Talk:Committee for Skeptical Inquiry/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 5

1. CSICOP had a policy for many years of not conducting any investigations itself, only publishing the results of investigations by others. This policy was because of the controversy generated by its Mars Effect U.S. test and painful parting of ways with former Executive Council member Dennis Rawlins. CSICOP has funded investigations since Joe Nickell joined the full-time staff in Amherst.

2. CSICOP was originally founded with seed money from the American Humanist Association, while Paul Kurtz was editor of its magazine, The Humanist. CSICOP was founded after the considerable response generated by Kurtz's "Objections to Astrology" statement which was issued in the September/October 1975 issue of The Humanist. This statement led to the Mars effect tests (the Zelen test, published in The Humanist, and the test of U.S. sports champions, published in the Skeptical Inquirer).

3. CSICOP has been a target of lawsuits by Uri Geller (James Randi was the primary defendant), which CSICOP won. There have been a number of other lawsuits that have involved CSICOP and local skeptical groups; most recent is the lawsuit by "Jane Doe" (real identity Nicole Taus) against Elizabeth Loftus, Melvin Guyer, CSICOP, the Skeptical Inquirer, the Center for Inquiry West, and Carol Tavris, regarding articles by Loftus & Guyer and Tavris published in the Skeptical Inquirer.

4. It is worth comparing and contrasting CSICOP with similar organizations, such as Shermer's Skeptics Society, the Society for Scientific Exploration, and former CSICOP co-chairman and original Skeptical Inquirer editor Marcello Truzzi's Center for Scientific Anomalies Research (now defunct since Truzzi's death). It is also worth mentioning that several of CSICOP's Executive Council members ran a predecessor organization, Resources for the Scientific Evaluation of the Paranormal (RSEP)--Martin Gardner, Ray Hyman, James Randi, and Marcello Truzzi--which was founded in 1975.

Lippard 16:08, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Mars effect

I think the Mars effect is ridiculous (in fact, not worth refuting, it is so ridiculous), but the recently removed link (removed by the same person who added it) does seem to indicate that CSICOP did not cover itself in glory in this incident. So, why not leave the link in? I think it would be the mannerly thing to do. Ortolan88

I moved the link to the specific article on the Mars effect. RK

OK, RK. Ortolan88


From the article:

Oddly enough both groups are convinced (beyond a doubt?) the complexities of mind and emotion can readily be discounted, paranormal phenomena can, and must, be produced on demand. (Would they expect the same from heart breaking sorrow, ultimate despair, and successful suicide?) Science marches on?

I'm not sure what this means, but it doesn't sound very NPOV to me. —Paul A 02:58, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Our anonymous contributor has re-inserted the text, with more of a nod to NPOV. It still seems rather vague and ambiguous:

"Both groups are convinced beyond a doubt, and without substantial proof, the complexities of mind and emotion can be readily discounted, and paranormal phenomena can, and must, be produced on demand. There is a call for certainty. An odd, almost religious, cohesiveness has developed in each group. Since its conception the existence of paranormal phenomena has been associated with a transcedental reality. This has often been the case in the past with yet to be explained phenomena, such as magnetism and mental illness.(See "The History of Magic and Experimental Science" Lynn Thorndike,1923, 8 volume set, a classic and disappearing work)." --Modemac 22:47, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC) --- This article seems very positive about its subject matter and not NPOV at all.

Note that this page is for discussing the article "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal". It is not for publicising books on new theories. See Wikipedia:No original research. -- Derek Ross | Talk 16:06, 2004 Nov 25 (UTC)

Skeptical Inquirer

I have merged the Skeptical Inquirer article into this one and turned the SI article into a redirect. SI does not exist apart from CSICOP and much of the SI article was a rehash of what CSICOP does. There was no talk page for the SI article. –Shoaler (talk) 16:53, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

I think the heading for SI should be changed from "Publication" to "Skeptical Inquirer" or a combination of those. That way it will appear in the table of contents, and someone using the redirect can find it easier. Bubba73 17:02, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
Makes sense. Done –Shoaler (talk) 17:35, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

No Wonder/ Thanks a lot

I was near the Fouke, Arkansas area, asked about a Bigfoot, some guy asked if I was one of those "skeptics". If I was, he would've shot ME. Yeah, No Wonder I nearly got shot while examining this matter myself. This is NOT vandalisim, just what a angered man had stated. I'm NO longer in that area. Thanks a lot CSICOP/Skeptical Inquirer. Martial Law 08:47, 22 December 2005 (UTC) :(

Appearrantly, some of the operatives were abusive to the Fouke, Ark. area locals when they looked into this matter. Martial Law 08:50, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

IF these were NOT CSICOP/Skeptical Inquirer personnel, who's people were they ?Martial Law 08:55, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm... shouldn't you "thank" the crackpot with the gun rather than his potential victims? --Hob Gadling 14:35, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Hints of a lack of NPOV ?

After a reasonably balanced section on CSICOP and its critics, the article strays into a general claim that "According to the mainstream scientific community, every instance of claimed paranormal activity has failed to stand up under scientific scrutiny."

This may or may not be true; perhaps a poll has been conducted to demonstrate this as a majority view; if so, let's cite it. Otherwise, I suggest deletion. Either way, "Mainstream scientists" is a weasel phrase usually denoting "scientists who agree with my POV", and strikes me as inappropriate for an NPOV article. Robma 15:36, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Agreed !!!! Martial Law 06:18, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Can you name one instance of claimed paranormal activity that has stood up to scruitiny by the mainstream scientific community? Bubba73 (talk), 03:55, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Bubba, seeing auras is now known to be one aspect of a condition called synaesthesia. It just beats me why no Synthete has as yet claimed Randi's million. I forgot, he moved the goalposts - they really can see auras it's just not supernatural (impossible) anymore.Davkal 12:11, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

If it isn't supernatural then it isn't paranormal. People sometimes see auras when they are having a migrane, but these don't represent anything physically out there. Bubba73 (talk), 15:10, 18 June 2006 (UTC) This may help to clarify it. Bubba73 (talk), 15:36, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

You miss the point. The old claim (the claim that Randi made time and again) was that nobody could see auras. But now we know they can. Also,the auras seen by synthetes very much represent something physically out there in every sense that a non-synthete's perceptions do.Davkal 03:28, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

No, you're missing the point. The auras these people see are generated in their brain - they are not out there physically. They are basically illusions. See the link above and thos one and many others. Bubba73 (talk), 03:44, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
If Randi ever said anything like that, he was obviously thinking of a different definition of "aura"; no doubt one that included the notion of the aura carrying some sort of meaningful and verifiable information that the perceiver could not acquire by normal means. Randi would be the last person in the world to suggest that people are incapable of seeing things that aren't there. KarlBunker 11:09, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

In what way do the auras (illusions?) that synthetes see differ from the colour-perceptions (non-illusions?) of non-synthetes such that you can label one as "generated in the brain and not connected to physical reality" while claiming the other to be an actual perception of a something physical out there. I would be most interested to hear the theory of colour you posses that as yet has eluded the rest of the philosophical/scientific establishement. The point being that if everybody in the world were a synthete then the colour of a sound would be considered out there as much as the sound of a sound is thought to be at the moment. And a since a synthete's perceptions are constant and repeatable a synthete would sail past Randi's challenge and demonstrate an ability (seeing auras) that Randi (and others) claimed was supernatural mumbo-jumbo and that the people who claimed to see auras were to a man (or woman) liars. Not that this point matters much for the supernatural aspect of the debate since the Psi dept at Edinburgh University have produced a steady stream of data proving the existence of telepathy. Their results have been publiched in peer-review journals for years now. That Randi wishes to ignore it (rather than just hand over the milion to Edinbirgh Uni) is neither here nor there.Davkal 14:17, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

This article is about The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. Synthesis has nothing to do with the paranormal, and you don't appear to be arguing that it does. Rather you appear to be contending that you've caught Randi saying something that is technically incorrect. Not only do you not back that contention up with actual quotes from Randi, but even if you're right, the point is utterly irrelevant to this article and this discussion page.
-- unless I'm missing your point. KarlBunker 15:02, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

The relevance of the point is that seeing auras (once totally regarded as psuedoscientific paranormal BS by Csicop, Randi et al) is now wideley known to be a genuine phenomenon, albeit in a different form from that portrayed in some of the pro and con literature. As a response to Bubba's request that someone produce one example of "claimed paranormal activity that has stood up to scruitiny by the mainstream scientific community" it seems perfectly appropriate. Another example of a phenomenon that Csicop has derided in the past is hypnosis which, I think, is now widely accepted by mainstream science as actually existing. The fact that once science understands something or accepts that it exists it is no longer considered paranormal is neither here nor there. And the fact the CSICOP has the word "paranormal" in their title when much of their criticism is directed towards things that could only be considered paranormal in a very weak sense does not mean that that is actually their area of interest. CSICOP berates many things that, even if true, would in no way be paranormal in the strong sense (cryptozoology, UFOs, Atlantis etc. etc.). So, I suppose the real point here is that if we are to properly sum up the work of CSICOP we must be clear about what they actually do rather than what they say they are doing. That is, in part, blocking/attacking/ridiculing anything that is currently not supported by mainstream science. And in this respect they have been shown to be wrong in their criticism/assumptions in numerous cases (seeing auras/hypnosis being just two examples). Davkal 17:32, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

