come in already blindly agreeing with you. You can be snide or you can be wrong. Not both.
4. "Ah well, perhaps I should just cease feeding the troll..."
Calling me a troll is a pretty cowardly way out. *I* didn't lock *you* into a 30 minute posting schedule. Of course, I fully admit it was over an edit war but it's an overreaction to leave me there and now it won't change because I wasn't nice to you personally after you called me a fucking Nazi for not liking Israel. Dsmelser (talk) 23:16, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
I am still waiting for your criticism of capitalism... (talk) 23:20, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Brilliantly trolled Dsmelser. Your point 2. was especially good with its "I know better what you think than you do"-premise. And I see that your point 3 continues with the naked assertion that you're right and everyone else is wrong. Tell me, has this approach (name-calling included) worked for you before? If so, what results did it produce? I'm truly curious, because I'm still not sure if you're trying to get anything but a screaming abusive row out of this trolling. If the latter is your intent, then you're using the wrong bait; this kind of overt verbal (or would that be textual?) abuse doesn't really bother me.
Btw, if you think I'm being unfair, why not appeal to another RW mop wielder (in case you didn't notice it takes little more than not making trouble and contributing worthwhile edits to get demoted in RW parlance) to lift you out of the vandal bin. Since you started an edit war where you reverted every minute, I used the bin, because it allows you to contribute to any page, just on once every half hour. The alternatives would've been a block (which are generally discouraged on RW unless dealing with spambots or serious offenders) or auto-confirmed protection of the article (which would prevent others from contributing, rather an unfair collective punishment when it's just one guy edit warring, I think). The reason I wasn't about to pull you out of the bin was that this exchange didn't really suggest that you wouldn't return to your edit warring and I also checked your edit history and found little beyond the "I'm right, you're wrong"-stuff you've been performing with here.
But tell you what, I'll pull you out of the bin anyway, simply because I enjoy sabotaging the little persecution complex you seem to be working towards. See, I'm not even being a nice guy, and yet I haven't even needed to resort to a load of abuse to do it. Protip: There are far more sophisticated ways of being a condescending prick than by calling your opponent an asshole or whatever. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:39, 31 July 2015 (UTC)


While I generally agree with your footnote, the main reason the Democratic was added to the name was so they wouldn't have the same name as the neighbouring Republic of the Congo, so I dunno if it really applies in this case. (talk) 09:29, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

Well, Congo-Kinshasa was quite clearly not democratic, nor had its leaders any intention of making it so, so I think it fits the bill. The only odd thing about the Congo example is that the other "Democratic"/"People's Republics" are usually (at least formally) communist-run states with the two exceptions I mentioned. Still, considering that the two clear-cut exceptions to the rule about an inclusion of "Democratic"/"People's Republic" in a state name being an indication of autocracy are tiny states and relatively unknown compared with the examples where the rule does apply, I don't think it amiss to point out that your mental warning lights should flash when you come accross a "Democratic"/"People's Republic". ScepticWombat (talk) 09:40, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
Well, I wouldn't vouch for the current regime's democraticness and Mobutu's reign certainly wasn't democratic (he outrightly banned politics, even), but the pre-Mobutu government that proposed the name change at least attempted to uphold some modicum of democracy (or it seems that way to me, at least). They even let the population vote on it in a referendum.Wikipedia (talk) 11:30, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the welcome[edit]

See title. I didn't begin to read the guidelines until now, but I joined because I had a hunch that something like the unofficial fifth rule was in effect. I won't have the time to write anything lengthy for next years due to pressure of study, but I to like chirping in every now and then for my own amusement - and let's hope others' - and this seems to be the only place you can do that. Cheerio Sorte Slyngel (talk) 16:44, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

Just so that I'm sure. I'm reading about what an article should be. If I'm not missing something, referring to something you have seen or heard, preferably first hand, is explicitly allowed. Is that understanding correct? All the best Sorte Slyngel (talk) 17:35, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but sourcing is still encouraged. It's just that unlike WP, RW doesn't ban, but explicitly encourage original research (OR), incl. drawing conclusions from material others provide, rather than sitting and waiting for some "reliable source" to publish something (preferably on paper).
That's because RW is not an encyclopaedia. The RW approach comes with some costs (e.g. risking getting our very own brand of crankery), but also with some very tangible benefits; especially in areas where the "scholarly consensus" is rather suspect (such as in New Testament Scholarship/Bible Studies). Along with the snarky point of view (SPOV) it means that we can call out crap when we (think we) see it, such as in the case of William Lane Craig (WLC), which I've edited that one quite a lot, though mainly through rearrangement, and how it differs from William Lane Craig.Wikipedia
I think that the problem with the WP approach (as I pointed out at the end of the WLC article) is that it excludes a whole host of relevant sources, compounding the core problem with relying on citations from others, not to mention what happens when someone's "fan club" is bent on writing a hagiography. One WP editor wrote to me in all seriousness: "We will always prefer a well-sourced error" - I think that quote pretty much sums up the weakness of WP. ScepticWombat (talk) 20:59, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
As a matter of fact I am sipping a beer right now. So I mean it literally when I say cheers back at you. :-) By the way, I no longer have to fill in text, when I edit. Does that mean I've been, as you call it, demoted? Sorte Slyngel (talk) 21:29, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
That means you are autoconfirmed. Which means you are not obviously a troll/sockpuppet/crank. The really "big" demotion (to mod or sysop or what it was) only happens later, or not at all. I for one still ain't it (sadface) Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 21:33, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I could have told you that. :-) But I proudly claim to be an ofurnörður. I'll save you the research. It means super-nerd. I think I'll like it here. All the best Sorte Slyngel (talk) 21:53, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Hey, Avenger, you've only been an editor for just over a month (account creation on July 28th if I'm not mistaken) and though people get demoted at the drop of a hat around here, it seems to have become customary to wait for about a month (or two?) before starting to hand out yet more mops and buckets - probably because of a few examples of "premature mopping" (some sysops who turned out to be more blowtorch & sledgehammer than wax on/wax off). Still, considering your hefty edit count, unless you piss off a large section of the crowd around here, I doubt it'll be long before you're polishing the floors like the rest of us; just drop a line to some schmuck sysop and they'll fix you right up (I wasn't very pushy, hence wasn't demoted until half a year after signing up). ScepticWombat (talk) 22:04, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I shall be patient thence! Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 22:11, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Damned edit conflicts - now I have to type it all over again. ;-) Anyway, RationalWiki will just be a pastime for me, I'll share jokes, good or bad, perhaps blow off steam and possibly contribute something to articles from time to time. According to Avenger I might be the resident expert in Danish (unlikely) but I'm very likely the expert in Icelandic. I also have a somewhat scientific background, so I might be of use. But having fun is the main thing and hence the question: Why would anybody want to be demoted to sysop. The words smells like work. I've just opened the second and last beer tonight (can't overdo it, first day of school tomorrow), so cheers to you both Sorte Slyngel (talk) 22:19, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If there is an edit conflict, just scroll down where it shows your text. Thaen copy said text et voila - a common courtesy for those trying to make sense of discussions is to note that there was an edit conflict. As for who wants to be sysop... Well I defer to the sysop in this conversation. Be forewarned though that "blocks" of five seconds or less are frequently used as a means of communication / a way to express anger / a replacement for trouts (I'll explain at some other point in time). Though usually anything beyond a couple of seconds is only applied to non-sysops as punishment for actual offenses. This type of blocking policy confuses many a newbie, though.... Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 22:36, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

As you can see, dear Disney villain, one perk of being a sysop is that non-sysops will "defer to" you (riiiiiight...). Anyway, Avenger is right about joke/attention grabbing blocks (they're either pi something or 5 seconds).
As for increased workload, being a sysop doesn't really entail any more than just writing. It does, however, give you some options, such as blocking, or preferably vandal binning (limiting someone to 1 edit/30 minutes, ed.), random trolls and cranks who drop by, which can be a useful tool — especially if they're vandalising wandalising your work (you can also protect a page to similar effects). Sysop also allows you to move or delete pages which may or may not be useful, depending on the situation and what you're interested in doing around here.
However, you don't need to be a sysop to be enfranchised, so you can vote for either policy decisions or on whether to slap sanctions on someone (which is also a sort of a policy decision) once you've been a registered user for at least 3 months and have a minimum of 75 edits (not surprisingly, the limiting factor tends to be the 3 months' seniority, not the edit count).
So, sysopping gives you some extra tools, but isn't essential for simply contributing to RW. ScepticWombat (talk) 23:23, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi, and thanks for the clarification. You seem to have forgotten to answer the question about the languages you speak. May it's nobody's business and all is well. But you are a historian and you have shown an intimate knowledge of parts of Danish history and you seem to understand the language. Guessing that you're down under, did you do a thesis on Denmark at some point? Cheerio Sorte Slyngel (talk) 16:25, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
PS:As for contributions is it possible that RationalWiki will at some point require somebody with knowledge of dead, reconstructed or simply obscure languages? :-) Sorte Slyngel (talk) 16:27, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
To take an examples this fall I'll be taking PIE morphology (reconstructed), Latin (dead but very well attested), Gothic (dead, too sparsely attested) and Proto-Norse (dead and very poorly attested). I's there a theoretical possibility that this might come in handy? I could - now I'm streching it - discuss the finer points of theology from what is preserved of the Gothic Bible. :-) Sorte Slyngel (talk) 16:33, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed the stuff about my languages; they're native Danish (and thus damn good Norwegian and Swedish too, of course), English at a level close to full marks in an academic English IELTS test a few years ago, and a passable ability to at least read German (good enough to read an academic book in German, albeit slowly).
I've had to familiarise myself with recent Danish political history (post-WWII) for research purposes and has had the wonderful privilege of hobnobbing with a lot of great and exceedingly knowledgeable historians from that and other fields; for instance, the rump imperial capitals stuff and the "Decline and Fall of Denmark" (to paraphrase Edward Gibbon) and especially the role of the loss of Norway are both ideas I've gotten from Uffe Østergaard, a Danish historian who specialises in modern European history, incl. Denmark's place it it, as well as the more amorphous field of European Studies (note: not equivalent to EU Studies).
However, my interest in politics and history is somewhat "renaissance" i.e. a little bit of a lot of areas and eras such as classical, Meiji and post-war Japan, US history, military history in general, the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Roman and Mongol Empires, medieval European state-building and its development into the territorial states of the early modern era and the development of the modern parliament alongside them and the roles played by networks of politicians and specialists - to name just the first that spring to mind. Then there are interests in politics in general and the roles of (political) elites, bureaucrats and social scientists in shaping our ideas and conception of politics and various national biases about what "real politics" are supposed to be or look like and an interest in qualitative social science methods in general, not least the interesting stuff that happens when using anthropological techniques to study politics (in the broadest sense of the term) or drawing on narrative analytical tools to look at how stories are being told by both insiders, outsiders and social scientists themselves about various aspects of politics, political life, and institutions. Also, I have a general interest in the study of organisations and institutions which are keywords for several of the topics I've already mentioned.
As for whether a proficiency with dead and/or reconstructed languages might be relevant, then perhaps. After all, apart from the specific missionality stuff pertaining to pseudoscience, woo, authoritarianism, fundamentalism and how they appear in the media, RW also allows for "many articles that do not relate to the primary missions of RationalWiki providing that they are factually accurate and of interest to the community at large. These include articles on general science, historical events and important individuals throughout the world." ScepticWombat (talk) 17:32, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Prima, that makes you the local expert in Danish. I have one complaint about the Danes - they're getting harder and harder to understand by the month. I once developed a theory that Danish was inexorably on its way to being reduced to a single stød. The meaning of the stød would then depend on the context. :-) Anyway, since I'm as far as I know the only one who confesses to being Icelandic, I'll claim expertise in Icelandic until somebody says otherwise - besides, I'm studying the language. The first two years of engineering were fun, mainly maths and physics, but engineering in itself is deadly boring. So I took the opportunity when it came and turned to the humanities - they've always held my interest as well anyway. Cheerio Sorte Slyngel (talk) 17:53, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
As for Norwegian being a bonus if you learn Danish (I'm so old, that it was my first foreign language - actually I learned on my own at a young age. My mother just gave me some Donald Duck to read, pointed out a few obviously related words, said "See, that's not so difficult" and promised to translate whatever I couldn't figure out - This is a marvelous way to learn languages), you're quite right. When I talk to Norwegians, they tell me to take my Danish from the throat and use the front of my mouth. If I add a little creative singsong to it, they're happy with the result. :-) Swedish usually gives me a headache, but in the second year in gymnasium (4 years in Iceland) we were given Swedish textbooks in mathematics and simply told: "You can read Danish so you can read this." That worked very well. :-) As it happened my first Danish teacher (by which time I could read everything in Danish) introduced the subject by saying: "And now we will start to speak Danish - and how is that in Danish? Nu börjar vi snakka dansk." I almost had a stroke - but luckily she never taught again. Cheerio Sorte Slyngel (talk) 18:14, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
The North Germanic languages appear to be rather similar to each other (though I've heard, Danish is the odd one out due to German influence making it a bit more ch kh sh). However, they are probably not all that useful to learn, as the vast majority of their speakers also speak good to excellent English, am I right? The same probably goes for Hebrew, which would be excellent for the trip to Israel I keep telling myself to be doing "next year", except most Israelis are good to excellent in English anyway. Still, knowing more languages is always a virtue not a vice. And I hope to have the time and the courage to tackle another language soon. Which one would you advise? Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 18:55, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
You are the only one who can decide that. If you give some hints about what you are looking for in a language, the more specific the better, I have a fairly good overview of the structure of a number of languages and families of languages (I dabble in quite a number of things) without speaking them, and could then, perhaps, help you to narrow it down. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 22:53, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
As an example, would you shy away from a tonal language? (I would). Do inflections turn you on. Try one of the Slavic languages (but not Macedonian or Bulgarian), Baltic languages or even Icelandic - the last one is not meant seriously. Do you prefer analytic languages like English? Are you prepared to spend an extra year just learning the script? Which cultures interest you? Are you looking for a large body of literature? In your chosen language, do wish to be able to read literature as old as possible? You have to ask yourself these questions. Otherwise you might pick one of the few hundred well documented languages at random. That's a sad fact. There are about 7.000 languages in the world, most of them threatened by extinction. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 23:02, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'd say tonal languages are a no-no. And some degree of usefulness would be nice. So dead languages or languages spoken only by some cyclists in Copenhagen (no offense) are probably out of the question, too. It would also be good to have easy access to major works of culture (preferably audiovisual) that make learning the language easier. This is probably one of the reasons why learning English succeeds more often thaen learning other languages - there is just a ton of movies and series to learn it from. Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 23:52, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

