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Shinto and Muism . Please merge, reference, link to..Edit

Spiritism is not unique to Europe, this article needs to be expanded to include Korean Shamanism and Japanese Shinto, clearly.

This is not pseudoscience this is anthropology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Troll ov Grimness (talkcontribs) 19:43, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

Criticism not debunkingEdit

The criticism section is just being used as a place for debunkers. There are genuine criticisms which can and should be addressed there.Tom Butler (talk) 17:56, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

The Shermer part is what he said but is stated as an opinion in his column without substantiation. If Wikipedia requires substantiating references, then the references cannot just be a published blog. Tom Butler (talk) 18:12, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

One more time, please explain why you think an opinion piece is a reliable source. Where is the scienc ein his criticism? Tom Butler (talk) 00:27, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

It is an opinion cited to a highly reliable source, Tom. You may not be familiar with our policies, but WP:VER compels us to observe "verifiability not truth", (and in this case, whatever you personally feel the "truth" to be.) - LuckyLouie (talk) 01:31, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
Unlike Randi simply defining cold reading, Shermer is making blanket statements such as "As grief counselors know" without citation or any reference to show it is anything more than his opinion. In fact, I know a dozen or so grief councelors who know differently.
I gather that by "highly reliable source" you mean he is an expert and his article is in Scientific American. While he is a noted Skeptic and therefore knowledgeable about the many complaints about things not mainstream, he himself is not noted as an authority on death and grieving. In fact, he clearly has a conflict of interest; needing to be right to justify his skepticism.
Just because the opinion piece is in a consumer science magazine does not mean that he is being held to any level of truth. It is a column and is not peer reviewed. It is not as if he is reporting on a research project or new development. All of his columns there are clearly blog-like opinion pieces.
In fact, it is no great revelation that people like him have that opinion. My point is two-fold. First, it is not really a criticism so much as it is simply complaining. Second, it is not up to the quality I think is expected for Wikipedia. We can't put material in this article that is not supported by a credible source. To me, that means the credible source needs to be more than an opinion. Go find a credible study that says "As grief counselors know" and I will support including that instead. It would be a worthy criticism.
Meanwhile, I think we are near our 3 revert limit so I will seek elsewhere for guidance. Tom Butler (talk) 18:08, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
As you might notice, we are not stating Shermer's opinions in Wikipedia's voice as 'fact', we are merely reporting what he thinks and what his particular opinions on the subject of mediums are. You'll appreciate that appropriate phrases are used such as "According to Shermer" and "Shermer writes" in order to attribute the opinions quite clearly to Shermer. This is all in keeping with policy. I did however agree with Hans that critique of John Edward was better placed at John Edward rather than here, and have modified the text accordingly. Happy holidays. - LuckyLouie (talk) 18:45, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
I just added the quote to Edward's page but it was taken down by Dreadstar a few minutes ago calling it an "attack quote". I don't see anything wrong with it as it is Shermer's opinion and Shermer is very relevant when it comes to his opinion on psychics. Sgerbic (talk) 18:58, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

LuckyLouie, you and BullRangifer are missing the point. I am fine not using the Journal of Scientific Exploration references, and even those articles. The point is that the Super-psi Hypothesis and possible psychopathology represent potential fatal flaws of the Survival Hypothesis. Certainly one or the other accounts for many of the reported instance of mediumship.

A Quantuum-Holographic Hypothesis has also been proposed, but it is not often cited these days.

These are the primary academic claims. While it is true that Super-psi depends on an undefined subtle energy, there is growing scientific evidence it exists and such a conjecture is more acceptable for the mainstream than accepting a mind-body duality and survived consciousness which necessitates an aspect of reality in which to survive. See ATransC Survival Hypothesis.

The article is only half an article if it does not include these criticisms along with your warn out complaints about possible fraud. If you do not like these references, then go find one you like. Surely one of your skeptics is informed enough to know of these things.