As a response to Bubba's request that someone produce one example of "claimed paranormal activity that has stood up to scruitiny by the mainstream scientific community" it seems perfectly appropriate. Um, yeah, except that there's nothing in the least paranormal about the actual phenomenon. That would seem to be a slight flaw in its relevance.
I could try to explain to you that your peeve over CSICOP vis-a-vis hypnosis is equally spurious, but there's no need. You're just trying to voice your dislike of CSICOP, and you're entitled to that dislike. Now that I understand that expressing that dislike is your only point, I can retire from this discussion. KarlBunker 18:09, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Your entire point is based on mere equivocation over the word paranormal. My point is as follows: CSICOP have derided seeing auras/hypnosis as paranormal nonesense. Bubba's request (in a talk page on CSICOP) must allow for things that CSICOP have claimed to be paranormal nonsense to be considered as cases of "claimed paranormal activity. Seeing auras/hypnosis are now confirmed as real phenomena. Therefore, in these cases phenomenona described by CSICOP as paranormal and lambasted as such have been verified by mainstream science. And it's not merely a peeve about CSICOP. It's a factual claim about CSICOP's methods and historical targets that is highly relevant to, and soon to be included in, the article about CSICOP. And and, it would be greatly appreciated if you would retire from the discussion.Davkal 18:29, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

I see an aura after someone takes a flash photo of me. Is that paranormal? Bubba73 (talk), 16:25, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

This reiterates my initial point: exactly what and where is this "mainstream" scientific community ? If there is an objective definition of it, please define it - otherwise, I suggest it be considered a weasel phrase. Robma 16:52, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
I suppose you would feen the same about "legitimate science" or "bona fide science". What about "peer reviewed science that uses the scientific method", or something like that? Or is that too vague also? Bubba73 (talk), 23:17, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
That's closer to the kind of NPOV specificity I was thinking of. It would then only be fair to point out that a significant amount of evidence for ESP gathered during Ganzfeld experiments has indeed been published in refereed peer-reviewed journals (see eg that cited in ). That evidence has, in turn, has been rebutted, and the rebuttals rebutted in their turn - but that's science for ya. I'd argue it's more in keeping with the NPOV philosophy to simply state what the evidence is, and avoid making value-laden judgements of it for the reader.
Someone referred me to an article that they said might have what you're asking for, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Bubba73 (talk), 01:57, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

"CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview" external link

I just spent about half an hour at the CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview site, which is linked at the end of the csicop article. To whoever added that link: You owe me 30 minutes of my life, goddamnit!

If anyone knows what that dingbat author's point is, you should go over there and hit it with a shovel, tie it up with string, put it in a box and hand it to the author. I guarantee you the (dingbat) author will say "Huh! So that's what a point looks like, eh? I ain't never seen one o' them before!" KarlBunker 18:10, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I didn't spend as much time as yu did, but I think his point is that he doesn't like CSICOP. :-) Bubba73 (talk), 18:46, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

The inclusion/exclusion of a criticism

The wording went as follows, "One criticism is that, after the first five years of its existence, the organization has abandoned the activity of conducting actual scientific research on the paranormal (its actions more about influencing the media), and that this organization's activities will likely inhibit scientific research in this area.[1]" It was modified on the grounds that "not doing any scientific research" did not constitute a criticism. However, if the name of the organization has the phrase "Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" and this organization in fact does no actual scientific research into the paranormal (its actions more about influencing the media) it certainly seems like a criticism. To the very least this criticism/statement seems rather notable given the name of the organization, and perhaps should be included in some way. --Wade A. Tisthammer 22:47, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

I've modified its wording thusly, "One criticism is that, despite the name of the organization, it does not do any actual scientific research on the paranormal (having abandoning that after the first five years of its existence, its actions now more about influencing the media) and that this organization's activities will likely inhibit scientific research in this area.[2]" What do you think of this? --Wade A. Tisthammer 22:59, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not arguing that a criticism should be logically valid in order to be listed in the article, but it ought to at least make sense on some level. The criticism that CSICOP discourages research into the paranormal is logically dubious, but it makes sense on some level. The criticism that they some how "should" be doing research, because they used to, and because they have "Scientific Investigation" in their name is just wacky. It makes about as much sense as criticizing them for not selling ice cream.
Also, in the edit as you wrote it you use an "and" to connect two points that have nothing to do with each other, beyond being criticisms. KarlBunker 00:00, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Why is it "whacky"? One criticism appears to be that the organization is called "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" but despite its name it does no actual scientific research to investigate claims of the paranormal, instead being more about influencing the media. You're saying that the criticism is so "whacky" that it does not even constitute a criticism? That seems like a bit of a stretch, doesn't it? Consider this statement, "Even the name of the organization [Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal] is a deception. There is nothing scientific about this organization, it does no scientific research" evidently this individual seems to think it is a criticism because its name is misleading. Granted, I think this individual is a nutball with his crazy beliefs (I am quite skeptical of paranormal claims myself), but can you understand how some would view this as a criticism? See also this source which seems to view it as a criticism, "CSICOP is an organization of mostly non-scientists, but it abuses the names and reputations of many well-known scientists by listing them on its masthead. CSICOP does no research, routinely and unethically refuses scientists and others attacked in the pages of it journal Skeptical Inquirer the right of rebuttal..." Again, I tend to be skeptical of paranormal claims myself; but censoring this criticism does not seem like a good idea. --Wade A. Tisthammer 20:49, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Wade -- I apologize for not responding to your March 30 rebuttal of my comment sooner; I missed it in the "history" somehow. First, it's my contention that this "criticism" is absurd because it simply doesn't make sense. CSICOP has the word "Investigation" in its name, not the word "Research." They encourage and support and publish both research and investigations, even if they don't directly fund research. Furthermore, criticizing an organization because their name doesn't accurately reflect their activity (even if that were correct) is not a criticism of their activity; it's a criticism of their use of language, which is irrelevant. Lots of people criticize CSICOP, but when the criticism is on an intellectual level with "they're a bunch of poopy-heads," I don't think it's appropriate to repeat that criticism in this article. KarlBunker 20:53, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
A number of people seem to think it is a criticism (see the two examples above). To say that some view it as a criticism thus appears accurate even if you personally think this viewpoint to be “absurd.”
The criticism in question is that, despite the name, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal does no scientific research to investigate claims of the paranormal (its more about influencing the media). This criticism seems to attack the abandoning the sorts of activities of what the organization was supposed to be about. After all, investigating something scientifically involves things like conducting experiments and testing hypotheses against empirical data (confer the scientific method) more than writing letters to TV networks. If the organization conducts no scientific investigations, the criticism that the organization doesn't seem to live up to its name is at least understandable, so I don't think a criticism like this is on the intellectual level with "they're a bunch of poopy-heads." To give another example, "The contradictions start even with CSICOP's name. Any rational person would expect an organisation that calls itself a Committee for Scientific Investigation to actually involve itself in carrying out scientific investigations, but CSICOP conducts no such investigations" from here. Again, you may personally think this criticism is "absurd," but there are others who criticize the organization that believe it is legitimate. It seems like a fairly notable criticism, and I see no reason why we should censor it. --Wade A. Tisthammer 18:54, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I maintain that the criticism is irrational, as it relies on insisting: A) That the activity of CSICOP conform to the name of the organization, and B) That one accept the criticizer's definition of "Scientific Investigation" which is not in keeping with any dictionary definition. Yes, it is a criticism in the sense that some person said it, intending it to be a criticism. But not every irrational thing that someone says is worthy of repeating in WP. If someone criticized the newspaper The Boston Globe on the grounds that it isn't a "globe," it's a newspaper, it would be pretty silly to repeat that criticism in the Boston Globe article. This criticism is nothing more than someone stringing together rational-sounding words in hopes of fooling a few people into thinking he's saying something rational. See Sophism#Modern usage. KarlBunker 19:36, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Criticizing The Boston Globe on grounds that it isn't a "globe" seems like a false analogy compared to an organization called "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" that does not do any scientific investigations of paranormal claims. Your viewpoint is understandable, but I am not including the criticism because it is my own (which is prohibited under WP:NOR) but because I found it from an apparently prominent adherent in a published source (among other places), and it seems like a notable criticism that the organization doesn't live up to its name--whether you personally believe the criticism to be "irrational" is not relevant (Wikipedia includes viewpoints I too consider to be irrational). It seems we're at a standoff here, so I'll post an RfC. --Wade A. Tisthammer 20:45, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Addendum You remarked on the, "definition of 'Scientific Investigation' which is not in keeping with any dictionary definition" but why do you think this? See here for instance, and also here (both university sources). Aren't things like experimentation and research an essential part of scientific method? --Wade A. Tisthammer 21:08, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Scientific method is one form of scientific investigation, but scientific method is not synonymous with scientific investigation. Investigation is defined as "formal or systematic examination." If one characterizes the activities of CSICOP as nothing more than trying to influence popular media, then one can conclude that their name is misleading. But that characterization is inaccurate and dishonest. If someone prominent and notable (like a Senator) made this criticism, then I would consider it worth quoting even though it's nonsense. But non-notable nonsense is just nonsense. KarlBunker 10:39, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
But if scientific investigation is not scientific method and requires neither experimentation nor research (contrary to what the university links seem to imply), what is scientific investigation? (Note: the last link made no mention of "scientific method"--though it does have the phrase "scientific investigation" and explicitly includes experimentation/research in the concept.) And what about the existence of several pro-paranormal organizations making the same criticism? Doesn't that suggest the criticism is a significant minority view? Why do you consider this criticism to be "non-notable" especially when it's the only criticism that has a cited (and apparently prominent) source? Without explanation it almost seems like you're applying double standards. --Wade A. Tisthammer 19:28, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Since you seem like a reasonably intelligent person, I have to assume that you are pretending not to understand my point, rather than that you are having genuine difficulty. And since you understand my point and have not logically refuted it, I think we can consider this part of the discussion closed. KarlBunker 23:03, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
You've left a number of things unexplained, e.g. why you are relying on your own personal definition of "scientific investigation" rather than the university sources I provided, what exactly you believe "scientific investigation" to be (your definition was a bit vague), etc. but I can understand some of what you're saying. You do not believe it to be a legitimate criticism (believing its absurd and irrational) and thus should not be entered into the Wikipedia entry. But given that (right or wrong) a number of pro-paranormal organizations seem to make the criticism, and given the nature of the criticism itself (it calls itself "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" but ironically does no such scientific investigation) it seems notable and held by a significant minority, on exactly what grounds to you wish to exclude it? Bear in mind I myself have seen irrational and absurd criticisms make it into the Wikipedia entry--but I allowed them to remain because they were held by a significant minority. Is there a specific Wikipedia policy you have in mind here or is your only basis that you find the criticism to be "absurd"? And what makes this criticism more worthy of removal than the other unsourced criticisms? --Wade A. Tisthammer 14:38, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
You have not properly attributed that criticism. I presume that that criticism is contained in the reference you added. Then you need to attribute that view to the organisation that voiced it. "The American Society for ... claimed that ...."[1], or "according to...", etc. Secondly, I would take a look at the grammar in that sentence: "having abandoning that after the first five years of its existence, its actions now more about influencing the media". --BillC 00:09, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
You said, "You have not properly attributed that criticism" but none of the criticisms in the section are "properly attributed," hence I didn't think such an attribution was necessary. May I ask why do you think one is needed here? The citation is only one example BTW (see here for instance) so "some" seemed appropriate. --Wade A. Tisthammer 20:49, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Given that it has now been reworded since my criticism, I will drop my objection. --BillC 21:11, 30 March 2006 (UTC)


The dispute is whether to include the following criticism in the "criticisms and responses" section of the Wikipedia entry:

One criticism is that, despite the name of the organization [the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal], it does no scientific research to investigate claims of the paranormal (its activities centered more on influencing the media).