For the sake of being interesting I'd recommend a Slavic language except Macedonian and Bulgarian. If you prefer the Latin alphabet, Polish and Czech are the obvious choices. Russian is of course beautiful and the Cyrillic alphabet doesn't take long to become second nature. From a linguist's point of view, Lithuanian would be the prize. Personally I'd say Czech, Polish or Russian. Finnish and Hungarian are also worthwhile. If I had to choose now this very moment, I'd personally say Czech. But then I'm attracted to inflected languages. All the best Sorte Slyngel (talk) 00:42, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
PS: There's a vast body of classics in the three Slavic languages I mentioned. Languages with a history tend to have that. You could even spend a lifetime not exhausting Icelandic literature - and this isn't a boast, but I have a bit of the national tendency to promote my country. Call it patriotism - I'm not a nationalist. :-) Sorte Slyngel (talk) 00:47, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
The difference between Patriotism and Nationalism is one of degree not of principle. Someone whom I know (and who has a systematic though not rulebook based approach to languages) calls analytic languages like English "languages without a grammar" and says German should get rid of all its "useless grammar" i.e. become more analytic. I'm sure you'd get along fine ;-). Not. I actually dabbled in Czech for a short period of time once (for reasons) but I had neither cause nor opportunity to go into more detail and ultimately other languages held more appeal... Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 00:51, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
First, when it comes to what languages are "useful", as long as you don't have any context, I'd say that deeming learning a specific language not useful is rather arbitrary. For instance, there are some quite important academic journals in the social sciences and humanities that are still in French or German, making the ability to read either a definite plus if you want to do research in those areas. Likewise, if you're interested in, say, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Hans Christian Andersen or Søren Kierkegaard or the history, culture or politics of Denmark, Norway or Sweden, then a proficiency in one of their languages becomes very useful. Also, due to the mutual intelligibility of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish there's a pretty good chance that proficiency in one will make the others accessible, which means you're able to communicate with about 20 million people, not to mention being able to read stuff of the authors already mentioned in the original - "some cyclists in Copenhagen", indeed. Oh, and if you feel you have to include "no offence", then you're probably being offensive (and deliberately so)...
In another forum, someone asked advice on whether to start learning Danish, Norwegian or Swedish when the goal was to learn to at least read material in all three. Here I'd suggest Norwegian. First, Norwegian is spelled phonetically, even when it comes to loan words, a trait I think constitutes a huge benefit because it eases the transition between text and speech and makes spelling comparatively easy. Second, Norwegian and Swedish both use the same, more intuitive, structure for numbers less than a hundred which renders them as "X tens", just like in English or German. For instance, 52 would be "5 tens and 2", but Danish choose, for some arcane reason, to render the same number as "half 60 and 2" which is quite a bother to get used to if you didn't grow up with it. Thirdly, I think that Norwegian has more aspects of both Danish and Swedish than Danish has of Norwegian and Swedish or the latter of Danish and Norwegian - probably owing to Norway being part of first a personal union with Denmark for several hundred years and then with Sweden for almost a century. Especially in the 19th century, this meant that Swedish would've been important for administrative purposes, but Copenhagen remained arguably the most vibrant centre of Norwegian culture, a hold-over from the Denmark-Norway era. Anyway, a proficiency in Norwegian will probably be more helpful in acquiring the other other two languages, than one in Danish or Swedish.
The major obstacle between Danish versus Norwegian and Swedish, I think, isn't necessarily any particular sounds, but the general accent and speech pattern - especially the "stød" (literally "thrust", but perhaps better rendered as inflection) already mentioned by Sorte Slyngel, though I'm not sure whether it stems from German influence or not. Just to complicate matters, this particular feature is not equally prevalent in all Danish dialects, but is (unfortunately) most pronounced (no pun intended) in the dialects Norwegians and Swedes are most likely to initially encounter: the Copenhagen and Zealand ones (Jutland, Funen and the rest of the Danish isles have a lot less of this characteristic). Even worse, Copenhageners tend to speak quite quickly which hardly helps matters. Conversely, one of the hardest Swedish dialects for me to understand is the one of Scania (Skåne) which is ironically just across the Sound (Øresund) from Copenhagen (and was part of the Kingdom of Denmark until the 17th century too, btw). But then again I have a hard time understanding certain dialects of Danish too (Northern and Southern Jutland have some particularly tricky ones, as does the Baltic island of Bornholm).
I'm a nationalist, and from what I've seen, most people tend to be - at least in the areas of the world where national identities trump such extra-national identities as tribal or religious ones. However, I think that there's a tendency here on RW for editors to use nationalism when they actually mean jingoism. Nationalism doesn't have to involve the kind of national chauvinism ("My country is the best"), nor the aggressive attitude found in jingoism, nor the knee jerk "My country, right or wrong" as being a nationalist doesn't mean you can't disagree with, for instance, what the government running the country is doing (I know I often do). Instead, nationalism is simply an identification with the imagined community of (usually) language, symbols, customs and especially history, that constitutes a nation. Growing up or residing for long in that nation will probably make such a process easier (unless one is being oppressed, excluded or marginalised, of course), but nationalism is literally an acquired taste.
On that note, I still recall a rather interesting answer I once heard to the question of whether this guy was proud to be Danish. He said that he hadn't actually chosen to be, as he was simply born in Denmark to Danish parents, and so he didn't feel that being Danish, or the achievements of Danes in the past, was something he could really take credit for or pride in. Of course, he said, he was happy that he didn't happen to be born in some third world country where opportunities and standards of living are generally much lower, but he didn't feel he could be proud of things he hadn't help achieve. I still think he had a point, but also that you actually can be proud of things you didn't directly achieve, such as being proud that a child has done well at something, even if you didn't directly involve yourself in the process through teaching, training or advising the child. Simply put, there is a tendency to take pride in achievements of people you identify with, even if you had no share in the achievement yourself and that need not be a problem as long - as you realise that the pride is of this type and you don't veer into bragging, boasting or denigrating others and their achievements. ScepticWombat (talk) 06:37, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Well sure, twenty million people is not nobody, and I can't deny that the Nordic countries have contributed greatly to European culture. But in the great scheme of things twenty million is one fourth of the population of Germany or Turkey and neither are really all that big. Probably Wolof (a language in which pronouns have a past tense) or Swahili are spoken to some degree of fluency by more people thaen either of the Nordic tongues. But thaen again, I am unlikely to visit any of the countries where these languages are dominant, while I can see myself visiting one of the Nordic countries before this year ends. As for nationalism: I personally am opposed to the concept of nation states in general. I think it is a bogus concept that arose in the 19th century as a replacement for old feudal loyalties to the (person or office) king, duke, prince and whatnot. I personally don't identify strongly with my country of residence nor my country of birth, I don't even identify with my city of birth, as having been born there was literally the decision of my mother which hospital was closest. All in all I probably spent less thaen two weeks in my city of birth. I moderately identify with the city I went to high-school in - even though I never actually lived in that city itself (suburbs suck). I also moderately identify with one place I lived in for quite some time as well as the place I currently live in. Though recent events have soured me a lot on that city, as it is apparently inhabited mostly by right wing idiots and their apologists. Overall my "tribal" loyalties are probably stronger thaen my national ones and I am a strong supporter of the European idea and the European Union with all its faults. I think giving more power to the European Parliament is a virtue not a fault, though I am aware that the EU is responsible for bad (austerity, abhorrent treatment of Greece, privatization) as well as good (open borders, faster and better trains, peace for seven decades, cheap hassle-free travel, protections for customers and travelers in all of Europe, the Erasmus program, harmonized laws and some things I am too lazy to list right now) Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 11:53, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
You should realise, though, (and probably already do) that your outlook is the exception, rather than the rule. I've hung around quite a lot of Europhiles, and while I'm not a Eurosceptic they tend to set my teeth on edge due to a certain degree of sanctimony in their "Oh, we're so above plebeian nationalism"-attitude. They also tend to share a certain set of characteristics with the "Hurrah for immigration"-segment (as distinct from not feeling particularly strongly or being conflicted about the subject): They're decidedly upper class, being well-educated and wealthy, meaning that they have access to the benefits of both the EU and immigration (such as mobility, cultural exchange and cheaper imports), but rarely have to contend with the accompanying adverse effects (social dumping, outsourcing, "ghettoisation" and the like). I'm always left with the nagging feeling that it's easy to be in favour of Europeanisation, globalisation and immigration when you reap the benefits and don't have to pay any of the costs.
Calling nation states "a bogus concept" is simply bizarre - they exist, you know... Sure, nationalism, the nation and the state are made up or imagined communities, but so is the tribe and the family (beyond a very basic, and in a social context unimportant, genetic affinity). I was pretty explicit about nations not being anything but a social construct, so if you call that bogus, you might as well call Europe and the EU bogus. Also, what is "the European idea"? I mean I've dabbled in the subject of ideas of Europe and I wasn't aware that a single idea of Europe existed that could be used in the way you do as a singular concept without any further need of elaboration. ScepticWombat (talk) 12:38, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Nation states are - and have to be - made up by their very nature. Europe is a great idea because at the very least it means less borders, less artificial lines in the sand, less military and less Bullshit. Nations are a bogus concept mainly because they blatantly only arose in the latter half of the nineteenth century (or even later) yet claim to "always have existed". And as for immigration, let me just say this: The worst thing that ever happened to trade-unionism was the day they bought into the Bourgeois lie that they were citizens of nation states first and workers second. No. The plight of working poor in the US is no different from the plight of a working poor in Greece. There may be differences of degree, but the true enemy is the system that keeps people working ruinous jobs that destroy their health and suck the joy from their lives, not some people with a moderately different shade of skin pigmentation or someone who does not speak your language. It is a shame that their are social democrats and socialists who jump onto the anti-immigration bandwagon, while some liberals and libertarians are the last to defend the fundamental right of human beings to chose to live where they please. I don't think immigration is a positive good (though I am for personal reasons very much in favor of the immigration of one certain person) per se, but it is necessary in today's world and it is not an evil. And if you look at demographics, having one point four children is as unsustainable long term as having three point five. Immigration is a good way to mitigate this issue until birth rates level out some time in the 22nd century. As for the "European idea", it is probably as lofty and ill-defined as the "American idea". Basically they share some things but are notably different in others. First and foremost is a commitment to peace in Europe and peace abroad if at all feasible. Thaen there is a disdain for national borders perpetrating hatred and estrangement. Of course Europe is founded on the universal principles of human, social and civil rights that were almost all first codified in Europe. Human dignity is another pillar of the European idea, as is the heritage of the Greek and Roman civilizations as well as many others. Of course the fact that what exactly constitutes "Europe" is part of the beauty as well as the tragedy of this idea. Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 12:58, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Trade unions realised that large scale immigration would almost certainly mean massive wage repression, though international trade liberalisation has essentially achieved the same thing by simply moving the jobs, rather than importing cheap labour. Also, there isn't any such thing as "the fundamental right of human beings to chose to live where they please". Just like guests will have to be invited inside a home, immigrants have to get some sort of invitation to take up residence in a new country (refugees, of course, are a different matter). Libertarian and liberal support for immigration also has to be viewed in the light of the ability of immigration to weaken employee bargaining strength to the benefit of employers and management. Again, it's rarely the kind of (privileged) people who hold libertarian or liberal views who end up suffering the adverse effects that might go along with the benefits of immigration, because they're essentially living in a different (socio-economic) world than their less privileged compatriots. The interesting thing is that there seems to be a development in which some of the people who would previously have become "automatically privileged" by virtue of a long education now find themselves in much the same situation as those with shorter education as summed up in the notion of a developing "precariat".Wikipedia
I think that having 1.4 children is probably a pretty good way of limiting resource strains and you'd have to project number quite far into the future to reach the point of unsustainability, considering that the population of Europe has never been higher than it is now. Of course a birth rate of 1.8 or 1.9 might achieve some of the same results with less disruptive socio-economic effects and birth rates in the vicinity of 1 probably suggests that the society in question should review the way it en- or discourages reproduction. However, I agree that immigration is a good way to ease the transition to a generally smaller and declining population (particularly getting over the "hump" constituted by the baby boomers retiring). I'm not anti-immigration and my point earlier was targeting what in the Danish discourse was at one point called "halal hippies" who seem to have a rather knee jerk "immigration is always good"-attitude.