By the way, you do understand that mediumship depends on the Survival Hypothesis to be true ... right? Tom Butler (talk) 18:01, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the link to your essay on your website, Tom. I'm not sure it's our job to find WP:RS references for your original ideas about "survival hypothesis" and promote in-universe 'scientific-sounding' terms like "trans etheric energies", "super PSI" and "discarnate entities". As said previously, these concepts aren't really appropriate for the criticism section in this article. Maybe you could try Psi (parapsychology)? - LuckyLouie (talk) 18:43, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

IntroductionEdit

BullRangifer are you really going to argue that Carroll is not a "promotional source"? He is selling books and making ad money with traffic to his website.

The introductory definition was not informative. I don't care where you get the information but it needs improvement. I looked long and hard for one that was at least provided by an academic in a peer-reviewed journal. Alternatively, move the dictionary definition up and fill in that hole with more background. I am going to paraphrase all three and cite all three. That should take care of your fear of frontier subject references there.

I am leaving in the two items under Criticism. before you take the out because they a from the JSE, you would do well to review the Fringe science and Paranormal arbitration reports. As I read them, you are taking far too much of a hard line.

Look at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Fringe science [1] Principles: Prominence and Advocacy

And Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Paranormal [2] Principles: Neutral point of view, Basis for inclusion, Appropriate handling of epistemological status, no content; Finding of fact: Advocacy, and after looking around at who is still editing, Chilling effect

Every change I make in this article, no matter how well it is referenced, turns into a battle of me against all of you. It is really unfortunate because the article, like so many other paranormal subjects you all protect, could be much more informative without being biased one way or another. I gather you are not sufficiently informed to know this. I am still debating the usefulness of going to the admins over this because, as I say, there appears to be just one of me these days.

  • There needs to be a distinction made between psychic and medium. The phrase "psychic medium" is an oxymoron.
  • There is a growing interest in development circles and physical mediumship is very much alive today.
  • Trance mediumship is not well explained in the article.
  • There can be a section on modern day mediumship. Of course, there is the current group of well-known mediums that should be addressed, but also Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) (audio ITC is also known as EVP). ITC is considered by many as a new form of physical mediumship and points to a possible evolution in mediumship.
  • Energy healing is seen as a form of mediumship by the Spiritualists and Spiritists. That has not been addressed.

I am not going to try to improve the article any further because of your determination to bias the article to the Skeptical view.Tom Butler (talk) 01:04, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Short Brigade Harvester Boris, I can live with that change to the intro definition. It is more informative than before I began looking at it.
Somewhere in the intro, there needs to be a reference the reason the idea of mediumship is so contentious. It is not because of fraud. That is a weak-minded way to discount something rather than presenting informed analysis. As I just said above, for mediumship to be real, there are many other concepts that must also be real--all of which are just too much for the mainstream to accept.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Tom Butler (talkcontribs)
As for the intro I prefer that the opening sentence be short and crisp (see WP:MOSBEGIN). I agree that the 19th-century fraud sentence doesn't belong. It seems out of place since there's no context around it.
The larger point is that the lede should summarize the article -- but the article a whole is pretty awful from the standpoint of writing style and organization. So one could argue that we should first put the article into decent shape and then summarize the resulting product. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 18:44, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Reliable sourceEdit

There are conflicting needs for this article. If you want to have an article that explains the subject in a balanced way, then you are going to need to be more evenhanded about sources. As in most of these subjects about the paranormal, the mainstream is either not writing about them or it is debunking them. The mainstream does not know much about the subjects and if you want to tell the reader what the subject is, then it will be necessary to either do so without references or use references from the people who are in the culture.

I am fine with deleting all verbiage that is not directly supported by mainstream academic material. But that also means that blogs and column--mainstream or not--cannot be used.

Once again, I ask you to review the arbitration reports:

Look at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Fringe science [2] Principles: Prominence and Advocacy
And Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Paranormal [3] Principles: Neutral point of view, Basis for inclusion, Appropriate handling of epistemological status, no content; Finding of fact: Advocacy, and after looking around at who is still editing, Chilling effect

Tom Butler (talk) 19:14, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

and, this Tom Butler (talk) 19:34, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
You would be within your rights to take this matter to arbitration enforcement if you feel that the decision is not being respected. Carefully read the "How to file a request" instructions at the top of the page. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 19:19, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. It is also a matter of time management. Well,actually, I know I will be outnumbered a hundred to one whether or not I am correct. Tom Butler (talk) 19:34, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Direct VoiceEdit

Here is a better reference. I don't have toime today to fight with you over sources.