A citation for this criticism has also been provided (see also the sources provided in the above section). --Wade A. Tisthammer 20:52, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Oh the irony. FeloniousMonk 21:54, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
What irony? Clue me in; I could use some humor to lighten up this quagmire of endless repetition and non-communication over a niggling point that isn't worth the thousandth part of the electrons that have already been wasted on it. KarlBunker 23:08, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Probably --BillC 23:52, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Exactly. At Talk:Irreducible complexity, Talk:Irreducible complexity/Wade Tisthammers RFCs and Talk:Intelligent design the pattern has been for Wade to reject all citations provided and to chide others for accepting them. Here the shoe is on the other foot -- the ironic one. FeloniousMonk 04:54, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Take a look at here for an example. Occasionally, the citations given are somewhat bogus when actually looked up. In this case the concept of irreducible complexity is attributed to a man named Ludwig von Bertalanffy, but when the von Bertalanffy citation is looked up neither the term nor the concept of irreducible complexity can be found. --Wade A. Tisthammer 19:17, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Better yet, take a look here for an even better example. KarlBunker 19:39, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
It's very simple (1) a cite was provided (2) I rejected the cite because upon examination it seemed somewhat bogus (Ludwig von Bertalanffy didn't describe the concept of irreducible complexity at all in the source; hence that citation didn't support the claim that von Bertalanffy came up with the concept). Click here and read the text under the "What's going on? " title to see a brief description of, well, what’s going on. --Wade A. Tisthammer 20:11, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
Wade, you're insufferable no matter where you go. Have fun on this page. •Jim62sch• 21:47, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
Based on Wades well made points (though I didn't follow any links to investigate) and the opposition's changes of subject and their "arguments" such as "Oh the irony" and "Wade, you're insufferable no matter where you go. Have fun on this page" I have to say I side with Wade, at least on this thread's off-topic issues.
FeloniousMonk: thanks for at least providing a link to something that allegedly shows Wade rejecting all citations, but Wade, in this thread, was specific and clear in his response to you about why he rejected a citation, and there were no meaningful responses to him.
But, getting back to the top post of this thread, which is an entirely different matter...oh...I misinterpreted the name "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal." At first it sounded like it's dedicated to proving paranormal stuff. Ok, here's were I'm against Wade. He said the organization "does no scientific research to investigate claims of the paranormal" and says there's a reference, but he doesn't quote it. I find it hard to believe that the organization does no scientific research. Scientific research doesn't always require instruments, chemicals, or even peer review. What's the claim here, that the CISCOP just reads about ghosts and then says it was probably some guy in a sheet? I think they do more than that.
Getting back to changing the subject, I read about irreducible complexity and it's BS. Even in the recent court case about teaching evolution, when the creationist was presented with evidence of how something could have evolved and wasn't irreducibly complex, the creationist just said that it was unlikely. Unlikely compared to a creator and his magic? Occam's razor: when multiple competing theories have equal predictive powers, choose the one that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest hypothetical entities. Oh, ok, the creator is only one hypothetically entity, so I guess he's the best explanation for everything that there's less than complete information about. -Barry- 00:36, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I tracked down some of the references that Wade referred to, and I added the criticism to the article. If anyone thinks that it's not a valid criticism because the name of the organization doesn't need to strictly represent its current activities, then that's your opinion, and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that others share that opinion, and you can add that point to the article.
I'm not exactly sure whether the new criticism has two references (1 and 2) or one. If two, then please add reference number 1 next to the reference I added. That would mean footnote 1 is cited twice, and there would be two reference numbers next to the new criticism. You'd need to use the name attribute in both ref tags for ref 1, as described here. I had done that (see edit history), but then I wasn't sure so I removed the first reference. -Barry- 05:47, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I may be willing to accept some version of this criticism in the article, but not as it was entered. First, if you're going to say that CSICOP has "touted decades of research" you need to either reference the organization actually saying something like that, or you need to include the claim that they said such a thing in the criticism-quote. Second, I still question whether this is a valid "criticism," or is it on a level with "criticizing" CSICOP for not selling ice cream? Some people apparently think that an organization that has "scientific investigation" in its name ought to directly carry out scientific research in its own laboratories, rather than just encouraging and publishing the research of others. Is that more valid than thinking it ought to sell ice cream, because, well, I happen to like ice cream? If it isn't a more rational and defensible criticism than that, I don't see how this article is improved by including it. KarlBunker 10:15, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I guess "touted" is too strong a word. The previous paragraph said "CSICOP has pointed out that dedicated paranormal research has been ongoing for many decades." Maybe just say "pointed out" again.
It's a semi-valid, matter of opinion criticism that's documented as having been expressed by at least one distinguished enough source. No matter the name of the organization, the less scientific they are, the more strongly they're deserving of criticism, considering what their purpose is.
I like that the section is called "Criticisms and responses." Lets take advantage of the "responses" part and explain what you're saying and not leave this criticism out. I'm not usually very freedomy with stuff, but censoring this particular opinion because you see it the other way doesn't seem right. -Barry- 10:35, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
And I do think the name could be misleading if they don't actually do scientific research, and your ice cream example is a little far out. -Barry- 10:37, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
"Pointed out" what? Have they (incorrectly) pointed out that they have been doing research for decades? As for criticisms and responses, I doubt that any quotable source has responded to this criticism, because it's too silly to warrant a response. I would be willing to go along with including this comment if it's called a "complaint" rather than a "criticism," as in "Some critics of CSICOP have complained that the name of the organization is misleading beccause..." KarlBunker 10:53, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I reread it and now it sounds like CSICOP wasn't referring to themselves when they mentioned decades of research, so we won't claim they were. But the first sentence in the Criticisms and responses sections says they've investigated "paranormal phenomena, pseudoscience, and fringe groups." No need to mention that anyway, because I don't know of a clear quote from the CSICOP that says they currently do scientific research. That's not necessarily because they think the criticism is "too silly" to respond to. It could just be, for example, because they want people to think they do scientific research. I figure what they spend their money on must be documented somewhere, but I'm not interested enough to look for it.
The complaint, or whatever you want to call it, that the name implies something that they don't do, is a complaint raised on this talk page. I don't know whether it's mentioned in any of the references. The references just point out that the CSICOP doesn't do scientific research, which I think is close enough to criticism whether the point is that "in case, for some reason, you thought they did, they don't..." or whether it's about their name.
Your wording sounds good ("Some critics of CSICOP have complained that the name of the organization is misleading beccause...") We could go with that, and you could even mention that in the name "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal," "for" could be interpreted as "in favor of" or "for the promotion of" rather than "directly engaged in." -Barry- 22:10, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
For the record, I see that CSICOP makes it clear, on the top of their homepage, that "CSICOP encourages the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminates factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community and the public" so they probably aren't being misleading even if their name could mislead some people. The criticism should still be mentioned though. You could even say "some people have raised the point..." -Barry- 22:28, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Turn Carl Sagan into a link?

Could somebody more proficient than I turn the reference to Carl Sagan into a link to his entry on Wikipedia?

His name appears numerous times in the article, and several of them are already Wikilinked. It would not be appropriate to Wikilink all of them. Is there a particular one that should be Wikilinked? You can look at the code of one of those that is linked and then use that method. -- Fyslee 19:04, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
I see your point. Another point of Wiki protocol I'll add to the mental hopper. --Matthew Treder 18:25, 25 April 2006 (UTC)


I think this article reads like an advertisement for CSICOP. The only section dealing with criticism is fairly nebulous and has almost as much (probably more) text defending CSICOP than detailing the actual criticism. The following section is from the article on one of CSICOPS founders:

Truzzi was skeptical of investigators and debunkers who determined the validity of a claim prior to investigation. He accused CSICOP of increasingly unscientific behavior, for which he coined the term pseudoskepticism. Truzzi stated,

They tend to block honest inquiry, in my opinion. Most of them are not agnostic toward claims of the paranormal; they are out to knock them. [...] When an experiment of the paranormal meets their requirements, then they move the goal posts. Then, if the experiment is reputable, they say it's a mere anomaly.

Truzzi held that CSICOP researchers sometimes also put unreasonable limits on the standards for proof regarding the study of anomalies and the paranormal.

I think the inclusion of something like this would give more balance to the article.Davkal 12:02, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I have reinserted, with slight amendment, the following into the initial section:

Despite its name, CSICOP has almost never engaged in, nor promoted, independent scientific research into alleged paranormal phenomena. Indeed, virtually from its inception, CSICOP has been accused of trying to block serious investigation through, for example, active lobbying to prevent funding for organisations/individuals engaged in such research. As a result, many critics believe CSICOP to be a pseudoskeptical organisation one of whose primary aims is to discourage research and/or interest in what CSICOP deems to be paranormal or pseudoscientific topics.