Of course nation states are "made up", but that doesn't mean they don't exist (that was my point). Calling them bogus because they involve abstract concepts such as imagined communities is arbitrary because plenty of other phenomena fit that bill as well, including Europe and tribes. I also can't help noticing that your idea of Europe sounds to me very much like "nationalism 2.0"; it's simply writ larger and of a more recent origin - a product of the 20th, rather than the 19th, century. The idea that national borders are automatically "perpetrating hatred and estrangement" is also dubious to say the least, though I know it has become part of the usual EUropean spiel. Similarly, the idea that the EU means less bullshit is baffling to me; I don't know if it actually means more bullshit, but I'm pretty sure it means different bullshit. Don't get me wrong, I'm in favour of the EU, but I'm not exactly sure that it's moving in a direction I like, and I harbour serious doubts about the EP in terms of its role and the way it frames its claims to legitimacy and whether giving it more powers actually helps with the supposed goal of democratising the EU. The EU has always been a peace project second and a politico-economic one first, just as its success has been due in no small part to its ability to magnify the waning influence of fallen or declining European imperial powers such as France, Germany and the UK (or Belgium and the Netherlands, for that matter) and the European nation states in general. For more on that topic, a classic is Alan S. Milward's The European Rescue of the Nation State (1992/2000). I find it a bit ironic that you decry the "Bourgeois" influence on trade unionism and social democracy, yet choose to appeal to some of the pillars of "bourgeois" history writing and Bildung by citing classical Greece and Rome as role models (something that jars quite badly with the "human dignity" pillar, btw). Sure, human rights are a definite plus, but the idea that Europe and specifically the EU is the only, or even best guarantor of them is at least open to question. ScepticWombat (talk) 14:15, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I tend to favor the big over the small in many regards. The train over the car, the streetcar over the bus, the city over the countryside and in some respects (though not all) the "empire" over the nation state. Say what you want about the Roman Empire, but within its borders a level of peace and prosperity was achieved for a length of time and a number of people that wouldn't be reached or surpassed in Europe for a millennium. Sure the Roman Empire was built on cheap slave labor. And sure the slaves were often treated horribly (though Roman slavery was much more of a mixed bag thaen American slavery). But did the serfs of feudal Europe have it any better? I am of the opinion (and I think there is some justification to that belief) that the various empires - at least the ones that lasted - got less and less nasty as time went on. The empires of the ancient Middle East were pretty cruel. As was the Egyptian Empire. The Romans were a lot more humanist (after all, the old adage "nulla poena sine lege" isn't Latin by pure chance) and the British Empire was more humanist still. Sure the "civilizing mission" was blatantly racist and in many cases "fighting slavery" was a rather thing fig-leave for colonialism, but you have to say quite a number of countries still benefit from infrastructure the British put there. That is not to say it was all sunshine and daisies of course. And today we have yet another empire - the American Empire. I guess subjects of any empire have never had it so good as do those of the American Empire. Sure, nation states may do some good in some cases, but shutting the borders and artificially severing trade routes every hour of travel? I am glad, Europe got rid of that. And yes, borders breed hatred. If you cannot cross the border, you can't get to know people on the other side. This breeds hate, resentment, "othering" and ultimately, war. In 1890 most Germans were convinced the French were their sworn mortal enemy and vice versa. In 1990, you'll be laughed out of the room for suggesting such a thing. Open borders and youth exchange certainly facilitated this change. Even if the Austro-Hungarian Empire was a mess and ungovernable in the end due to the tons of nationalisms, it was remarkably apt at keeping the peace. The area of Europe that has since become almost synonym with pointless squabbles, poverty and other negative aspects experienced remarkable peace and prosperity under imperial and royal rule. That is not to say that Empires are a positive good, but for centuries, they were a necessary evil. And as Marx says (and I am sure you are aware) The Bourgeoisie has indeed been a revolutionary class in the past. While the French Revolution for instance was not wholly or even mostly the doing of the Bourgeoisie, most of its leaders were Bourgeois or "converted" aristocrats. The fact that something was good in the past, does not mean we have to repeat it in the future. If the EU manages to keep Orban from ruining Hungary entirely (I fear they can't), we might get very close to the upsides of Austria-Hungary without the downsides. If you haven't guessed it already, I like travel. A "meh" approach to borders (see cgp grey) is therefore exactly the one I think we should take whenever possible. And as for everybody's right to go where they please: Of course that is or should be a right. The fact that most modern nation states take away that right notwithstanding. Had this not been a right always, human being would still be sitting around in East Africa filling out immigration forms for Eurasia. I am strongly of the opinion that individuals have rights and groups don't have them. Thus the "right" of any group to have its own nation state is dubious at best. However, if and when such a right is claimed to exist, it must apply to all peoples. Ultimately, capitalism has to be replaced with a better system. Unfortunately right now, the liberal bourgeois capitalist nation state is attacked not by those wishing to replace them with a system where everybody does as they can and gets as they need, but rather a strange pan-Islamic theocracy as envisioned by al-Qaida and ISIS. Against those enemies even people who dislike capitalism have to defend it. tl;dr: Empire get a bad rep - though not entirely for nothing, Europe is mostly good, borders are bullshit - but the same bullshit should apply to everybody Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 16:05, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Just a thought! Why does everything have to be „big“. If that's a criterion, Mandarin trumps everything else. You'll get to talk to people even if rather few speak it. You may draw your cut-off line everywhere you want, but learning a language is more than being able to order a beer. There's also more to language than TV. I could advise you to learn Portuguese. Then you'd have access to many lifetimes' worth of telenovelas. There's also literature to be considered. Danish has a grand tradition (this coming from an Icelander must make somebody smirk :-) and Norwegian bokmål comes as a bonus. I think, and since I've been misunderstood a couple of times I'll emphasize that I'm not being patronizing, you have to factor in everything when you make a choice. Mandarin would make you able to talk to 800.000.000 people or so - but why. Learning Danish will provide you with a supply og good conversationalists to last a lifetime. Do you have a theoretical interest in languages. As I said, since I'm studying what I am, I'd pawn my soul for being able to understand Lithuanian. OK, I have a feeling - I'm tired, I just had my first class in the prehistory of Icelandic and Latin today - that I might be rambling, but I strongly suspect, that there's a point buried in there somewhere. :-) All the best Sorte Slyngel (talk) 19:26, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
The idyllic picture of the Pax Romana misses the absolutely brutal conquests and equally bloody repression of any rebellion against Roman overlordship that essentially fuelled or outright created the slave economy. That empires were "a necessary evil" is a view that would mainly be tenable from someone in the imperial capital who had a guilty conscience or from the various local elites who benefited from the empire. Yes, the serf actually did "have it any better" than a slave because as few as their rights and opportunities were, serfs were not property and could usually not be bought or sold at will (though the flip side was that they were typically tied to the land).
So, you like to travel wherever you like, great, me too - but that can't simply be extrapolated to "everyone should be able to live wherever they wish". It has never been a right and until the world achieves a modicum of economic equality or at least reasonable living standards for a sizeable majority, an uncritical open door policy would simply create chaos. This is not to say that some level of immigration isn't both beneficial and desirable, but a serious implementation of your ideal would simply not work and indeed your earlier response to my point about uncritical hyper-positive attitudes towards immigration suggests that, in practice, you're not actually advocating such an ideal if it leads to a completely open door. Your reductio ad absurdum back to "out of Africa" times also misses the quite clear point I made earlier: The similarity between inviting guests into you house. If you claim that it's dubious to have special claims on having a nation state, then it's like saying that dubious to lay special claims to a house that you didn't build with you own hands (after all, the way we allocate property is hardly less arbitrary than the creation of imagined communities). Continuing with the house/guest metaphor, in the "pre-settlement" age, there were no host you needed to consult with before pitching your tent or building your hut in a new area. It's not only modern nation states that interferes with this illusory "right" to live wherever you please - so does any type of human society throughout recorded history. You have to be accepted into the tribe or at least tolerated as a resident outsider to live on its land, the Roman Empire might've been less concerned with individual migration, but it certainly did not recognise any right of, say, the Goths to simply up stakes and move into a Imperial province of their choice.
Similarly, the European idea involves no less othering than nationalism (ironically, it tends to other nationalists and nationalism...), and as for hatred and resentment, I doubt that's likely to diminish markedly even if all those living in the EU suddenly started to view themselves as primarily as EU, rather than national, citizens. If conflicts in Europe are both less bloody and prevalent today, it's at least equally likely because of lessons learned from two world wars and a cold war than because of a beneficent aura spreading from Brussels and it's at least plausible that even without the EU, Europe would have been fairly peaceful (historically speaking) today. Just on a side note, I absolutely loathe the conflation of the EU and Europe.
My question about human rights and similar values wasn't about whether they should be an ideal or should be protected, but about the automatic assumption that the EU is either the best or the only way to do this. Sure, Orban should be reined in, but outsiders trying to do this are more likely to generate the kind of "circle the wagons" support that such external meddling, however well-intentioned and laudable its motives is, almost always tends to create (the EU learned that with Haider in Austria). The other problem with the picture of the EU as the shining beacon of peace and human right is that the EU isn't being really serious about actually protecting these rights anyway, or at least only to the extent that such enforcement clashes with the economic considerations that are at the heart of the EU. Otherwise, a threat to kick out or severely penalise the Orban administration from benefiting from the Common Market would at least have popped up as either an option or a mechanism that needs to be worked into future EU treaties (historical fun fact: Greece left the Council of Europe to avoid getting kicked out during the Colonels' regime). If the EU is powerless to do this while wielding formidable powers in trade and economic disputes it's because it was set up to function this way. Again, this would be a lot less of a problem if the EU didn't rely so heavily on the "Peace, Democracy and Human Rights"-spiel when in self-congratulatory mode and simply added the qualifier "- unless it's too expensive..."
It's also interesting that you mentioned Austria-Hungary, because that comparison hardly bodes well for the EU's future... (yes, I'm being deliberately polemical here; the EU is most emphatically not an empire, Eurosceptic fear mongering notwithstanding). The vogue for A-H as some sort of pre-nationalist "Grosser Heimat" is one that's mainly of a fairly recent origin. The early precursors of this attitude was found Jews who ended up being left out, not to mention standing out, in the narrowly nationalist states that took over from A-H, as well as (especially Austrian) disgruntled aristocrats who (and again I'm being polemical) missed the good old days of lording it over the peasantry and instead found diversions elsewhere (cue von Hayek and von Mises). The more recent romanticism about A-H popped up after the Yugoslav Wars destroyed the narrative of socialist "unity in diversity" and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in general made people shop around for new mental models of the past to frame their (his)torytelling. Okay, I agree that A-H had a ridiculously bad press for at least 50 years after its demise, but the current nostalgia is not much better than the "Prison of the Peoples" image raised in that earlier epoch. As with the rosy view of the Pax Romana, the similar idyllic depiction of a "Pax Austria" ignores what cost it came with, who paid those costs and that its internal tensions helped not only to set Europe ablaze but also the European colonial empires and such distant lands as China (a multitude of Chinese workers ended up in and behind the trenches), not to mention A-H's own collapse. If the "Prison of the Peoples" image is ahistorical (because it's intimately tied to a 19th century image of eternal and "natural" nations and nation states), then the idyllic version is equally ahistorical because it, conversely, ignores the very real effects and new conditions that the advent of nationalism created. Nationalism is no more or less bullshit than equally made up concepts such as Europe or universal human rights as making up such concepts and rules is how human try to structure and cope with the challenge of co-existing (or not) on a scale of thousands, millions and billions, rather than the small family and tribal groups of the "Out of Africa" age. Wishing that nationalism or nation states would just go away because you don't like them or certain of their aspects reminds me too much of similar wishful attitudes in some strains of anarchism towards both capitalism and the state. ScepticWombat (talk) 08:46, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Where do you people find the time to write these massive walls of text? Ground Bloom Flower (talk) 06:16, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
By virtue of the unique combination of not having any lives and being able to think and communicate in chunks longer than a tweet... ScepticWombat (talk) 07:14, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Just to correct a misunderstanding[edit]

