Talk:Essay:Accuracy vs. neutrality on Conservapedia

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Philip, thanks for your provocative essay. A few initial comments and suggestions on the introduction:

  • "Wikipedia has a policy of neutrality, the intention being to minimise bias." I suggest the "ostensible intention," as many Wikipedia editors insist on bias
  • "Conservapedia, in contrast, has no such policy, and openly states its bias towards conservative ideas." We state a point of view, not a bias.

Conservapedia, as stated in our FAQ, has a purpose of eliminating liberal bias. That minimizes bias.

Further discussion and comments welcome!--Aschlafly 11:01, 16 March 2008 (EDT)

I would agree with Andy that there is a difference between Wikipedia's policy of neutrality and the way that it actually plays out in reality. Conservapedia is at least more up front that neutrality and a neutral point of view are not the goals of the project. Learn together 13:41, 16 March 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the comments. I don't agree with the rationale for "ostensible intention", because I believe (and I'll check up on this) that the NPOV policy is something imposed by Jimmy Wales, and as such, editors insisting on bias has no bearing on Wales' intention in creating the rule.
As for Conservapedia stating a point of view rather than a bias, I think that depends on which definition of "bias" you are using. Conservapedia describes bias as "the predisposition toward one belief before another". Using that description, I believe that the existing wording is correct. However, it can also mean "a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment"[1], so at the very least my use of it should be clarified. As a creationist speaker has often said, "It's not a matter of whether you are biased, but which is the best bias to be biased with". We all have biases; the real question is whether our biases are reasonable or correct ones or not. As I've said before, Conservapedia has a bias towards the truth.
Philip J. Rayment 04:16, 17 March 2008 (EDT)
I've checked, and it appears that I'm correct that Jimmy Wales imposed the NPOV policy[2]. Philip J. Rayment 08:45, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

"Proving" God

Well put. I would also like to point out that the amount of evidence presented does vary from individual to individual and can change during the course of a person's time on this planet based on life experiences and personal revelation as revealed by God. Learn together 13:35, 16 March 2008 (EDT)

What I believe you are referring to is "personal experience" of God. It is true that many people have this, and I guess that it's worth a mention, but the problem with personal experience is that it's personal, thus not applicable to other people. There is plenty of objective evidence available without having to rely on subjective personal experience. Philip J. Rayment 04:21, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

Point of View

The "point of view" should be disclosed by every encyclopedia, as Conservapedia discloses but Wikipedia does not. "Point of view" is not bias, however. Ronald Reagan had a conservative point of view but was certainly capable of recounting facts without bias.--Aschlafly 08:52, 5 April 2008 (EDT)

We discussed this earlier on the page. Conservapedia itself (correctly) describes bias as "the predisposition toward one belief before another". That sounds like "point of view" to me. See the discussion in the first section of this talk page. Philip J. Rayment 09:54, 5 April 2008 (EDT)


I agree with 99.8% of what you say and hereby suggest that it be enshrined as site policy. --Ed Poor Talk 10:16, 5 April 2008 (EDT)

Thanks Ed! I'm curious to know what the 0.2% is that you don't agree with, but suspect that it's just to allow for there being something, without being sure what it is. Philip J. Rayment 10:35, 5 April 2008 (EDT)

Third-part edits

Didnt want to step on your personal turf. Only saw the warning after making the change. Undid my edits --Stitch75 13:17, 1 July 2008 (EDT)

Thanks, I realised that. It did prompt me to qualify the bit about science and maths, though. But in context, only a footnote is required. Philip J. Rayment 10:14, 2 July 2008 (EDT)
I think you should explicitely mention Karl Popper (falsification). Maybe Quine and Gödel when it come to math/logics --Stitch75 12:44, 2 July 2008 (EDT)
Why? This is not an article about falsification, but an essay about basic principles of evidence and proof. Philip J. Rayment 21:05, 2 July 2008 (EDT)
Popper's critical rationalism was one of the first philosphical works to give the Obvervation examples you mention (you can not prove anything...) a solid (and well-accepted) framework. It essentially says (AFAIK) what you describe as the scientific process. --Stitch75 08:23, 3 July 2008 (EDT)
Again, I don't think that it's particularly relevant to this essay which is not primarily about scientific proof, but nevertheless, I've now mentioned him in a footnote. Philip J. Rayment 20:45, 4 July 2008 (EDT)

Boiling Water

This is a good essay - well put together, although I did notice this: "For example, no matter how many tests are conducted showing that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius, there remains the possibility, no matter how remote, that the next experiment might return a different result."

I seem to remember vaguely that air pressure and altitude have an effect on the boiling point of water (at higher altitudes it boils at a lower temperature, I think) so it is likely a test could have a different result. Then again, language is my forte, not science, so I could quite possibly be mistaken :) --JessicaTOhayo gozaimasu! 10:21, 2 July 2008 (EDT)

Perfectly right. It's the air pressure which has an effect on the boiling temperature. Higher altitude means lower pressure, that's why water boils before at altitude. And Philip, according to the SI you are supposed to say "100 Celsius", omitting "degrees". SilvioB 10:33, 2 July 2008 (EDT)
How precise should I be? It is for the purposes of illustration only, after all, so I don't really need to list all known exceptions (and it doesn't say that there are not exceptions).
According to Conservapedia's article that you (SilvioB) linked to, "While one does not say '200 degrees Kelvin' one does say '200 degrees Celsius' ".
Philip J. Rayment 11:04, 2 July 2008 (EDT)