My reasons for inclusion are: a) it is true; b) it is important; c) it is relevant; and d) without something like this the article is POV/unbalanced/not impartial. I think the points made are common enough knowledge to anyone interested in the subject to stand alone (i.e. they are made almost everywhere CSICOP's name is mentioned), but if anyone wishes I will put references and notes from numerous sources to back up each point.

For example, here is the start of an article about CSICOP from the Alternative Science website:

The Paradigm Police

In an imperfect world, we all suffer from a gap between how we see ourselves and how others see us: between what we'd like to be and what we are. But in 30 years of journalism I haven't found a more striking gulf between self-image and performance than CSICOP -- the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

Everything about CSICOP purports to be scientific -- objective, fair, independent, investigative, rational. In reality, CSICOP is the home of the Paradigm Police, a kind of Pseudoscience-Central that deals in fundamentalist prejudice, opinion and bias, informed by a single, central hidden agenda -- to debunk at any cost any phenomenon, evidence or theory that touches on the list of taboo subjects that CSICOP has drawn up as forbidden.

The contradictions start even with CSICOP's name. Any rational person would expect an organisation that calls itself a Committee for Scientific Investigation to actually involve itself in carrying out scientific investigations, but CSICOP conducts no such investigations, it merely makes ex cathedra pronouncements telling the public what it should and shouldn’t believe, without troubling itself about conducting experiments.

When it was first formed in 1976, CSICOP did attempt a foray into scientific investigation, which turned into a farcical scandal. It decided to target the statistical work of French mathematician Michel Gauquelin whose work appeared to suggest there might be something in astrology after all. Within a short time however, CSICOP officer Dennis Rawlins, who was acting as the study's statistician and was the only astronomer on CSICOP's council, announced he was quitting and accused CSICOP of blatantly fiddling the figures to prove Gauquelin wrong.

Or this, the start of an article by Dennis rawlins (one of CSICOP's founders):

I used to believe it was simply a figment of the National Enquirer's weekly imagination that the Science Establishment would cover up evidence for the occult. But that was in the era B.C. -- Before the Committee. I refer to the "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" (CSICOP), of which I am a cofounder and on whose ruling Executive Council (generally called the Council) I served for some years. I am still skeptical of the occult beliefs CSICOP was created to debunk. But I have changed my mind about the integrity of some of those who make a career of opposing occultism. I now believe that if a flying saucer landed in the backyard of a leading anti-UFO spokesman, he might hide the incident from the public (for the public's own good, of course). He might swiftly convince himself that the landing was a hoax, a delusion or an "unfortunate" interpretation of mundane phenomena that could be explained away with "further research". The irony of all this particularly distresses me since both in print and before a national television audience I have stated that the conspiratorial mentality of believers in occultism presents a real political danger in a voting democracy. Now I find that the very group I helped found has partially Justified this mentality.

I could find about one hundred more the same and so would be grateful if the section I have included to reflect this viewpoint is not simply removed again without some reason given. Thanks Davkal 06:06, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm not happy with your paragraph. It is a heavily slanted rebuke to CSICOP, using weasel words such as "many critics" to hide POV statements. The second sentence in particular is POV. I'm not saying this criticism is inappropriate for mention, but it should be set in context and attributed to the people making the criticism. Try redrafting it. Meanwhile, articles should avoid extensive three paragraph quotes from a single author as that tends to endorse that author's POV. David | Talk 09:26, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

The article doesn't have a 3 para quote from a single author. The only quote I put in was the one from Rawlins which is one paragraph and about the same length as the quote from Sagan directly above it. In addition, the whole article if full of dubious claims that have no sources listed (see below) whereas the points I made are mostly cited. I have already said I will get quotes for the initial claims if need be (I will now) but I still don't think they are particularly necessary since such criticism is simply common knowledge. I also think we need to be clear about the subject of this article; CSICOP. That is, the point of this article is not whether UFOs are real, or whether astrology works, but is rather about an organisation which operates in certain ways in the real world. As such some facts about CSICOP are fairly clear. A number of previous members/scientists (Truzzi, Rawlins, Kammann) have been very critical of the motives and methods of this organisation. A huge number of other critics (from the paranormal side of the fence) have been even more scathing. I therefore think it extraordinarily POV for the article to read like an advert for CSICOP listing all the laudible work they supposedly do in informing, and investigating etc. etc. and to say virtually nothing about what they really are: a lobby group that exerts pressure on the media and academic institutions in order to discourage an interest in anything deemed by CSICOP to be paranormal. And given that this exact claim is made by, amongst others, several previous members who can hardly be described as the lunatic fringe it is inappropriate to treat those views in the same way that flat-earthers views are treated in an article about the world. That is, this is not an article about the paranormal, it is an article about an organisation.

These two paragraphs from the prsent article are, I think, just the authors thoughts and speculations:

An axiom common to CSICOP members is that "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence." This is analogous to the standard required by U.S. criminal courts, in which the claimant must prove their claim beyond a reasonable doubt. Since paranormal claims are potentially revolutionary scientific discoveries that fly in the face of an established body of scientific knowledge, nothing less than the strictest standards of scientific scrutiny should be accepted as convincing. This might involve, for example, well-designed, double-blind, strictly controlled scientific experiments published in reputable peer-reviewed journals, followed by successful independent replication by other scientists.

Paranormal proponents often advocate a less stringent standard of evidence. Arguing for a preponderance of evidence standard analogous to that required by U.S. civil courts, paranormal proponents may offer as proof of paranormal phenomena such evidence as eyewitness testimonies, historical quotations, informal experiments, and inference. These lines of evidence are typically published in popular sources, and not subject to formal criticism or peer-review. Davkal 09:52, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

I think the article by Dennis Rawlins is excellent material, and something from it should be included in the article. The rest of Davkal's edits are blatant POV, inaccurate ("CSICOP has almost never engaged in, nor promoted, independent scientific research"), and repetitious. Obviously there are many fringe-belief websites in the world, and obviously most of them are going to be critical of CSICOP. The more cogent of their criticisms are already covered in the article. Repeating those arguments and adding in emotional diatribes and unsupported accusations doesn't improve the article. The Rawlins article is more interesting and credible, coming from an ex-member who presents himself as genuinely interested in honesty, rather than sounding like someone who doesn't want to hear that there's no Tooth Fairy. KarlBunker 11:27, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the new paragraph is POV and is counter to the facts. Bubba73 (talk), 18:28, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

CSICOP has almost never engaged in nor promoted serious scientific research into claims of the paranormal. This, I think, is pretty much accepted fact. After a few attempts to do this to begin with CSICOP stopped scientifically investigating anything and simply pronounced on it in the manner described in my edits. If I am wrong then I would be grateful if you could cite, say, 5 pieces of scientific research on paranormal claims conducted, or sponsored, by CSICOP that have been published in peer-review journals in the last 20 years. These citations are probably needed anyway since the article as it stands mentions the many studies undertaken by CSICOP but doesn't provide detals or links about any of them. And please note that an article written by James Randi scoffing at this or that topic and published in SI does not count as serious scientific research. I would also like to point out that if I were to simply remove all the POV stuff in the article without discussion there would be no article left. Just because you support CSICOPS methods does not mean you have to mimic them.

Here, for another example, is what well known tooth-fairy believer Marcello Truzzi has to say:

The major interest of the Committee was not inquiry but to serve as an advocacy body, a public relations group for scientific orthodoxy. The Committee has made many mistakes. My main objection to the Committee, and the reason I chose to leave it, was that it was taking the public position that it represented the scientific community, serving as gatekeepers on maverick claims, whereas I felt they were simply unqualified to act as judge and jury when they were simply lawyers.

And here is what another ex-member Richard Kammann had to say regarding the Mars Effect debacle:

Faced with unfaultable evidence of a connection between the position of planet Mars at birth and success in sports, skeptical Professors Paul Kurtz, George Abell and Marvin Zelen repeatedly offered fallacious statistics to deny astrology's only ray of hope. Focusing only on a small section of the Mars data, deleting the favorable results for females, dividing the sub-sample into tiny bits and applying the wrong statistical tests, the trio still could not get rid of the Mars effect. They ultimately argued that it was based on faulty data, due either to incompetence or cheating by Michel Gauquelin of France, who produced the original finding.

How much more criticism from scientifically reputable sources do I need to produce before you will accept that CSICOP is not the laudible, fair-minded and impartial organisation presented in the article prior to my edits. Davkal 12:03, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

You really don't help your case much, or help to present yourself as a rational and credible editor, when you use a sockpuppet to make your 5th revert in one day. KarlBunker 18:20, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

I haven't used a sock-puppet to revert anything (I didn't even know what it was until I followed the link from your last non-response). All the reverts I have ever made have been made under my own name. Even if I had though, which I have not, the point (the important thing) is that what I have added to this article is true and relevant and important. That is, CSICOP is regarded by many (including former members/cofounders) as an organisation fundamentally lacking in the type of integrity it demands of others. The fact that even in one instance it deliberately falsified data to further its own viewpoint/agenda is exactly the kind of thing CSICOP would use to villify a (pseudeo)scientist and claim that he could never be trusted again. The fact that no reference was made to this extraordinary "lapse" suggests to me that the article, prior to my edits, was POV in the extreme. It is simply not good enough, in the face of such facts, to portray CSICOP in the way this article originally portrayed them. This is the reason I have added the comments I have - almost all taken from highly reputable papers by highly reputable individuals. If you wish to revert any of my edits in future I would be grateful if you could follow my lead and give detailed arguments for their removal rather than, as is currently the case, the bald statement that this or that is POV, or no statement at all. 00:59, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Above I have listed two paragraphs from the current article, the first of which begins "An axiom common to CSICOP members...". I said above that these paragraphs appear to simply be the speculations of the author(s). They are also misleading and wrong. For example, CSICOP's level of proof is said to be analogous to the standard of proof required by US criminal courts. This is then contrasted with proponents of the paranormal (all of them?) who wish to use things like eye-witness testimony. As critics have long pointed out, in a court of law eye-witness testimony is good enough to send someone to the chair (an extraordinary thing to do) but is considered by CSICOP in all cases as mere worthless anecdote. It can be seen therefore that the standards CSICOP applies go beyond this analogy. Given this, the paragraphs are not merely speculation but are incorrect speculation. They need to be seriously amended on both counts m'lud.