I called myself a patriot for lack of a better word. That has nothing to do with linguistics. I'd be equally - let's say fond of my country, regardless of the language spoken. My preference for inflected or agglutinative languages is a matter of taste. For instance, I find it fascinating how one can almost play a game of fill-the-slots in Hungarian and Finnish. No language is in some sense inferior. I hope I've made myself clear. Cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk)

PS:Sorry, Avenger, I missed the smiley. :-) Sorte Slyngel (talk) 19:05, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I did not understand you thusly. I just had a fascinating conversation in German Spanish and English all mixed together with somebody I just met today, for reasons. My interest for languages is ultimately more in the people that speak it thaen in the language itself. And while I don't understand what's the point in Telenovelas (and trust me, it was not for lack of exposure), I simply have more people I can talk to in Spanish thaen in - say - Danish. Probably because I have thus far not had opportunity to go to Denmark. My sole visit to Sweden was entirely doable without a word of Swedish (though "Hej" did enter my memory and some other words I have now forgotten also got there). Ultimately I won't be bothered to learn Chinese, because I don't care all that much for Chinese culture. I know this is a horribly ignorant thing to say, but this whole "respect your elders" Confucian thing just doesn't grok with me. That's probably why my opinion of Japan can be summed up with the word "weird". I still like Nintendo and have even on occasion read a Manga or seen an Anime, but I won't ever be tempted to even begin to invest enough to understand them in the original. And ultimately in a capitalist world, languages have to be judged by their economic worth. Probably the most "valuable" languages on the global scale are Chinese, English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. As I don't like the sound of Portuguese (don't ask why, it sounds "wrong" if you know Spanish) and my opinion on Chinese has been established, that only leaves French as a language that would be both of use and interest to me within the foreseeable future. Still, I'd like to speak some obscure tongue just for the heck of it. Be it Miskito (spoken on the Central American Atlantic Coast), Yiddish or even one of the Nordics (okay, they are less obscure ;-)). But there is so little time and so much demand for "efficiency" Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 21:47, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
To quote Star Trek, DS9, Dr. Bashir once had a sick Odo on his hands and said something like: I don't now anything about your anatomy and you actually don't have any organs as we understand the word. So, I recommend rest. You can't go wrong with that one. :-)
I don't why this train of thought came from but this was a prologue to: Have fun. You can't go wrong with that one. :-) Having said that, I have a feeling that you might be giving too much importance to numbers. Turkish and German both belong to the „big“ languages, globally speaking. Just find what turns you on and learn that. There has to be something that you can use as a yardstick besides numbers. You'll have plenty of people to talk to almost no matter which European language you choose, and I suspect it will be a European language. Again: All that matters in this case is that you enjoy it. All the best Sorte Slyngel (talk) 22:32, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
PS: Valuable is a relative term. There's a real shortage of people in the world who can translate „smaller“ languages and even more so if you're translating from one „small“ language to another. I remember seeing, once upon a time, since everything having to do with the EU has to be translated to every official language of the union. I imagine that there a niche to be filled translating Irish into Lithuanian and vice versa. Sorte Slyngel (talk) 23:55, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Well, probably (though I am not sure whether anybody actually ever speaks Irish in the EU Parliament), but I have thought about and decided against a career in translation almost half a decade ago. I might reconsider, but probably not any time soon. Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 08:37, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
It says all about, how tired I was, that I forgot to mention the shortage I was referring to, but that was Danish-Portuguese. I'm fairly sure nobody speaks Irish in the EU Parliament, but it is an official language of (most of) the Green Island and thus automatically included. :-) Cheerio Sorte Slyngel (talk) 19:12, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
I seem to recall that some Irish MEP (I think (s)he was from Eire but it might've been Northern Ireland) began speaking either in Irish-Gaelic or a heavily accented Irish dialect to force interpretation and make a stand/point against the attempts to cut back on interpretation in parliamentary session. But you're both right that it's not something that usually happens. ScepticWombat (talk) 06:56, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
I always thought most Irish quite resent having to learn Irish in school and they mostly speak it to enrage the Brits... ;-) Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 10:48, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Sadly, most of the Celtic languages are on the decline. Welsh might be an exception. Breton speakers also have to deal with the French only policy of France. On a positive note, some promising efforts are being made to revive Cornish and Manx. Cheerio Sorte Slyngel (talk) 19:13, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

The Cambridge Ancient History[edit]

I had the luck of finding The Cambridge Ancient History, 2. edition quite a while ago, along with a heap of other historical publications by Cambridge. It's fascinating reading. The second edition was published 1970-2005. That is, I think, fairly recent for a work like this. Since I have a historian to ask, is that edition already outdated and if so, what can be considered reliable? For instance, almost everything published about prehistory is out of date the day after publication. Generally speaking: What is your opinion of the work? I love it, but I'm only an amateur historian at best. Cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk) 21:02, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

PS: Come to think of it, there's a gap in my knowledge of Nordic history, namely Swedish history and Finnish history from their point of view. As for Norwegian history I have Vårt folks historie (the nine volume work published by Aschehoug) and I've ploughed through the 14 volume Danmarks historie (Politiken), some of the books several times for the quality of writing - I'm especially fond of Erik Kjersgaard. Svend Cedergreen Bech was also a fine writer as was Hal Koch. (On the other end we have Thorkild Ramskou - the less said the better.) But do you happen to know works about Swedish history and Finnish history, reasonably accessible in a language I can read? My interest in history was kindled by Grimberg in Danish. As I got a bit, I became aware of his many obvious weaknesses, he was a child of his time, but I still enjoy reading him. Anyway, all the best and cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk) 00:17, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
My interest in ancient history is on the hobby, not a professional, level and I haven't really dug into the history of the other Nordic countries in a way that would allow me to dish out a reading list there either, sorry. As for being outdated, I doubt that at least the newer material in the CAH is outdated, or that the errors are on a level that will give you a completely wrong impression of the general consensus. These encyclopaedic works usually try not to put forward strong and controversial theses and in areas, such as ancient history, where new source material appears infrequently (bar extraordinary lucky textual discoveries or new archaeological material) chances are that the consensus is fairly stable — although some "perpetual strife" may exist in terms of differing interpretations (e.g. over what caused the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Empire and the latter's subsequent decline, or how to evaluate Sparta as a society). Grimberg is great for its story telling and many historians, even university professors, have fond memories of it, despite its shortages. Politiken-Gyldendals Danmarkshistorie is arguably the standard reference work for a general overview of Danish history, so having read that you're in good hands there. I noticed you mentioned Hal Kock; if you're interested in Danish society and politics, I heartily recommend his Hvad er demokrati? (What Is Democracy?) a very short but interesting book published in 1945 emphasising the role of the democratic discourse and part of a series of discussions on the nature of democracy that Koch had with the great Danish legal scholar Alf Ross (his book came in 1946 and was entitled Hvorfor demokrati? [Why Democracy?]). ScepticWombat (talk) 06:48, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm not in a hurry. One of the things I found fascinating reading a thorough history of Denmark, apart from our shared history, is how entertaining and enlightening it can be to follow the history of small countries, usually referred to in footnotes in a more general history. And I did discover one historical truth - all by myself :-) - reading it. The overarching lesson to be drawn from Danish history is that Denmark can't afford to wage wars. Much of its history is the story of kings trying and failing to finance their personal hobby wars. :-) Cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk) 18:39, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
PS: I did specifically mention the prehistory, where new discoveries are made rapidly. We can also assume that quite a deal of clay tablets remain to be discovered and those that have been found haven't all been translated due to lack of experts. Ironically much of ancient history is better documented than the „Dark Ages“ but I seem to recall that that name was given precisely because of lack of sources. Cheerio (literally - it's Friday evening :-) Sorte Slyngel (talk) 19:27, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Grimberg is actually quite funny if one follows how the focus shifts from Mesopotamia eventually ending in being basically the history of England, France and Germany, and national characteristics apparently change with the focus. Cyrus the Great is praised for having been a humane ruler. Later on, when the Greeks are the heroes, we have the Persians demoted to showing „orientalsk rænkefuldhed“. Still later when the focus has shifted further west we have the Byzantians showing „typisk græsk grusomhed“ and so forth. Grimberg was a master storyteller, but he was definitely a racist - see for instance his treatment of Islam, how it cannot possibly be considered as „deep“ as Christianity. And Grimberg himself eventually ended up being source himself, when it comes to the history of ideology. But he could write, nobody can take that away from him. Cheerio Sorte Slyngel (talk) 19:46, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