DIRECT VOICE, an isolated voice in space without visible source of agency. It issues mostly from a trumpet which sails about the seance room in the dark and appears to serve as a condenser. With an increase of power the trumpet may be dispensed with and the voice may be heard from the center of the floor or from any part of the room.

Nandor Fodor ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandor_Fodor ) Encyclopedia of Psychic Science <ref>[http://www.spiritwritings.com/fodora.html Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science]</ref>

Also at http://www.scribd.com/doc/61675145/dic-Fodor-Encyclopedea-Of-Psychic-Science

By LuckyLouie, the way, the JSE has been referenced in the Ian Stevenson article without a problem. What is yours with them? Tom Butler (talk) 19:39, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Hi Tom. I think most editors will agree that 'Fodor's Encyclopedia of Psychic Science' presents its fringe ideas in much too credulous a manner (e.g., they allege George Adamski contacted aliens, they call automatic writing "one of the most valuable spiritual gifts", etc.) and would not be considered an 'independent' reliable tertiary source. Regarding the JSE as a source: I don't understand how an essay describing Ian Stevenson's interests being referenced in our biography article of Ian Stevenson has any bearing on this article, or the material you wish to present in it. I might guess that the editors working on Ian Stevenson formed a consensus that agreed to allow that particular JSE article to be referenced since it contained noncontroversial material or general assertions confirmed in more reliable media. Looking over the list of stuff you want included in this article, a lot of it strikes me as somewhat dogmatic and originating from isolated primary sources that aren't sufficiently notable. If you can locate some independent 3rd party coverage of those concepts I'd be glad to help write them into the article with proper attribution and framing. Cheers. - LuckyLouie (talk) 20:21, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
I doubt that. Tom Butler (talk) 20:54, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

This article is biased and would better serve Wikipedia through a neutral point of viewEdit

Current article contains the following text in quotes for the word Mediumship: "Mediumship is the supposed ability of certain people—known as mediums—to contact spirits of the dead.[1] It is a practice in religious beliefs such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo and Umbanda. Many 19th century mediums were discovered to be engaged in fraud.[2]"

The text "Many 19th century mediums were discovered to be engaged in fraud. [2}" should clearly fit anyone's defintion of bias. This quote would belong in criticism except that it doesn't exist in the reference: Preliminary Report of the Commission Appointed by the University of Pennsylvania, The Seybert Commission, 1887. 1 April 2004.

Current article further demonstrates bias by stating that mediumship is a "supposed" abiltiy. Suggest a neutral point of view for this article and leave the "supposed" and "engaged in fraud" points of view for the criticism section. Edpc4u (talk) 00:55, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

No, it's essential for NPOV that the reality of mediumship not be presented as fact: hence qualifiers such as "supposed". That many of the most famous mediums have turned out to be fraudulent is crucial to understanding the topic: by itself it is not a biased statement, though it needs to be properly source. To move towards neutrality, the article needs to take the mainstream view out of the "Criticism" section and into the body of the article. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:47, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Edpc4u, you fail to understand NPOV. It forbids the inclusion of "editorial" bias, not sourced bias. Without the inclusion and documentation of real world bias, our articles would fail to document the sum total of human knowledge, and would be rather "blah" reading, devoid of much meaningful content. -- Brangifer (talk) 18:19, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Edpc4u raises some valid points. The purpose of the lead is to summarise the contents of the article. While it is perfectly acceptable to summarise aspects of fraud in the lede, it is not acceptable to only summarise aspects of fraud. There has been substantial research into the area and the discovery of fraud has been only one of the findings, so it is not neutral for the lead to focus on only one aspect. Also, "supposed" is a loaded term that suggests to the reader they should not believe the accounts; "Purported" is the correct terminology for unsubstantiated claims and accounts. Betty Logan (talk) 22:10, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Martin Poulter agrees with the article's bias that "mediumship not be presented as fact". Mediumship has been scientifically studied and classified for at least 30 years, therefore it should be presented as fact. The scientific research is in the book Thirty Years of Psychical Research by Prof Charles Richet published by the MacMillan Company in 1923. Wikipedia losses it credibility when articles are written to support the mainstream point of view rather than based on research or facts. Edpc4u (talk) 00:35, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not an expert, but it seems possible that the world of science has experienced some changes since 1923. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:02, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
LOL! Indeed, much water has flowed under the bridge since then, and yet the purported abilities of "mediums" has yet to be proven. I'm sure there are a small minority who aren't frauds, but are simply delusional, but that's about it. (The delusional ones are the only ones who apply for the JREF million dollar prize. Frauds stay away.)
OTOH, those who believe in them are simply fooled, often because of ignorance. They are easy marks. It's all pretty similar to many religious belief systems, except that mediums are actively involved in the process of getting customers and publicity, so fraud and delusion are necessary elements. They aren't disinterested bystanders, but are consciously or ignorantly using cold reading and other methods. -- Brangifer (talk) 01:39, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