In addition, the paragraph in the criticism section which begins, "On the question of dogmatism or a priori convictions...", is also misleading. There are a number of phenomena that CSICOP has been heavily crtical of in the past which are now widely accepted by mainstream science - a good example of this is hypnosis. I think the point here, the point a lot of critics are making, is that CSICOP is dogmatic with respect to a vast amount of different phenomena yet when that dogmatism is challenged CSICOP retreats to a position very much smaller in scope than the position it can actually be seen to hold from its activities. It should also be noted that a significant amount of literature has now been published in peer review journals on such topics as NDEs, ESP, Cold Fusion, Telepathy etc., that has certainly not been refuted and admits of no easy explanation. In these cases it is disbelieving attitude of CSICOP instead of an agnostic position which has been criticised. There are two points, then, that I think must be included: firstly, it should be made clear that CSICOP by no means confines itself to subjects that are in any way paranormal in the strong sense; and secondly, that a significant amount of phenomena that CSICOP has been critical of in the past has now either been accepted by science or represent cases where the jury is still very firmly out. I also feel a section should deal with CSICOP's relationship with the media - and some of the strong-arm tactics it has employed to try to bring pressure to bear on media companies/sponsors who CSICOP deem to be supporting the supernatural. As I understand things, one of CSICOP's big issues is with fictional TV programmes such as the X Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Richard Dawkins (a CSICOP "fellow"), for example, has repeatedly called for such programmes to carry a disclaimer to the effect that even though the programmes are fictional they subject matter they portray has no scientific basis. This "puritanical" attitude is found by many to be puzzling/amusing at best, but it has also caused concern to some re notions of artistic freedom and freedom of speech and has earned CSICOP a reputaion as the Thought-Police. As noted, I think something needs to be included in the article re CSICOP's role/position here. Davkal 07:52, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Virtually the whole section on activities is POV and needs to be removed or extensively rewritten. Firstly, there is the implicit (fairly explicit) claim that CSICOP has undertaken scientific investigations (in the manner described by Sagan) into numerous phenomena. In what sense, if any, is this true? The may have set out to debunk such phenomena but where are the scientific studies, the scientific papers, the peer reviews etc. You will also see that the criticism from Truzzi and Rawlins is aimed specifically at this type of claim when made by CSICOP, yet here it is not even labled a CSICOP claim but merely stated as a fact. Immediately following this section we have the authors' flights of fancy concerning the difference between the skeptic and the believer cashed out in terms of analogies between evidence in a court of law and double-blind trials etc. What is all this stuff? Where are the details concerning CSICOP's relationshup with the media - this is actually one of it's best known activities. I am thinking of writing an article on the Nazi Party; it will go something like this: "the trains ran on time." Davkal 11:09, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

KarlBunker, before removing my edit a further time on the basis of your claim that it is POV, can you provide one reason why the statement of a viewpoint from a founder member (and at least two other members) about the organisation that the article is about, portrayed as a statement by that person and others and not presented as fact, and which details something of central importance to the aims of the organisation as presented in the article, is somehow inappropriate? Davkal 11:44, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

And here is what Professor Brian Josephson had to say about the recent unscientific "debunking" of a teenage Russian psychic, "On the face of it, it looks as if there was some kind of plot to discredit the teenage claimed psychic by setting up the conditions to make it likely that they could pass her off as a failure." The article by Josephson is another scathing attack by a reputable academic on the work of CSICOP. Any more for any more?Davkal 12:40, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

A few points:
  • A lot of people have said a lot of things critical of CSICOP. That doesn't mean that each of them deserves a paragraph in this article. When the criticisms are repetitive, or are statements of opinion, or are based on factual errors, they should be summarized or left out altogether.
  • Neither is it relevant or helpful for you to give each of these critics a paragraph of space here on the discussion page. Your comments are so long and full of such irrelevant fluff that it's painful to read them, and that makes it difficult to debate with you.
  • Saying that some part of the article, or some statement by CSICOP is incorrect does not make it incorrect. You need to provide sources. Again, your comments are too long, because you use them to repetitively harangue us with your opinions.
  • This is not an article about the validity of fringe beliefs. Your endless references to "xxx was once said (or is said) by CSICOP to be fake, but now we all know it's real!" in addition to being incorrect, are irrelevant. If CSICOP is insisting on good science with regard to fringe beliefs, they are fulfilling their mandate. Which "side" turns out to be "right" doesn't matter.
KarlBunker 13:58, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Nobody has suggested each critic should have a paragraph devoted to their criticism. What I have added to the article (what you have constantly removed) is a summary of those criticisms. (I note that this has now been moved to the criticism section but feel that something needs to be said in the intro because the intial section now deals only with what CSICOP claim to do and not what they actually do..) The claims I have made re what CSICOP previously said about hypnosis is true - I read it in the SI when I used to subscribe to it. I have never argued that the article is about the validity of ringe-belifs (indeed I have made that very point on aa number of occasions) but given the subject matter of the article CSICOP's approach in dealing with fringe-beliefs is of the utmost relevance - as is CSICOP's scope of interest. My point, and the point made by all the academic/scientific sources I have produced quotes from, is that CSICOP DO NOT INSIST ON GOOD SCIENCE; quite the contrary, CSICOP have been shown to be guilty in numerous cases of exactly the kind of pseudoscience practised by those they attack - in many cases this has been deliberately done by people who do know better in order to deliberately discredit some claim not to CSICOP's liking. Davkal 15:02, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

I also note that the article now has one section which says that CSICOP has conducted many scientific studies of claims of the paranormal and another section which says CSICOP rarely conduct scientific investigations into the paranormal. This is a contradiction, and since nobody seems to have disputed Wade's suggestion (see above) that CSICOP do not engage in such investigations (Karl Bunker apparantly concedes this point above but thinks the criticism irrelevant because CSICOP do not need to conduct such investigations) I think they claim that they do conduct such investigations should be removed. Or, if they contradiction is avoided by claiming CSICOP's investigations are not scientific then that point must be made clearly - perhaps citing some of the sources I have provided where that very point is made.Davkal 15:12, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

How could this possibly be true: "Despite its name, CSICOP itself has rarely conducted any scientific investigations into claims of the paranormal" considering the approximately thirty years of investigations into claims of the paranormal published in Skeptical Inquirer? This statement is obviously counter to the facts, and to state such a thing is making a POV statement. You can make some nit-picky arguement that people conduct investigations, not the orginization. Bubba73 (talk), 15:35, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Scientific investigations conducted by scientists in the fashion described by Sagan and published in peer review scientific journals are a very different thing from pseudoscientific attempts at debunking published in the organisation's own general interest magazine. I fail to see the difficulty you have in understanding this.Davkal 15:43, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

So what this actually is is a claim that csicop's investigations aren't scientific, not that they don't carry out investigations. If that is the case then the wording is wrong. Jefffire 15:48, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Davkal, that's just your opinion. Sagan liked SCICOP, was a CSICOP fellow, and published some articles in Skeptical Inquirer. Bubba73 (talk), 15:53, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

The wording of my claim was as follows: Despite its name, CSICOP itself has rarely conducted any scientific investigations into claims of the paranormal... Davkal 15:52, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Whereas how it should be worded to avoid being misleading, is "Critics say that CSICOP's investigations are not scientific". Jefffire 15:54, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Jefffire, I would be perfectly happy to word the claim as you suggest and provide sources etc. but it will be removed in any event.Davkal 17:23, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Bubba, here is what CSICOP themselves say about the aims of the organisation. Nisbet in an article to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of CSICOP ( Skeptical Inquirer, Nov/Dec 2001). CSICOP originated "to fight mass-media exploitation of supposedly 'occult' and 'paranormal' phenomena. The strategy was two-fold: First, to strengthen the hand of skeptics in the media by providing information that 'debunked' paranormal wonders. Second, to serve as a 'media-watchdog' group which would direct public and media attention to egregious media exploitation of the supposed paranormal wonders.

And, from the same article that this quote came from, "In 1981, CSICOP adopted a formal policy of not conducting research." That is, a formal policy was adopted only 5 years after the organistions creation.Davkal 15:58, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Individuals conduct the research, not the committee. Does the American Physical Society conduct research? Does the American Chemical Society conduct reserach? Not - it is done by individuals. Bubba73 (talk), 17:08, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

What's the formal no research policy about then? Merely the tautology that the organisation will not conduct research because there is no possible way that it could? And what's this section of the article, "CSICOP has conducted investigations into many paranormal claims..." all about then? Enigma! Davkal 17:18, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Maybe that should be reworded. But see: this, go down to October 22-24, 1981. Bubba73 (talk), 17:41, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

They do not directly fund research, nor do members carry out research or seek funding for research in their capacity as CSICOP members. CSICOP does publish articles with research results, and in this and other ways they encourage research. They also publish articles in which the data, results and methodology of existing research is studied. They also publish examinations of popular-press reports of paranormal phenomenon. All of this activity, and others they carry out, fits perfectly well with the words "for the Scientific Investigation of...", so there's no justification for putting "Despite their name" in the article. KarlBunker 17:45, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
"Despite their name", they probably are really do more on "pseudoscience" than the "paranormal", per se. :-) But I don't care to mention that in the article. Bubba73 (talk), 22:01, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I'll take out "despite their name" and just have "Csicop itself conducts no scientific investigation..." Perhaps you would be good enough to remove the contrary claim that now appears in the activities section re all the research/investigations they have (not) carried out.Davkal 17:57, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