A repeated question about the job, just to be sure[edit]

Someone just had the dubious idea of demoting me. I have already asked about this, but since I face the stark reality, do you still stand by your comforting words, that I'm not actually required to do anything? Cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk) 19:51, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Which job? Sysop? Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 20:17, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Yes, this was directed at the Wombat, who said it didn't have to entail any work. :-) Cheers Sorte Slyngel (talk) 22:30, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
No worries just kick back and keep doing what you would've been doing anyway. ScepticWombat (talk) 19:17, 9 September 2015 (UTC)
You can block others for pi seconds, though (or for e seconds if you don't like being mainstream :-P) Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 19:23, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

For min fornøjelse[edit]

Du var den første til at hilse mig velkommen. Kan man sende dig en mail? Jeg kunne f.eks. forfriske mit dansk og desuden ville et par samtaler more mig. Jeg har selvfølgelig ingen anbefalinger men hvis det skulle more dig, så kan du kigge på den danske Wikipedias artikelkompleks on det islandske sprog. Jeg skrev det hovedsagelig alene om end under et andet pseudonym. Bedste hilsener Sorte Slyngel (talk) 18:00, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

PS: Min adresse er på min side, så du kan benytte den, hvis et par konversationer skulle more dig. Vi ses Sorte Slyngel (talk) 18:05, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
Selvom du virker helt OK, så har jeg en ret striks adskillelse mellem min aktivitet hér og mit "virkelige liv". Da min mail hører til sidstnævnte, har jeg ikke tænkt mig at benytte tilbuddet - men tak for tanken bag det alligevel. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:23, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Velbekomme. Det var trist, men vi mødes sikkert af og til her, så vi i hvert fald har noget at glæde os til. :-) Skål Sorte Slyngel (talk) 15:34, 13 September 2015 (UTC)


Mona has locked the page, for reason unknown. Would you mind unlocking it so I can make a single friggin' edit?
I have steadfastly refused to be a sysop, but I swear to God, it looks like I'm going to have to finally become one just so I can make a goddamn edit to the friggin' wiki. --Castaigne (talk) 04:38, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

I've changed the protection level to autopatrolled, which is the usual filter against random trolls. Anyway, you should be able to edit it now. ScepticWombat (talk) 05:03, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
I DID NOT lock that page. I believe ChrisAmiss did. However, Paravant sometimes does put a sysop-only lock on articles, and it is sometimes indicated. But Castaigne is one to fly off the handle without checking his facts, and I did not lock that page.---Mona- (talk) 05:08, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Okay, so Castaigne was mistaken, fair 'nough. ScepticWombat (talk) 05:19, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

You're nominated![edit]

Over here. (talk) 03:57, 2 November 42015 AQD (UTC)

Before I accept, I'd like to know whether you nominated me for any particular reason, or if I'm just part of a general nomination spree? ScepticWombat (talk) 12:35, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
It's a bit of both, if I'm honest. I was thinking of reasonable people I could nominate and you were one of the names that popped into my head. You're generally well-informed and your discussion style seems calm and level-headed; I think you'd make a good mod. (talk) 17:01, 3 November 42015 AQD (UTC)
Ah, what the hell, I'll accept. Worst case scenario is I'll have to serve a term of six months (interesting how that statement can refer to either prison or an elected office...), but I'm pretty curious about how many votes I'll get (if any). ScepticWombat (talk) 19:02, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

That's not a coop case[edit]

There's nobody to coop. If you want to raise it do it here, or in the Saloon. But I'd point out that AgingHippie, Paravant, and many others all revert what they deem to be trolling at their user talk pages and we do not generally second guess respected users. ---Mona- (talk) 17:39, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Excuse me, but who died and made you the god of RW? It's hardly up to you to decide whether it's a coop case or not. I put it in the coop because I think it's a pretty serious matter of principles and not just a saloon chit-chat. ScepticWombat (talk) 17:43, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
I didn't mean to revert your talk page and apologize for that. I'm not participating in the "coop case." Nor will I abide my any "decision" made there unless and until subject matter jurisdiction for the coop is demonstrated.---Mona- (talk) 17:54, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
AgingHippie agreed with your opinion on this not being coop'able so I've raised it in the Saloon instead, cheers. ScepticWombat (talk) 18:06, 1 December 2015 (UTC)


Could you possibly link one to your account? Herr FuzzyKatzenPotato (talk/stalk) 18:34, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

I'd rather not. Any reason why I should? I rarely check the email I used to set up my RW account and I'd rather not link to the ones I do check more frequently as they're either for or personal correspondence. ScepticWombat (talk) 15:45, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
It's in relation to the mod election; you could always set up a fresh email and change the RW email to that one? 32℉uzzy; 0℃atPotato (talk/stalk) 16:21, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
At a minimum, the other mods need to be able to comminucte among one another by emails. And frankly, event of this past few weeks also indicate why lowly mere users should also be able to contact mods out of the public eye.---Mona- (talk) 16:50, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
If I'm elected, I might set up (yet) another email - any suggestions as to a good host? ScepticWombat (talk) 10:39, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Gmail's always good. :P FuzzyCatPotato!™ (talk/stalk) 18:15, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Aw don't be evil, now... ;-) But, joking aside, I'd like a hint. ScepticWombat (talk) 08:43, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm using Tutanota.Wikipedia The design's a bit simplistic, but it does the job. You also don't need to provide any personal info to register. (talk) 09:07, 9 January 42016 AQD (UTC)
Seems legit, all right, I'll bite; done. Please note, however, that I'll probably won't be particularly obsessive in checking my mailbox, though. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:18, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Your opinion greatly needed[edit]

Your professional judgement as a moderator is needed here. If you are unaware of the background of this case, please read the whole thing first. Thank you for your time. Pbfreespace3 (talk) 23:22, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

I've just added my 2 cents' worth. I didn't step in earlier because things seemed to be resolving themselves and I feared my earlier history with Mona would cause me to disregard her point of view. ScepticWombat (talk) 08:24, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Just to say hi to your historian self[edit]

I've been away, and I intend to remain away except for looking at RW every month or so. But since my toilet reading is now Grimberg, and you know him, I couldn't resist leaving a message. It's really interesting, no let's say funny, how Grimberg, devout Lutheran as he probably was, tries to bend over backwards attempting to be fair, but in the end always comes down on the side of the Swedish state church. He tries to be fair to Muhamed, and says a lot in his favor but still can't resist (and I really think he was unable to resist) calling Islam a sort of misunderstood Christianity, and says, for instance, that Christianity's »næstekærlighed« (his reversed guillemets are there) doesn't really apply to Islam since it was actually just a contract with Allah. But he saw reason to mark the word particalurlay, and a few pages later he speaks about the selfishness in all religions. He talks about the old Arabic honesty as opposed to the Oriental cruelty of the Persians, completely forgetting that a couple of volumes earlier, his idol had been Cyrus the great. Further on he'll talk about the flaws of Suleiman the Magnificent, which were according to Grimberg, totally obnoxious to Westerners, forgetting that the rest of the world at the time was mostly worse. It's a fun read. Cheers Uppivindinn (talk) 18:18, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Grimberg's World History is something of a guilty pleasure among many of my fellow historians. The reason is that while Grimberg was not writing great history, he was a great story teller - a skill that is fortunately still prised even within historical academia. The problem arrived when Grimberg let his storytelling interfere with actual depictions of history, something I think is also very noticeable in those works by Barbara W. TuchmanWikipedia that I'm familiar with (The Guns of August,Wikipedia The Proud Tower,Wikipedia and Bible and Sword, though perhaps less so in The March of Folly,Wikipedia which I don't remember as clearly as the other three). This storytelling ability is also why Churchill's works became so influential and I remember Dan Carlin missing this ability from some of the professional historians writing about WWI and wishing for some more Churchillian rhetoric. I still think, though, that a truly great historian must not only be able to master the craft and methods of historical research, but must also be able to arrange the results into an engaging narrative. Similarly, I've never been much a fan of the overly complex and "pseudo-objective" (such as not using "I" or "we" - even while describing your methodological choices) academical writing style and I have always striven to keep my prose as simple and readable as possible - without sacrificing necessary accuracy, of course, which is why you sometimes need to resort to arcane "professional terms" (e.g. prosopographyWikipedia which even my spellchecker doesn't recognise...). ScepticWombat (talk) 19:13, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Grimberg helped me immensely with my Danish, when I was about ten and of course I swallowed him whole, enjoying tales of kings and generals, wars and battles. In my defense I shall have to state, that as I grew up a little bit, I read others and learned my first real history lesson, that is you need multiple accounts. But some of Grimberg's style remained favored among some Nordic historians — Erik Kjersgaard for instance. I agree with you about Barbara Tuchman. She also let her personal (quite understandable) detest of most things German shine through, but as a storyteller she is among the great ones. And yes, for a historian, or anyone who has something to say, the first rule after telling the truth (as defined in each case) is not boring your audience to death in which case the audience will never get the message. Cheers Uppivindinn (talk) 17:15, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
PS: Thanks for the education. Prosopography turned out to be the word of the day for me, and has been added to my vocabulary. :-) Cheers Uppivindinn (talk) 17:21, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Have I fallen off my rocker?[edit]

The full story, after the break. Don't miss it. All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 14:45, 7 August 2016 (UTC)

Interesting, though I'm not sure it's (only) nefarious psyching. ScepticWombat (talk) 15:49, 7 August 2016 (UTC)

The long talkpage march is completed[edit]

Extra points if you get the Communist reference without Googling. Also, please give me your thoughts on what I wrote! Th hug.gif All the best buddy, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 20:52, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

Hey, I'm a historian with a reasonable amount of Bildung... ;-) ScepticWombat (talk) 20:54, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

Collect your after-class credits[edit]

So, what's the reference? Th hug.gif Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:56, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

I bet Mao was footsore... ScepticWombat (talk) 06:54, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
Th hug.gif Reverend Black Percy (talk) 11:22, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Drunk history[edit]

Don't miss my slightly EUI exposé on Rosseau! All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:56, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Tony O'Connell[edit]

I am not allowed to write in the deletion discussion (I do not know why, nobody informed me about reasons), so let me answer to your statement at this place: You summed up several citations of Tony O'Connell, but I think they do not justify the word "crank" but a milder judgement.
First, there is much irony in Tony O'Connell's statements transporting some of the criticism you miss. Secondly, in a lexicon you do not add time and again what you like or not like, but just display what this or that author wrote. Silence is not automatically to be seen as agreement, and a complaint that somebody misses to base claims concerning Atlantis is exacly what you expect from an Atlantis lexicon. Thirdly, there is nothing wrong in assuming that the end of the scientific process has not been reached, yet, but that we are approaching closer to the truth than in Victorian times: This does not mean that he agrees with the Victorian nonsense theories, but quite the opposite. And I, too, am not amused about paralleling Plato's Atlantis dialogues with Star Wars. Finally, you are right, that Tony O'Connell is a bit narrow on the possible origins of flood myths, but he has not chosen an impossible origin, and he maybe would quickly change his mind if asked: It is simply a light-handed statement in some corner of an immense work, so you cannot base the claim that he is a crank on this. IMHO you should first ask him whether he really wants to stay with his narrow view.
I assume that the article will stay. Then, you will have to be fair. You will have to sort out in detail what is really wrong, what is intentionally and with insistance wrong, whether he is intentionally silent, and so on, and so on. Much work. I do not trust in this Wiki, that it will be able to create a fair article about Tony O'Connell. But let us see. It is your responsibility. And a failure will be your guilt.
--Wonderworld (talk) 12:28, 23 October 2016 (UTC)
O'Connell, by his own words, thinks there was a real global flood, believes in Atlantis, hyperdiffusionism and and thinks the angle of the Earth's axis wobbled significantly in the (geologically) recent past and that this was a pole shift. In addition, he fails to challenge Winters' even crankier Afrocentric beliefs and instead simply cites the parts of his crankery he agrees with (in this case Winters' hyperdiffusionism). This is curious because O'Connell has no problems citing criticism of other cranks elsewhere in his lexicon (e.g. his entry on Von Däniken). All the ideas I listed are crankery (as per the "extremely unorthodox beliefs" definition in the article) rooted in pseudoarchaeology, pseudohistory and pseudoscience. I cited O'Connell word for word, so if you can find the supposed "irony in Tony O'Connell's statements transporting some of the criticism" you claim I missed, I suggest you cite these so we can all have a chuckle. I've unlocked the vote page so take your complaints/arguments there. I'm copying this thread to the goat section. ScepticWombat (talk) 15:03, 23 October 2016 (UTC)
I did not say that you should not write about him at all. But the way you do it is missing the point. I will not be able to change that, I see that. I will not insist. Just gave you a chance to realize the full picture. The output of reason dependes on the input. --Wonderworld (talk) 16:54, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
"The output of reason dependes on the input." Indeed... ScepticWombat (talk) 03:19, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