The current wording is that they have "conducted investigations..." Since "investigation" isn't synonymous with "research", that seems accurate. And for the same reason, "Csicop itself conducts no scientific investigation" would not be accurate. KarlBunker 18:35, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Davkal, can you give me the page numbers of the Nisbet article in SI you mentioned, so I can order a copy through inter-library loan. Thank you. Bubba73 (talk), 18:40, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Bubba, you can get the article online here Now, it may be just my quick reading, but I can find almost nothing in this 25th anniversity keynote article from C's exec director dealing with the scores of scientific investigations undertaken by, on behalf of, or even supported by C. Nothing about how new standards of scientific rigour have permeated paranormal research in the wake of C's crusading efforts. Instead what I see is a celebration of the way CSICOP has succesfully managed to become the foremost media watchdog and best known vigilante debunker in the business. I really think the article needs to be changed fundamentally to take account of the conflict bewteen the mission statement/charter and what CSICOP actually takes itself to be about. The fact the realtionship between CSICOP and media is not even mentioned in the article when according to the exec director C's main purpose from inception has been in relation to media seems to me an astonishing state of affairs. Davkal 21:15, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

I've added the passage from the Nisbet article. I agree with you that the WP article needed more attention paid to this-media watchdog role. In general Davkal, I have to say that while I've disagreed with many of the changes you've sought, the article is better now thanks to your input. I also have to admit that you've been a much more reasonable person to debate with than I initially feared. I apologize for some of the disparaging thoughts I've had about you. :-) KarlBunker 10:38, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Further Improvements

KB, thanks. I've started a new section because I still think the article treats CSICOP more favourably than a genuinely NPOV article should and the last section has run its course. The concern I have, which many who are miles away from the tabloid astrology brigade share, is that CSICOP is primarily a pressure group whose activities will result in a significant number of babies being thrown out with the bathwater. CSICOP's tactics, for example, when it comes to academics attempting to explore anything slighty beyond the borders of orthodox science is often extremely hostile to the extent that in some cases people have had to abandon their work to preserve their jobs, or, if their work has been completed and published than nobody has dared to even attempt to replicate the work for fear of a similar attack. In such cases CSICOP's claim that nobody has succesfully repeated these experiments rings a little hollow. Anyway, I think that something about C's media role needs to be added into the intial section. I think the section on activities still needs significant work in line with my points above (the two speculative paragraphs about evidence and a more accurate representation of the true nature of a CSICOP investigation - i.e. not at all conducted in the manner described by sagan). And I think the section on criticism could simply be CSICOP's critics which, if written sensibly would have no need of sagan's response nor the CSICOP mantra about 100 years of pseudoscience producing no results etc.Davkal 13:16, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

The section on Criticisms and responses is already mostly criticisms. If it were all criticisms it would look like a hatchet-job. If you try to represent "the true nature of a CSICOP investigation," you're just going to get into an argument about what is "typical" or "standard" CSICOP practice, and what is the occasional misstep of an individual. Or alternatively, an argument about what sorts of methods are proper--was Project Alpha an outrageous fraud perpetrated with the sole intention of humiliating a new laboratory devoted to psychical research, or was it a perfectly valid method of demonstrating the sloppy methodology that was rampant at this laboratory?
It sounds to me like you give CSICOP, and skepticism in general, way too much credit for the pressure on scientists to stick to orthodox research. There are many reasons for this, including the human nature of scientists, the institutional practice of modern science, and the philosophical nature of the "scientific method" as it has evolved.
A neutral attitude dictates that the article not go out of its way to contradict CSICOP's own proclamations as to their goals and ideals unless it can be shown that it's a consensus view among experts in the field that these proclamations are false or misleading. Such a consensus isn't there. (For that matter, a consensus about who is an "expert in the field" isn't there.) KarlBunker 14:09, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I still think the article needs serious work, and while it may be wrong to go against CSICOP's proclamations about their goals it seems to me equally wrong to simply cite those proclamations in the face of almost no evidence to support the contention that that is what they are doing. This is why Nisbett's article is so important in that it seems to suggest an alternativer agenda was there from the start and makes no mention of the agenda that appears in C's mission statement. In such a case I think it appropriate look at what C has actually done throughout its history and detail this in the article. This is why I am still unhappy about the claim that C has scientifically investigated numerous claims when it has merely investigated these in a manner very far removed from anything truly scientific. That is, a couple of magicians have gone around ridiculing claims for 20 odd years is a closer description to what has actually happened than the description that we currently have. What I propose to do, then, is to take the sections of the article I am unhappy with one at a time and attempt to tone-down or remove the things I find to be POV. We can start with the claims about the difference in required evidence from the activities section (the two paragraphs detailed above - twice). As noted, I think these 2 paras are merely speculation (and demonstrably false speculation) on the part of the authors of the article and need to be cut down to the bare facts or removed completely. Davkal 12:57, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I read the whole article by Nisbett (but only once), and I don't see it the same way you do. Bubba73 (talk), 02:31, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm afraid I'm in complete disagreement with your recent edits. In fact, you deleted more than what you mention above, and I wonder if your mouse slipped. The two paragraphs you do mention above include the following:
  1. A mention of the "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence" axiom, which I assume you agree should be in the article since you retained in in your edit.
  2. A drawing of an analogy to criminal courts demand for evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt" versus civil court's demand for "a preponderance of evidence". This is an illustrative analogy, and as such it makes no statement of fact. Neither does it misrepresent any facts as far as I can see.
  3. The statement that "paranormal proponents may offer as proof of paranormal phenomena such evidence as eyewitness testimonies, historical quotations, informal experiments, and inference." This is demonstrably correct, keeping in mind the use of the word "may". KarlBunker 13:56, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

1 Yes
2 a. Without any evidence for these claims it is pure supposition that CSICOP v's the proponents positions are accurately captured by this analogy. b. Criminal courts, as I pointed out above, may send someone to the chair based solely on eyewitness testimony. Given that you contrast the stringency of evidence used in criminal courts with the lesser stringency of another type of evidence including "eye-witness testimony" the analogy simply doesn't hold.
3 CSICOP may be the single most evil organisation in the history of the world. This is demonstrably correct, keeping in mind the use of the word "may".
OK, one point at a time. The article at present says: "CSICOP's examinations of claims of paranormal phenomena apply accepted scientific and academic methodologies to topics that most scientific organizations ignore as fringe science or pseudoscience." As I asked before, In what sense, if any, is this actually true? Davkal 15:38, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Re 2a: The analogy simply illustrates that a skeptical approach demands better evidence than a non-skeptical approach. This is almost a tautology. Re 2b: Focusing on eyewitness testimony is extracting a detail from the analogy and applying it out of context. The point of the analogy is simply more/better evidence vs. less/worse evidence.
Re 3: Quite correct, except that in the article, the word "may" could be replaced with "usually" and it would still be demonstrably correct (although less favorable to anti-skeptics).
Re followup: The text would be more correct if it were worded "The examinations of paranormal phenomena that CSICOP publishes or otherwise encourages apply accepted scientific and academic methodologies..." I know you personally still wouldn't agree with that statement, but that is your opinion. The article is obliged to accept what CSICOP says they do unless there is a good case that they misspeak. There are already quotes from critics who say that they do what they do poorly, or that they don't live up to their stated ideals. More than that would be POV on the part of the article. KarlBunker 16:32, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

The article doesn't oblige us to publish what CSICOP say they do at all, especially not as anything other than something they say they do (i.e. we should not merely present it as fact). And, even if it did reuqire this, CSICOP freely admit that they do not conduct scientific investigations of any kind. That is merely what you say they do after the fashion of Sagan's quote. The fact is that the quote from Nisbett shows what CSICOP take themselves to be doing, why CSICOP feel they were set up in the first place, and what CSICOP expect to acheive - and at no point are scientific investigations into claims of the paranormal even mentioned. On the contrary, CSICOP maintain that they are, and always have been, primarily a pressure group set-up to counter what they perceive as overly positive, and potentially dangerous, attitudes toward the paranormal by the mass-media. The fact that their charter and mission statement runs slightly counter to simply means that that needs to be presented as well as the pressure group claim but we are not required to attribute actions to a group based on their mission statement unless we can find further evidence to suggest that these actions has actually been performed.Davkal 18:47, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

If there's an article about the Organization of Cheese-Eaters, the article should say what they claim the purpose of their organization is. If there are a few critics who say it's really a "front" organization for the Belgian Mafia, then that should be mentioned, but unless a majority of credible scholars in the fields of cheeze-eating organizations and Mafia front organizations agree with those critics, the article as a whole should take the Cheese-Eaters' word at face value, and not preface every sentence about their activities with "Allegedly...". If you disagree with that, please take it up with some WP administrators.
The 30-plus years of Skeptical Inquirer show an extensive record of activity that is not related to pressuring or watchdogging the media. That activity, more than any statement, establishes what they "do".
Re. "not conducting scientific investigations of any kind": That is based upon carefully choosing one of the several correct definitions "conduct" or "scientific" or "investigation". In real-world English, CSICOP does conduct scientific investigation. KarlBunker 19:37, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

CSICOP does nopt claim to conduct scientific investigations, nor indeed, investigations of any kind. The only person claiming that they do is you. Please remove your opinions from the article.Davkal 19:42, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

"Conducting investigations" has a sound to it that suggests "research". That's why I removed the last instance of that phrase as a description of an ongoing activity. "Investigating", on the other hand, simply means "to look into." Skeptical Inquirer has published 30 years of investigations. Skeptical Inquirer is published by CSICOP. In what way does this not fit your definition of "investigate"? KarlBunker 19:54, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Publishing articles about things is not the same as doing the thing itself. Also, the articles published in SI are not, and do not claim to be, scientific studies in anything like the manner described by Sagan. You are the only person claiming this. But, your wish for these articles to be something that are not, and do not claim to be, has no place in an encyclopedia entry. Davkal 20:00, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Davkal, by debating these issues rationally, we've come to a consensus on several points, and I've come to agree with you on several points where I initially disagreed with you. It's clear you're becoming frustrated, and you're no longer making rational arguments. I sympathize with you; I've been there myself. The best course for now is to take a break, and come back when you have fresh ideas for making a logical "case" in favor of some change to the article. KarlBunker 22:03, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

My point is simple and rational and is everywhere backed up by evidence. To recap: nowhere on CSICOP's website, or in their charter, or in their mission statement do they make anything like the claim you do for their investigations. That is, they simply do not claim to conduct scientific investigations in the manner you describe. The point, then, is that your claim/desire that their investigations are conducted in that way is your claim/desire and nothing more. As such it has no place in an encyclopedia entry. Unless you can find some evidence to back up your claim that CSICOP conducts such investigations then please do not keep reverting my edits. I would also be grateful if you could refrain from making assumptions about my mental state. I have made none about yours. Davkal 22:26, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Investigations in what manner? Neither I nor the article made any claims as to the nature of CSICOP's investigations; only that they "investigate." If you are saying that for an organization to publish investigations is not the same as for them to make investigations, and that this distinction is somehow meaningful, then I can only say that that is not a rational argument. Mindless edit-warring and weird word-definition-nit-picking aside, what specific change do you want for the article (from the way it was before you went medieval on its ass), and what is your justification for that change? KarlBunker 23:13, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

From the paragraphs dealing with C's investigations prior to my edits: "CSICOP has conducted investigations into many paranormal claims" and "CSICOP's examinations of claims of paranormal phenomena apply accepted scientific and academic methodologies" and "CSICOP attempts to approach such claims in the manner recommended by CSICOP Fellow Carl Sagan" following which is the quote from Sagan detailing an attitude which lies at the heart of science. You surely cannot seriously claim that these comments do not suggest that C conducts scientific investigations/examinations in line with the methodologies etc. that lie at the heart of science.Davkal 23:27, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Re #1 of 3: Before your edit-rampage, I changed that to read "CSICOP has conducted or published investigations..." It was technically correct before that change, but it's a little better with it.
Re #2 of 3: You're quite right! that should be modified with some qualifier or other wording change, since not all of CSICOP's investigations follow strict scientific method, and many of them are just "investigations" of popular-press claims or whatnot, and have nothing to do with scientific method.
Re #3 of 3: Not relevant, as the words are ""CSICOP attempts to approach such claims..." which merely speaks to the mental attitude which is considered ideal, not to the specifics of any investigation.
Thank you for the specific and actionable comment. KarlBunker 23:46, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

The article as things stand gives the impression that C conducts rigorous scientific investigations using the methodology of science - whatever spin you care to put on it. Anyone reading the article will take that to be the point made. C does not claim to conduct such investigations - only you (the article) claims this. It is (your) POV and should not be included. The changes you have made lessen this point but still cloud the issue. Also, the two paragraphs dealing with the "tautology" of the evidence required should be, if anywhere, in an article devoted to skepticism - as things stand they "clarify" a (debatable re CSICOP) point that doesn't need to be made.Davkal 00:04, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Also, I note that you keep putting the POV flag on my edit. Almost all I actually did was rearrange a few things and take out some misleading and superfluous comments. I did not add anything to suggest anything negative about C - which aspects, if any, of my recent edits do you consider POV? Davkal 00:18, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Also, also, C doesn't even have a "mission statement" as far as I can see. The quote at the top merely appears early on in their website. Davkal 00:21, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Also, also, also, I've changed SI from a journal to, as C calls it, a "magazine". Davkal 00:24, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Your notions as to the impression the article gives are not supportable by logic or evidence, so they aren't useful to this discussion. You're correct that the banner statement from the website shouldn't have been described as a mission statement. KarlBunker 00:59, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I hope that the fact that we're down to the level of replacing "journal" with "magazine" is an indication that this discussion is winding down. Please keep in mind that this isn't about your beliefs regarding CSICOP being "wrong." It's about what can validly be put into a WP article. Think for example, about your least-favorite politician, and think how nice it would be if the WP article on that person could just come out and say what a complete fool/villain/whatever that person is. But that's not a realistic expectation, because of the tiresome "neutrality" thing. --KarlBunker 11:26, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

My notions as to what impression the article gives are supportable (and actually supported) by both logic and evidence. In general, if an article says that "A does x" it is logical to assume that the average reader will take it that A does indeed do x. This obvious point plus the claim "A does x" actually being in the article serve as the evidence for my conclusion that a typical reader, on reading this article, will come to the (false) conclusion that A does x. Your arguemtns are now lapsing into nothing more than negative comments about me and analogies without any indication how those analogies are supposed to fit in with article or my edits of the article. You keep saying I am trying to portray C as a villain or to include negative things about C. I am not - you are merely imagining this. My changes in the last two days (the ones you keep reverting) are simply: a) adding the notion that C is media oriented in the intro; b)removing the claim that C conducts scientific investigations while keeping the claim that C conducts investigations (I have attempted to add no pejorative statement about how well or badly such investigations are conducted); and c) removing two long-winded and pretty superfluous (in this article) pargaraphs detailing an analogy intended to show the different evidence required by skeptics and proponents of the paranormal (as if the two were mutually exclusive). I have asked above if you could explain which sections in particlur from my edits you condider non-neutral/POV but you have not even attempted to. Rather, you have merely reasserted the claim that I am trying to portray C as a set of villains. I maintain that the only thing POV about the article now is the way it still portrays C as an organisation primarily tring to encourage open-minded investigation into claims of the paranormal when everbody knows that, in fact, they want to shut it down. One of their original members, Marcello Truzzi, said as mucxh in a quote you removed long ago in case people would get a true impression of C. So, imagine a politician you love, you have such an infatuation with him that you claim things for him that he doesn't even claim for himself. How nice it would be if a WP article backed-up your delusions - and this could well be a realistic expectation since you can write the article yourself, and hey, as long as you're belligerent enough to simply revert any edit that tones down the sycophantic gush it can stay that way for the rest of time and you (and your politician) can live happily ever after. Davkal 12:30, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

For the umpteenth time I have changed the start of the criticism section from "CSiCOP's investigation..." to "CSICOPS's activities...". The reason for this is that it is not merely their investigations that have won it criticism - many other things they have done have also had this effect. Davkal 12:58, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

POV continued

Your comments are getting unnecessarily long again. Please try to avoid repeating yourself and to stay on topic. I know I've failed in the last regard myself on occasion, and I apologize.

Quoting your remarks re. your edits:
a) adding the notion that C is media oriented in the intro;

As I've explained, the contents of 30 years of Skeptical Inquirer show that it is factually incorrect to portray CSICOP as primarily oriented toward media watch-dogging. It is also POV to remove the quotation of the organization's own statement of their purpose.

b) removing the claim that C conducts scientific investigations while keeping the claim that C conducts investigations

A factually incorrect change, as the contents of 30 years of Skeptical Inquirer again show.

c) removing two long-winded and pretty superfluous (in this article) pargaraphs detailing an analogy intended to show the different evidence required by skeptics and proponents of the paranormal (as if the two were mutually exclusive)""

These paragraphs describe the purpose and philosophy behind CSICOP's activities. There is no reason to remove them, except that they show skepticism in a favorable light.

I have changed the start of the criticism section from "CSiCOP's investigation..." to "CSICOPS's activities...".

I agree that the word "activities" is okay.

You also removed the names of some notable CSICOP members from an early paragraph. These names are repeated in the long list of CSICOP Fellows, but removing them from the earlier prose paragraph serves no purpose except to remove something that demonstrates some of the prestige of CSICOP.

You also added an additional criticism of a CSICOP investigation. With the material you removed, this addition places the weight of the article too far in the direction of criticism. KarlBunker 04:09, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

1. Here we go round the mulberry bush. I say, not even C claims to conduct scientific investigations in anything like the manner described by Sagan; to which you respond, nobody has made any claims about the manner of the investigations; to which I respond by pointing out the fact the article makes a very strong claim about the scientific methodology underpinning C's investigations; at which point you say nothing. I then remove the stuff from the article that suggests this and you put it back. Please note that nowhere on their website, or anywhere else, do C claim to conduct investigations in anything like the manner you describe in the article. Once and for all, please: the SI is not a scientific journal containing scientific papers, it is a general interest publication containing general level criticisms of paranormal claims.

2. C itself says it was founded primarily/jointly as a media oriented organisation. It is unacceptable to not have this noted clearly in the intial summary.

3. I removed the list of members from the ACTIVITIES section because, wait for it, people are not activities.

4. The additional criticism only skews things in your opinion. The fact is that over the years there has been steady criticism of exactly this type of thing from a small but significant group of scientists (and countless others) and not, as the article currently suggests, a one-off complaint from a disgruntled ex-member. For example, 3 ex-members have launched fairly scathing attacks and numerous scientists/academics are dubious about the activities of C.

5. The two paragraph's about evidence are simply your view of things. No evidence is offered to back them up as either true, or as relating to the actual views of C or proponents of the paranormal. They also contain the assumption that one cannot be a fully-fledged skeptic and at the same time hold that this-or-that aspect of the paranormal/fringe-science has been shown beyond a reasonable doubt. The point that many have made about C is that they are unreasonable doubters, i.e, pseudoskeptics. The whole issue of evidence being far subtler than these paragraphs suggest.