You've been nominated as a moderator[edit]

You've been nominated in the upcoming moderator elections. See the nomination at RationalWiki:Moderator elections/Nominations. Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 04:21, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

Thank you Fuzzy. I saw this yesterday, but am still considering, since I'm unsure how active I'll be able to be here on RW in the coming year. Will have my reply sorted out by the 26th. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:43, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for considering -- it's been a pleasure. :) FᴜᴢᴢʏCᴀᴛPᴏᴛᴀᴛᴏ, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 20:26, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

"Obsession with making rules"[edit]

You know, that wouldn't be a problem if we made a rule that limited the rate of rulemaking... The FCP Foundation (talk/stalk) 20:26, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

Good post! Hehehe, nice one Fuzzy.
Good to see you haven't lost your sense of humour, despite the strains of being an iron-fisted dictator mod ;-) ScepticWombat (talk) 10:19, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

My cries of "edit wars"[edit]

Moved to the Maajid Nawaz talk page where it belongs. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:16, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

Is this WLC or Peter Griffin?[edit]

As a man of sound reason and logic, it is your sworn duty to go forth and laugh your ass off at this. Oy vey. Facepalm All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 14:37, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Holy fuckballs, I think some evil genius spliced WLC and Peter Griffin together; either that or your interlocutor has read Terry Pratchett's The Last ContinentWikipedia and taken the God of Evolution's omnipresence, -potency, and -science (confined to one small island, Mono Island) literally, rather than as satire, and thinks that it can be used to fill the holes in the Christian God's properties vis-a-vis the Euthyphro dilemma. ScepticWombat (talk) 15:03, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Good post!
Also... D-did you get to the part where he started telling me ab... about... his farts? I mean, I get that people fart — it's a bodily function (when not augmented by transhumanists) — but this has to be the first time that a "would be-apologist" willfully inserts the fact that he just air-shat himself as an actual premise in his own argument — about God, no less!
My actual reaction to reading that:
All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 15:13, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, it was the fart stuff that made me think Peter Griffin... ScepticWombat (talk) 18:56, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Your attention[edit]

Is directed to Laci_Green. Hipocrite (talk) 12:46, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

Oh goody, it's our latest concern troll, Mr. "Bias by Omission" Rational1 again... Thanks but no thanks; I have a heaping big todo list piling up at work and I already reached a certain level of being fed up with Rational1's antics when we butted heads over the Anita Sarkeesian article (and I don't even like her much or think she makes a convincing argument). I don't care much for most of the SJW articles anyway, despite the fact that they seem to attract the most edits (gee, wonder why...). ScepticWombat (talk) 18:52, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

Laurel and Hardy are back at it[edit]

Left hook, right hook. Would appreciate if you could snark at the first and weigh in on the second. In case you forget. All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 09:01, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Oh, for fucks sake... William Lane Griffin is just a dingbat (and now I've written as much on said talk page) and our self-declared math whiz kid is nothing more than your classic pseudoscholar (no wonder he has the hots for Utiger) with that special arrogance that used to be the preserve of physicists in the atomic age, but today is found among those who think that knowledge of math and especially "informatics" give them the ability to prognosticate with authority on any and all disciplines.
The fact that the math whiz thinks Utiger's opinions mean spit when they haven't been vetted by peer review instead of being vanity/self published (gee, I wonder why...) and that the whiz's own approval is all the vetting that's required is indicative of a, shall we say, quite prominently developed ego... Note the pompous touting of vague credentials: "I am teaching maths and I also know Mathematica." (okay cool, but where are you teaching at what level? That vague description might match Dr. Dino and his much abused credentialism in terms of teaching experience). Add to that the lack of anything resembling reasonable, self critical scepticism as in "I wonder if there might be something these biologists know about biology and genetics that might have escaped me and Utiger and which might explain why Utiger has to resort to de facto blogging rather than occupying a prime spot in a scientific journal?" But no, if you know something about math and informatics then you can apparently simply compile some algorithms and tell everyone what's what...
If all this wasn't so tedious, it might be more funny... ScepticWombat (talk) 15:31, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

*staples flyer to wall*[edit]

Has anyone seen my little wombat buddy around? About yay high, skeptical demeanor, occasional mouth breather... Yes, he can talk.... Reverend Black Percy (talk) 11:52, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Mostly lurking these days... ScepticWombat (talk) 17:11, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Something, something, dark side[edit]

You've been nominated to the RationalMedia Foundation election. Please accept or decline here; if you accept, you may wish to campaign. Th hug.gif All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 11:58, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the notice, Rev., and I do appreciate the honour, but I have to decline as I'm really not active enough around here. Thus, I have given notice of my polite refusal to run on the nominations' page. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:08, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Since WLC is wombat turf[edit]

I randomly set off attempting to 'tune up' a portion of the article today. I ran out of time, however (and I think I way have been more 'on' about Dumbski by the very last segment). As such, you being the resident WLC expert — and since I ran out of time to do my own addition justice — please feel free to edit/revise/abort whatever doesn't look right to you.

Again, since I ran out of time (for the moment, if nothing else) to 'finalize' my edit (as if such a notion exists on a wiki... But I digest), I don't want us to risk coming off as strawmanning the guy.

It's obviously very important that our text is written primarily in relation to what are his actual arguments. And feel free to tweak it if/when the tone is wrong.

The edit in question.

All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:18, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for adding to the WLC article, Rev. I have long been worried that my extensive edits to the article have not been looked over by others and thus lacked the quality control of a second opinion. That said, I was not particularly thrilled with the Dawkins stuff added by Warrior foes, especially the phrasing (which was why I removed what I regarded as superfluous exclamation marks).
I wholeheartedly agree that we should definitely not be straw manning Craig, but I also worry that the revisions made since my last major overhaul of the article last year have mainly added to what is already an extremely long article, indeed one of the longest on RW(!), if I remember correctly. I'm conflicted about this, because, on the one hand, I like that we counter Craig's arguments in detail, but, on the other, the sheer length risks compromising the quality. I suspect that few editors will go through it from end to other, which will increase the likelihood that they will simply add new paragraphs on topics that may already have been covered elsewhere in the article, not to mention that such a long article is probably less reader friendly.
For instance, while I think the objections to Craig's apparently bizarre use of mathematics in the section on the number zero is probably relevant, I think it ought to fitted into the whichever debating section (i.e. Craig's arguments) it belongs to. Since Craig is mainly (in)famous for his debates and he generally sticks to the "5 arguments"- format (bar the resurrection debates, of course), I still think it makes sense to encompass the majority of the content within these sections. The short paragraph on Craig and evolution is an exception as it falls somewhat outside the debate stuff (though Craig did discuss it in his debate with Lewis Wolpert), but is extremely relevant in relation to fundamentalist Christianity and apologetics (especially in the US).
As regards my own more substantial contributions (as in original text, rather than editing), I'm still a bit in two minds about the Wikipedia stuff in particular; should it be axed? My concern is that it might come off as too bitter/bitching/ranting even if I still consider that the core point (weaknesses in the Wikipedia approach exploited by Craig's fans) is valid.
I'm less conflicted about the debating tactics section, due to Craig's public reputation owing so much to his supporters touting his debating skills and "wins". However, we should take care to keep it as succinct as possible, which is why I tried to either combine several related fallacies and sleazy debating tricks in each paragraph or focus on Craig's most prominent tricks. That is why I'm not too thrilled about the additions regarding "decision card mentality " (it's not a fallacy we deal with elsewhere on RW) and "gibberish statements" (it seems to me that this is simply one specific example of Craig's general rhetorical shiftiness and penchant for bullshitting). By contrast, I think the addition of Craig's "false dichotomy between atheism and agnosticism" is highly pertinent not only to Craig's debating BS, but also because it dovetails nicely with more general issues surrounding straw man atheists. ScepticWombat (talk) 00:48, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Btw, I decided to post a slightly edited version of the above reply on the WLC talk page. ScepticWombat (talk) 01:09, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Time stamps[edit]

A few of the time stamps you've added don't match what it says in the fossil record. For instance, according to the fossil record, the comment was from 14:06 but you added it as 15:06. I also changed these ones. Are you not using Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)? CowHouse (talk) 06:55, 27 January 2018 (UTC)

Yup, that was it. I didn’t remember switching to local time or realise that it threw my time stamp corrections off. Have switched back to UTC now, thanks for noticing. My main interest in time stamping comments is to get the date displayed, though, in order for readers to see whether they are entering an active discussion or are resurrecting an old one. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:35, 27 January 2018 (UTC)
My intention wasn't to suggest that I have a problem with you adding timestamps. I completely agree that it's useful to know whether or not you are responding to a recent comment. CowHouse (talk) 16:11, 27 January 2018 (UTC)
Sigh, I know, sorry, I was getting a little pissy. I guess I was just annoyed that I didn’t realise that switching time zone would throw off the time stamps. I hate it when these kinds of useful formalities aren’t correct, so it bothers the hell out of me to know that I’ve “corrected” something to be only “less wrong”. Call it my inner, OCD teacher ;-) ScepticWombat (talk) 17:24, 27 January 2018 (UTC)
No need to apologise. You didn't seem pissy at all. My point was that there is nothing wrong with what you're doing. Also, don't beat yourself up about it. It's not a big deal and it's not like you changed correct timestamps into incorrect ones. It's better to have a slightly incorrect timestamp than none at all. In case you were wondering, this was correct. CowHouse (talk) 08:51, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
Cool, and thanks for double checking that my time stamps are correct after I changed the settings. Btw, another reason to insert time stamps is to make sure our archivist bot functions correctly. Apparently, if there’s no time stamp at the end, the bot will not archive a section, and I’ve seen a couple of examples (e.g. Talk:Jack Chick and Talk:William Lane Craig) where the bot has archived fairly recent stuff while leaving ancient sections in place, such as the 2008(!) section on the Jack Chick talk page. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:29, 28 January 2018 (UTC)

trade union talk page[edit]

I have responded to your comment -- (talk) 10:33, 25 February 2018 (UTC)

Likewise. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:54, 25 February 2018 (UTC)


Hello. I would like to ask what the point is of slandering Gregory Lauder-Frost by a New Mexico-base website? I was at college with GLF and it is clear to me at least that some of the info here is wrong. For instance he did not attend school in Australia and having met his father I know that from at least the 1950s he was working for Gilbeys, the English/London distillers. I mean, what is the purpose of this terrible smear? What purpose does it serve? (talk) 15:40, 15 May 2018 (UTC)

I have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re obviously barking up the wrong tree... Unless you’re simply trying to suck in more people to your complaint fest on the GLF talk page; in which case, I’ll leave it at: Don’t care, not interested. ScepticWombat (talk) 20:07, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Oh, right, I forgot I made one, minor change to the wording of the article to make it clear that Julius Evola is looong dead. Apparently, the BoN is chatting up anyone in the page’s (recent?) fossil record. ScepticWombat (talk) 20:15, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
They are, just check their user contributions. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 20:32, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Huzzah! A BoN attempting to start grudge match! How interesting... ScepticWombat (talk) 20:51, 18 May 2018 (UTC)


Please keep an eye on Hindu nationalism related articles. Please review my edits, I have made some improvements. --ThisIsYeah2 (talk) 18:14, 28 October 2018 (UTC)

It seems better for it, keep up the good work. ScepticWombat (talk) 04:51, 29 October 2018 (UTC)

You've been nominated as moderator[edit]

You've been nominated in the upcoming moderator elections. See the nomination at RationalWiki:Moderator elections/Nominations. CowHouse (talk) 07:20, 11 November 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for the notice, but I’m not really active enough to follow and resolve “mod worthy” conflicts at the moment and so I must decline the nomination. ScepticWombat (talk) 22:59, 14 November 2018 (UTC)

Disney copyright[edit]

Faunas Completely rewrote the section in question, one that you contributed a large chunk of content to. I'm letting you know in case you wish to dispute it. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 17:07, 8 January 2019 (UTC)

Faunas is probably right, and debunking the Steamboat Willie stuff is fine. I wonder, though, if this isn’t a bit beside the point? The idea that the US had to “keep up” with the EU strikes me as rather baseless (by contrast, the need to harmonise copyright within the EU is simply one aspect of creating and strengthening the Single Market). ScepticWombat (talk) 20:00, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

I meant to set that protection for a mere 9 hours, not indefinitely. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 11:55, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

@GrammarCommie Ah, that explains my puzzlement over what I thought was a rather heavy handed response to the deletions by a single user. No worries. ScepticWombat (talk) 15:41, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

Sorry to bother you.[edit]

I'm afraid I assumed you were one of the principals involved in the article, and I was trying to be helpful, at least I thought so at the time. OK. Thanks.Ariel31459 (talk) 22:57, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

@Ariel31459 I’m sorry if I came off sounding a bit pissy. I just seemed to recall that the article was one of those that caused quite a shit stir quite a while back. Not that I remember being particularly involved in either the brouhaha or creating/revising the article myself, though. If you can fix the issues you’ve highlighted, you’re more than welcome on my part. Happy editing. ScepticWombat (talk) 00:26, 14 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks SW. I think I am as leery of this article too.Ariel31459 (talk) 00:53, 14 November 2019 (UTC)


When did Steyer drop out? And can you cite a source? ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 20:36, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

@GrammarCommie He dropped out almost simultaneously with Buttigieg (I saw the news about Steyer first, but that might’ve been a coincidence). CNN has a clip with his resignation speech, which has also been used elsewhere. ScepticWombat (talk) 21:42, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
Huh, I was expecting him to wait until after Tuesday so he could save face. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 21:55, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
@GrammarCommie Sure, but just like Buttigieg and Klobuchar, dropping out before Super Tuesday will increase the chances of Biden and Bloomberg both reaching the important 15% viability threshold in several states and thus decrease the likelihood of Sanders winning an outright majority of delegates. And I see Warrens states refusal to drop out no matter what in the same light (because this would likely benefit Sanders far more than any other candidate). If it had not been obvious before, now it is clearly a “Sanders vs. the rest” match. ScepticWombat (talk) 22:07, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
It was always such, I'm just annoyed that I mispredicted when Steyer would drop out. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 00:23, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

Re:What? By which definition should Israel be labelled an Asian country?[edit]

But its ok. I'll move on and not gonna respond to this issue. Dogeatsdog (talk) 09:04, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

@Dogeatsdog Sure, you can term Israel as part of West Asia (hell, one Danish joke says that Asia begins in either Malmö or Stockholm, just to illustrate the difficulty of delineating the continental borders — and of course mock the Swedes), but is it a useful categorisation on this wiki to lump it in with Asian countries, when it’s already in the Middle Eastern countries category? Middle Eastern seems the more accurate and useful category, even if most Middle Eastern countries (or at least those east of Egypt) can also be labelled Asian. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:27, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

Regarding Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Church/Choir[edit]

They're in moonbat territory, as if siding with anti-GMO crusaders/food woo organizations isn't enough (read: they went to Monsanto headquarters to hold an "Organic Thanksgiving"). The group has also managed to use the free speech card to get out of jail on at least one occasion.

Oh, and I doubt that William Talen is a "well-known performance artist", as he became known for Reverend Billy before people even knew who his insane self was.

Plus, here's some Rick Ross cult warning signs the group seems to meet to my knowledge: Warning Sign 6 "They have a hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda", Warning Sign 9 "They can justify anything the group/leader does", Warning Sign 3 "Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned, it is characterized as persecution", and Warning Sign 1 "They are extremely obsessive regarding the group/leader". I do believe Warning Signs 8 and 10 may also apply, but I haven't been able to find any info regarding connections to those two signs.

--2601:199:4181:E00:7C5C:9B:F92C:24FD (talk) 15:34, 26 August 2020 (UTC)

Do you have any indication that the “church” members follow Talen/Reverend Billy in this cultish way? You seem to completely miss the irony of the happenings that adopt the theatre of revivalism as a criticism of corporate capitalism and consumerism as a sharp contrast to how much of US Christianity tends to frame these (most egregiously in the prosperity gospel).
I find it pretty likely that the “church” probably is against GMO, but having an organic happening at the headquarters of perhaps the most notorious agribusiness doesn’t strike me as particularly odd (note that organic agriculture is about far more than GMOs, especially limiting the use of pesticides, the sale of which are the core business of Monsanto).
Also, what is this “free speech card” that they have apparently used to “get out of jail and what does it have to do with whether the “church” is a moon at cult?
As for the Rick Ross indicators, you still insist at taking the happenings at face value, focusing on the form, rather than the broader cultural message and that the Church of Stop Shopping as a long established example of culture jammingWikipedia similar to Buy Nothing Day or The Yes Men. If you can find examples of the “church” actually taking advantage of its members in the ways typically associated with cults (extensive social control, demands for the surrendering of resources, sexual favours etc. to the cult and/or its leadership, isolation of cult members from society and similar behaviour), you’d have a much stronger case. ScepticWombat (talk) 06:26, 28 August 2020 (UTC)

Ask and ye shall receive...[edit]

I've made a draft about Jeffrey Epstein. Since you seemed interested in him getting an article some time ago, I thought I should tell you in case you had something to add.-Flandres (talk) 21:57, 11 January 2021 (UTC)


You've been nominated in the upcoming moderator elections. See the nomination at RationalWiki:Moderator elections/Nominations. Monet Ye 19:50, 3 November 2021 (UTC) Thanks for your kind consideration, but I’m more of a lurker/drive by editor at the moment and thus not active or present enough to be a mod. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:17, 6 November 2021 (UTC)

Since you're following scandinavian politics[edit]

This confirms that Frederiksen is just a Third Way scumbag. There was a majority thanks to Greenland, so why take the Conservative Liberals from Venstre and the Moderates along? Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 16:06, 15 December 2022 (UTC)

@Arcadium Trancefer It’s arguably even worse: Mette Frederiksen is turning out to be running a GOP style “Real Denmark vs. Big City Elites” campaign and putting that line into practice.
Where the Third Way Soc.Dem.s were all about “new economy” flimflammery, Frederiksen is leaning hard into talking about “Production Denmark”, which, according to her, is only located in “the province” (a Danish designation of either everything outside of greater Copenhagen or the equivalent of the US “Smalltown America”, encompassing everything outside the larger Danish cities).
Her approach is part cynical power brokering, as she will mainly lose votes among the youth and in the big cities, which tend to go to the parties of the left that have few options of forming a cabinet without the Social Democrats. But it also reflects the kind of combination of nationalism, (pseudo) blue collar identity politics and disdain for higher education and metropolitan areas that has fuelled GOP politics for decades and been even more prevalent under Trump.
Hence, Frederiksen has actively antagonised the parties of the left that were expected to form the basis of her cabinet and her ideology aligns far better with the Agrarian Liberals (Venstre) and the new Moderates. This coalition is more than willing to go along with her cutbacks to higher education and like her they don’t really give a shit about the environment, especially if environmental efforts cost money of jobs in certain sectors. Hence, their environmental policies are basically mercenary (they see them as monetary investments, while environmental effects are secondary).
The price Frederiksen is paying is tax cuts combined with a new tax bracket that will mean lower taxes for most, possibly apart from certain high wages (note: wages, not income), but as usual will mean little for those at the bottom.
Even worse, Frederiksen’s cabinets holds a majority in the Danish parliament (Folketing), meaning that she will actually be able to push through her shitty ideas and the only brake is disagreements within her cabinet (which are likely to arise, but probably not to topple the government right away).
So yeah, this is a shitty outcome for anyone who cares about the environment, education or anyone in Denmark under 30, as young people are the most likely to be hit. This is a government for well heeled pensioners in the countryside who will be placated be seeing the “Big City Elites” get hammered, nurses getting bribed with increased salaries (almost certainly at the expense of all other public sector workers and Danish nurses are not particularly low paid), and some other initiatives that will keep the over 50s and especially the over 70s voting for the governing parties in general and the Social Democrats in particular. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:51, 27 December 2022 (UTC)
PS. I’ve never seen Mette Frederiksen as a Third Way Social Democrat. However, her former boss and predecessor as Social Democratic leader and PM, Helle Thorning-Schmidt definitely was one. She was even a far more devoted and to the right of the already Third Way leadership of the 1990s under Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (and Mogens Lykketoft in the early 2000s), who at least had clear qualms (at least afterwards) about global capital, though he also was the one to flog off such assets as Danish telecom. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:58, 27 December 2022 (UTC)
I've seen people on the internet calling her "The Danish version of Margeret Thatcher". Accurate? Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 15:50, 31 December 2022 (UTC)
I hadn’t heard that one and I guess it would depend on what the parallel being drawn is. Mette Frederiksen certainly not the kind of market infatuated git/free market fundamentalist that you may find among certain Third Way’ers. Hence, if the charge is about ideology, I think this kind of criticism is way off the mark.
However, I suspect the parallel might be more about Frederiksen’s authoritarian leadership style, which is why she is seen as something of an “iron lady” herself and which has also been a key criticism of her, both as PM and back when she was Minister of Labour/Justice under Helle Thorning-Schmidt. I would generally agree with this kind of criticism, as Mette Frederiksen seems very unwilling to listen to other opinions or to admit to mistakes. She certainly doesn’t take kindly to criticism. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:26, 1 January 2023 (UTC)
On further consideration, there might also be something of a parallel to Thatcher in the kind of (pseudo) blue collar “conservative” posturing and denigration of “academic elites” that are seen in opposition to the “Real DenmarkTM“.
Apart from the identity politics and bashing of academics, this also leads to policies that might give a (short/medium term) boost to certain blue collar voters, especially through property prices. This is somewhat similar to how Thatcher’s right to buy yoked broader sections of the UK populace to “get rich from your bricks” politics (while kicking away the ladder for subsequent generations). However, so far, Frederiksen’s policies haven’t involved outright selling off public housing on any major scale, but rather politics geared towards cuddling property owners, or at least shielding them.
Note that several of these issues are very much in the vein of the defunct Centre Democrat party, which was formed in the 1970s by a former Social Democrat for the benefit of home and car owners, while simultaneously lashing out at supposed “red indoctrination” everywhere from a academia to the media. ScepticWombat (talk) 11:51, 2 January 2023 (UTC)
@Arcadium Trancefer As for how “asocial democratic” this cabinet headed by the purported Social Democrats is, PM Mette Frederiksen seriously suggested to cut a public holiday without people getting paid to work on that day. After this absurd “work for free for a day” proposal was laughed/booed off immediately, she then magnanimously proposed that people actually be paid to work on the public holiday she wants to cancel (whoop whoop). Still, cancelling a public holiday (surprise, surprise) is not proving popular, not to mention that the idea is being floated while the unions and employers’ organisations are involved in collective bargaining against the backdrop of inflation hollowing out real wages while employers are worried about competitiveness. Smooth move, Mette… ScepticWombat (talk) 18:42, 6 January 2023 (UTC)