6. On a general point, you appear to think that you are the very soul of neutrality. You are not. You are trying to write an article that views C through rose-tinted spectacles. I am, as noted on numerous occasions, trying to tone down the sycophantic gush, e.g, and Carl sagan was in them, and Carl Sagan was a member, and here's a quote from Carl sagan, and here's another, and here in the list of members you can see Carl Sagan amongst others. Did I mention Carl sagan was in them. Dear oh dear oh dear.Davkal 09:57, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Davkal, if you would care to delete your above comment and rewrite it without the personal attacks and sarcasm, I will read it. As it is I stopped at the halfway point. I have no interest in trading schoolyard barbs with you. KarlBunker 10:58, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

There are no personal attacks. In the first 5 points (further than you claim to have read) there is nothing that could even be construed as one. Point 6 could be construed as a personal attack but I think your attitude to what is POV and what is not is based on the assumption that your view is everywhere aligned with neutral truth. I therefore think the point needs to be made. Stated otherwise: how can you be so sure that you have got the right end of the stick here? There is plenty of sarcasm but that's because I can't really be bothered to try to spell out why people are not activities. There is also ample evidence that you are not even reading my edits before you revert them: for example, you say I removed the quotation from the opening section - I did not - I merely removed the quotation marks and and reordered things a little - everything the original quote said is still there and means exactly what it previously did. As things stood, the opening section was perfectly in keeping with how C view themselves. Davkal 11:12, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I've placed the NPOV flag on this article because: a) I believe that the current article still reads like an advertisement for C; b) any attempts to tone this down and add balnce are being reverted before I even get a chance to complete them; and c) the article makes positive claims about C's activities that they do not even make for themselves. Davkal 11:19, 25 June 2006 (UTC)


I just reverted[1] the edit discussed in the above overly-long section. (Free clue: if you are unable to write a concise talk page entry making your case briefly and clearly, this is often a sign that you have no compelling argument) I also placed the following notice[2] on User talk: using Template:uw-fringe1:

"Information icon Welcome to Wikipedia. I notice that you added some content to Committee for Skeptical Inquiry that appears to be a minority or fringe viewpoint. Unfortunately, this edit appears to give undue weight to this minority viewpoint, and has been reverted. To maintain a neutral point of view, an idea that is not broadly supported by scholarship in its field must not be given undue weight in an article about a mainstream idea. Feel free to use the article's talk page to discuss this, and take a look at the welcome page to learn more about contributing to this encyclopedia.
Science does not distinguish the majority over the minority. The evidence either supports or it does not. Your comments here reinforce your psuedoscientific credentials - meaning of course (let me hazard a guess) you are a card carrying member of CSI.Theatozofeverything (talk) 05:18, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
You need to reach a consensus (WP:CONSENSUS) before making a controversial change. In other words, you have to convince other editors, which you have failed to do.
"Consensus" maintained a geocentric worldview.Theatozofeverything (talk) 05:18, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Furthermore, your edit summary ("added criticism mention in the lead as per WP:LEAD . Reliability and notability have been thoroughly presented in the talk page") misstates Wikipedia policy. First, you have to reach a consensus. Merely "presenting" an argument without convincing anyone is not enough.

Einstein was presented with a sound argument concerning quantum theory. He rejected it. Theatozofeverything (talk) 05:18, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Second, WP:LEAD is from Wikipedia:Manual of Style, which is a style guide. WP:UNDUE and WP:NPOV are part of Wikipedia:Five pillars, which are the fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates."

--Guy Macon (talk) 14:18, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

---You are misrepresenting WP:UNDUE and WP:NPOV. Both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the American Society for Psychical Research are dealing with fringe Science. the first maintains that its inquiry has found nothing and the other just the opposite. ---Both are leading forces of the opposite side. The controversy is real and meaningful and certainly should be mentioned in the lead as to invite further reading of the article. To suggest SCI is without problems is in direct conflict with WP:NPOV

A point well made, but falling on deaf ears in the antiscience, antirational CSI.Theatozofeverything (talk) 05:18, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

---WP:lead "The lead should establish significance, include mention of consequential or significant criticism or controversies, and be written in a way that makes readers want to know more" .

CSI does not want us to "know more". It wants its own opinion promulgated as the only legitimate opinion there is. No opposition to its opinions will be tolerated - no matter how valid those oppositions might be. CSI is a religion, not a science.Theatozofeverything (talk) 05:18, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

---The establishment of notability has been thoroughly presented by Dave3457 I have read the groundless dismissive tone of SCI supporters to it. The adding of the paragraph should not be controversial to anybody not biased in favor of CSI79.179.176.148 (talk) 21:04, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

CSI is irretrievably biased against scientific exploration. It is only a shame the general public is not wise to this antiscience in its midst. Theatozofeverything (talk) 05:18, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Firstly, notability is the guideline for the existence of articles, not the mentioning of material in articles. Secondly, on wikipedia we don't aim for balance, we aim for due WP:WEIGHT (see WP:FRINGE); a fringe organization's criticisms sourced to their own publication just don't have much due weight. Thirdly, Dave didn't demonstrate much since he pasted a wall of text rather than making a good argument. IRWolfie- (talk) 21:11, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
"A wall of text" is the standard CSI rebuttal to any argument they do not wish to acknowledge. It does not matter that a detailed exploration of the issue is either warranted or necessary. Anything beyond a one line sweeping generalisation will be too much for CSI to handle.Theatozofeverything (talk) 05:18, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Standards of evidence

This section should have an addition because:

Sagan’s phrase is meaningless nonsense. Mere populist jargon - it sounds good but is completely devoid of meaning. The veracity of any claim must be tested against all the available evidence. Big, little, red, blue, wet, dry, spikey, smooth, for or against - all the evidence, without fear or favour, must be assessed. There is no such thing as “extraordinary” evidence and there is no such thing as limiting the evidence for any claim to a particular type of evidence that doesn’t exist anyway. Sagan’s claim is in fact an extraordinary requirement that can never be met. It represents antiscience at it worst. If the standards of evidence of CSI rest on Sagan’s nonsense, then they truly are a pseudoscientific organisation.

But of course I would not expect Wikipedia to promote science above pseudoscience. The latter seems to be their forte.

And while we are on the matter of pseudoscience, CSI and their cohort have proved themselves again and again to be advocates of pseudoscience as long as they have been around [Hatzopoulos, D. (2012) Skeptics, pelicanists and Prozac explanations].

As long as Wikipedia allow the pseudoscientists to create their agenda, so will science, democracy and the people be the losers. Discuss. Theatozofeverything (talk) 04:33, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are based on published reliable sources, and not on the personal opinions of contributors. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:39, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
"Personal opinion"? You mistake me for a member of CSI. My argument either has veracity or it does not. If it does, then acknowledge it. If it does not, then you will be able to provide a reason why it does not.Theatozofeverything (talk) 05:26, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Whether your personal opinion has veracity or not is irrelevant. Wikipedia articles are based on published reliable sources, and not on the personal opinions of contributors. This is how Wikipedia works. AndyTheGrump (talk) 07:31, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

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Independent Investigation Group

Hi, was wondering if the abovementioned section is needed, as its not shown to connect to the committee in the article. 19:08, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

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CSI Awards

I have finished adding all the Awards given by CSI up to 2015. It was tedious work, I searched through the CD that goes up to 2005 every issue for the word "Award" in order to find every entry of an award. I also searched the CSICOP website. I was given a copy of the CSI spreadsheet by Barry Karr and used that as a cross-reference to what I was finding in the S.I. magazines and CSI website. I did come across a few anomalies and done my best to be correct. Here are a few things to note. There is no documentation that Marcia Angell was given the Distinguished Skeptic award in 2002 as well as Marvin Minsky getting the In Praise of Reason Award. It is on the spreadsheet that I was given, and people at CSI remember it happening. Both happened in 2002 at the same conference, and I have searched S.I. and there is no recap or follow-up talking about that conference. I think it was just overlooked. I have noted on the WP page that a citation is needed, but I really don't think there is one to be found. Also According to Paul Kurtz's article in S.I. Lin Zixin won the Distinguished Skeptic Award in 2000, but the spreadsheet says it is the "In Praise of Reason" Award. I'm noting it here on Talk, but I added it on the WP page as the In Praise of Reason, believing that Kurtz misreported, there were two other Distinguished that year (Barry Williams and Joe Nickell) and no other Praise of Reason recipients, so strongly believe that Zixin is a Praise of Reason winner. I have also been to every winner's WP page and mentioned that they were recipients of CSI awards. If the person did not have a WP page, then I tried to leave the mention on the WP page of their workplace. KUSA(TV), Columbus-Citizen Journal, Sacramento Bee are examples of this. Winners Jack Smith and Barry Williams have names very common and I was not sure if they have WP pages or not, CSICOP did not give enough information in their write-up for me to know who these people are. I also hoped to find more information about each award and have supplied it where I could find citations to prove it. The Public Education, Distinguished Skeptic and Frontiers of Science and Tech are missing this information. I communicated with Barry Karr and Kendrick Frazier asking for more information about Robert B. Balles and was informed by Karr that he was a donor of CSI who bequeathed the money for this award in his name. I could not discover much more about Balles, other than a few mentions in S.I. that he was a religious man. I felt that wasn't really relevant to the award, it would be nice to be able to expand a bit talking about who Balles was and why he decided to donate in this way, was he someone who loved books? Was he inspired by the first winner Andrew Skolnick? No idea, but if found please add to the WP page. So this is all I can think of, this took me hours and hours to complete. So PLEASE keep it up to date long after I'm gone. These recipients have done excellent work, and deserve that they are remembered for their achievements, as well as the history of scientific skepticism and Wikipedia.Sgerbic (talk) 06:07, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

External links modified

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Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 18:08, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 17 February 2017

In Praise of Reason Award, Marvin Minsky is NOT linked to his Wiki page and should be. (talk) 12:02, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

 Done He was actually already linked in another list below, but MOS:DUPLINK allows it. I found a citation for it while I was at it. --Krelnik (talk) 12:59, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

primary sources

amongst a lot of otehr productive edits, i flagged this article on august 19 2016, because it contained too many primary sources. the next day aug 20 it was silently deleted, really without giving any reason. The person may not have understood what primary sources are. so i am replacing teh flag.--Wuerzele (talk) 02:15, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Volume 86, No. 1, January 1992; pp. 20, 24, 40, 46, 51
  2. ^ The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, Volume 86, No. 1, January 1992; pp. 20, 24, 40, 46, 51