Almost dropped 5.5%. The other 2 aren't doing fantastic either. I take it the SocDems are losing their left-wing voters to the Greens (F)? Also, why are the Moderates all of a sudden euroskeptic (the "~" next to the faction that a party is affiliated with, means that said party won't take their seats during EU meetings and all of those are always anti-EU)? Doesn't really sound neutral(like they claim to be) to me. Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 15:45, 23 February 2023 (UTC)

The SocDems are especially losing voters to the “socialist” party (Socialist People’s Party) which is placed pretty much where the SocDems used to be on a lot of topics. This is completely predictable, because a lot of those who voted for the SocDems did not expect the tax cuts and pension “reforms” (limiting access) that the SocDems are now pushing along with their coalition partners.
To put it bluntly: These voters feel betrayed and suckered.
The Moderates being “soft eurosceptics” is no surprise since its leader turned the (Agrarian) Liberals from an extremely pro EU party to the same kind of soft scepticism when he headed the (Agrarian) Liberals. It doesn’t mean, however, that the Moderates won’t take their EP seats or join a group, but simply that the party has been formed since the last EP election and hasn’t decided whether or which party group it might join as it has no MEPs.
This is also the case of the Denmark Democrats, while the New Right was just a bit late to the party in 2019 (they ran for the first time for the national election in June, but the EP elections were in May). ScepticWombat (talk) 16:15, 23 February 2023 (UTC)
As for which EP group the Moderates might join, should they win any EP seats in 2024, I would expect them to make one of two choices:
  • They will likely choose either Renew (formerly ALDE), apart from the very pro EU (and outright federalist) stance that this group usually takes.
  • Or the Moderates might join the EPP whose ideology is arguably more conservative than the Moderates’s, but the EPP is also less of an EU cheerleader than Renew.
The latter choice might also fit with Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s cynical pursuit of power by aligning his party with the most powerful EP group whose only other Danish member is the rather lacklustre Conservatives with their single MEP.
As for the New Right, they are very unlikely to get any MEPs. But they would probably join Identity and Democracy (ID) with the second choice being European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).
The Denmark Democrats might have a shot at getting one or more MEPs in 2024 and they would probably also choose ID or ECR, if they decide to join a group at all. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:33, 23 February 2023 (UTC)
The latest opinion poll continue the trend and now the Moderates are dipping as well. It seems like none of the governing parties’ voters are particularly happy with the governing constellation at the moment. In total, the governing parties are down more than 13.5 points (SDP -6.4 to 21.1%, Agrarian Liberals -4.3 to 9% and Moderates -2.7 to 6.6%).
In terms of seats, that would change the governing coalition’s (almost) majority of 89 (50+23+16, but supported past 90 seat majority mark by mandates from Greenland and the Faroe Islands) to currently getting only 66 seats (38+16+12) and thus waaay off from being even close to a majority.
The main beneficiaries seem to be the Socialists (+7 points to 15.3%) and Libertarians (+4.7 to 12.6%) while the Conservatives and Social Liberals are barely up (+0.5 to 6% and +0.4 to 4.2%) and the Red/Greens a bit more (+1.2 to 6.4%).
Meanwhile, the right wing parties are mainly shuffling voters between them as New Right’s losses almost exactly mirror gains in the Danish People’s Party (together, they would get 6.5% of the total vote, if the opinion poll is correct), though the provincial populist Denmark Democrats are also up a smidgeon (+0.5 to 8.6%). ScepticWombat (talk) 06:00, 28 April 2023 (UTC)

Finland elections[edit]

Is Kok. one of those Centre-Right parties that wouldn't mind ruling with Far-Righters? Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 08:58, 3 April 2023 (UTC)

I'll jump in here, having just read a bunch on this election. Basically, yes they're willing, but it's not obvious it'll work the best for them. Currently it's not clear which coalition will be built, one of them plus SDP and a few more parties, or them plus PS and some other party or two (they need to build a majority with some such extra support). They will be haggling with both SDP and PS about which option to go with. Some smaller parties have declared they won't rule with PS. SDP has burned its former coalition partners to gain tactical votes, but will they spurn SDP now if it means keeping PS from power? Svenska Yle suggested that in the theatrics of Finnish politics, a new chapter of public stances and commitments at odds with the old begin now post-election. (Added: Kok. is basically Finland's version of Sweden's Moderates. Same ideology, different names.) --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 11:41, 3 April 2023 (UTC)
I defer to ApooftGnegiol on this one as I don’t follow Finnish politics particularly closely, though I have checked the results of this election. Note that Finnish politics are quite different from the Danish politics that I’m more familiar with in that majority coalition cabinets seem to be the norm in Finland while they’re the exception in Denmark (present circumstances not withstanding).
To my untrained eye it seems that Finnish politics are now in a sort of 3x3 mode as Finland has:
  • 3 “big” parties hovering around 20%: Conservatives (National Coalition or Kok), right wing populists (Finns Party or PS, formerly the True Finns) and the Social Democrats (SDP).
  • 3 “mid-sized parties” with around 7-11%: Agrarians/Agrarian Liberals (Centre or kesk), Greens (aka VIHR) and Socialists (Left Alliance).
  • 3 “small” parties with around 2-4%: The Swedish minority party (Swedish People’s Party), Christian Democrats (KD) and Liberals.
It would also seem that all three “big” parties gained votes from the “mid-sized” parties, with the agrarians taking the biggest hit in number of seats and the greens in percentage points, while the three “small” parties pretty much staid put.
Not being versed in Finnish political sympathies and antipathies, I can only guess at what these results mean in terms of the PS coming to power. The big issue is probably that a lot of the smaller parties are very much against the PS, as also mentioned by ApoostGnegiol. I doubt that any of the parties on the left (incl. Greens) or the Swedish minority will back a cabinet with the PS, leaving only the Agrarian Liberals, Christian Democrats and Liberals for the Conservatives and PS to deal with.
Given the solid 40% behind either a Kok/PS coalition, the Agrarians will at least have to be convinced not to oppose them, while the Christian Democrats and the sole Liberal will probably be able to be enticed to join, depending on political horse trading. If the Agrarians could be persuaded to join Kok/PS, the case would be closed and any other participants would simply be “nice, but not needed”.
This is, of course, assuming that Finnish preferences for majority coalition cabinets prevails (to “Danish eyes”, either some form of Kok/PS coalition or a Kok-led cabinet without but supported by the PS would be the “obvious” outcome). Another option would be to entice the sole Liberal into the “Marin coalition”, but that would create an extremely vulnerable 101/99 majority and I doubt a party that originally broke away from the Conservatives would go that far anyway.
The PS, for their part, might look to the Danish People’s Party in terms of the perils of staying out of a cabinet when you get catapulted into the major party league, but the results are just muddled enough to not make it a shoe in either. The best result for the PS might actually be some form of Conservative/Social Democrat coalition (with added medium/small parties) as it would enable the PS to play on their “outsider” status in the next election and thus maybe become unavoidable as a coalition partner in one way or another (as have the Sweden Democrats). ScepticWombat (talk) 17:22, 3 April 2023 (UTC)
Opinions I've read have been divided on which coalition is most likely, but a significant portion expect the agrarian/center party to take an opposition role (that apparently being the go-to strategy in Finland for recovering from a great popularity loss), making a large-enough coalition with PS more difficult. As for PS in or out of government, being in it is more risky, and PS has a history of crashing and splintering a la Denmark (later recovering) when no longer outsider populists before, but they'll definitely go for it if they can.
It seems there's a tradition in Finland of the government coalition and opposition trying to shoot down most things from the other side in parliament, even if they basically agree with it. That probably can't be broken, so a minority government would be unable to bring change and isn't seen as an option. On the other hand, another difference from Sweden, there's no clear block identities among parties, though for or against PS is polarizing somewhat like with Sweden's SD.
Kok. would have a difficult time compromising on economic policy with SDP (that's the big divide there, Kok. is strongly for neoliberal budget-balancing and that's what they campaigned on), while with PS, Kok. disagrees on other things, among them freer vs. more restricted immigration of workers (Kok. may be more willing to restrict non-worker immigration, and maybe in other ways compromise away its social liberalism). --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 22:13, 4 April 2023 (UTC)
Well, Marin has stepped down as SDP leader, which to me is a bit surprising, given that the party gained votes, as well as seats, that she’s personally popular according to polls, and that her loss of the premiership was mainly due to the poor electoral performance of her coalition partners. It also suggests that any attempt at an SDP led cabinet is definitely dead (i.e. no enticement of the single Liberal that I mentioned before).
Given ApooftGnegiol’s further comments, it would seem that the Finnish parliament is most likely to end up in a situation similar to that in Sweden prior to its latest election: That the PS seats are basically “locked” due to enough other parties refusing to enter into a coalition with them, leading to difficulties forming any government coalition and subsequently with finding steady, working majorities.
Still, before the Danish elections, I would never have thought that the Danish Agrarian Liberals and Social Democrats would shag up together, with noises to the contrary mainly being tactical electioneering. Both parties see themselves as “Danish PM suppliers”, there was only a single, historical precedent that lasted just over a year in 1978/‘79 (generally used as an example of why this constellation was not very feasible), while the Agrarian Liberals were very vocal on yet another inquiry into Mette Frederiksen’s role in the “mink scandal” and whether she might be impeached. Nevertheless, Denmark now has a Social Democratic/Agrarian Liberal/Moderate majority cabinet, so odd bedfellows or breaks with tradition are apparently not that improbable. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:21, 6 April 2023 (UTC)
Actually, Marin stepping down makes it easier for SDP to become part of a technically Kok.-led coalition, with compromises. Though that's not to say it's sure it happens. But Kok. campaigned as the anti-Marin option for economic policy (Marin's government was described as both "too left" and fiscally irresponsible, letting deficits and debt grow), and without Marin at the SDP helm, it becomes easier for the two parties to join without seeming to support the opposite of what they campaigned for. (Marin was also very vocally against a conservative government, invoking the image of "blue-black"Wikipedia politics.Wikipedia) I think SDP wants in even at a cost, to prevent PS from getting in, but Marin now seemed a bit too anti-conservative to fit into such a bid.
If some kind of majority can be arrived at, even if it takes drawn-out and tough compromises, it seems more likely than a minority government given the greater need for a majority in Finland. As for Finland's agrarian centrists, it's still not really clear what they may do, and apparently they have a saying that the center betrays, that they are known to change position whenever it suits them. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 11:03, 6 April 2023 (UTC)
I wondered if Marin’s resignation should be seen in exactly that light (as an opening to a Kok/SDP coalition), which sounds plausible to me as well. Especially given that this constellation is not unusual in Finland and the SDP can argue that they did it to keep the PS from power. It might also be something that convinces the Centre to join a cabinet by framing it as a sort of “coalition against the PS”. I just worry whether this kind of deal might play into the hands of the PS at the next election (to say nothing about what it would mean for the possibility of creating a left alternative when it comes to economic policy). ScepticWombat (talk) 13:25, 6 April 2023 (UTC)

Board nomination[edit]

You've been nominated to the RationalMedia Foundation election. Please accept or decline here; if you accept, you may wish to campaign. Arcadium Trancefer (talk) 08:36, 6 July 2023 (UTC)

I’m flattered, but I doubt I have the time, or that I’m the kind of person for the post overall. Thanks nevertheless. ScepticWombat (talk) 13:09, 21 July 2023 (UTC)