(←) All very well, but this is about how to write the article, not our personal opinions on mediums. It seems to be that we can agree that there is dispute as to whether communication with the sprits of the dead happens at all, and agreement that while many people claim to have achieved this, some, perhaps most, maybe all, such claims are fradulent. So we have two choices. We can define "mediumship" to be actual communication with the dead, and keep on qualifying every use of the word with "claimed" or "purported"; or we can define "mediumship" to be claimed communication with the dead, and not have to qualify every subsequent use of the word. The latter course seems to me the most practical. Cusop Dingle (talk) 11:35, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Or, we could follow WP:FRINGE: "A Wikipedia article about a fringe theory should not make it appear more notable than it is. Claims must be based upon independent reliable sources. 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,[1] and reliable sources must be cited that affirm the relationship of the marginal idea to the mainstream idea in a serious and substantial manner." - LuckyLouie (talk) 14:14, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Mediumship *is* communication with the dead; just as a time machine is still a vessel that allows travel back and forward in time, even if it is theoreticlaly impossible. The definitions themselves are not "purported", even if mediumship itself is a load of bollox. In that first sentence in the lead, mediumship is not the "puported ability to communicate with the dead", it is the actual "ability to communicate with the dead", even if there never has been a genuine case of mediumship. The correct approach of this article is to provide an overview of the background and terminology, then discuss the scientific research and its findings. The problem here is that the lead is too short to cover the distinctions and caveats so I will take a crack at it later. Betty Logan (talk) 14:19, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Mediumship is "defined as" the ability to communicate with the dead. There is a difference. If we started the lead with this definition and that wording, Wikipedia wouldn't be saying it actually happens. -- Brangifer (talk) 07:40, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

This may be of some relevance: Talk:Psychic/Archive_4#RfC:_Which_defining_sentence_is_better.3F (About qualifiers like "alleged".) — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 16:15, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

I think my re-write of the lead covers this now. We define the word in the first sentence—which actually is defined as communication with the dead (not alleged communication with the dead, which would actually alter the very definition of the word), and in the second sentence we qualify mediumship as an alleged unproven ability. Betty Logan (talk) 16:46, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think one can say "there is no evidence". In fact, there is an enormous amount of evidence, in the form of personal testimony, it's just that there is no scientifically acceptable and verifiable evidence. In any case, we need a reliable source to support whatever assertion is made, even if is not explicitly cited in the introduction. What is that source, and exactly what does it say? Cusop Dingle (talk) 16:54, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree to a certain extent, and if you check the edit history you will see that sentence was altered by another editor. My wording was that there was no "conclusive evidence", wording I specifically chose because the scientific research section does actually elaborate on experiments that produced evidence suggestive of paranormal activity. I would prefer to see my original wording restored since I believe it was more neutral than what it has been changed to. Betty Logan (talk) 17:13, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I would support "conclusive evidence". Cusop Dingle (talk) 17:30, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
^Me too. — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 17:33, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I support "conclusive evidence" as well. Tom Butler (talk) 22:59, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Assuming this regards the phrase "but none of it has conclusively proven that communication with the dead has taken place," we should delete the phrase altogether unless it can be authoritatively sourced. It's not our place to evaluate whether the evidence is conclusive, inconclusive, marginal or whatever. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 23:09, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I've pulled the sentence since I think the overview of the experiments and their findings speak for themselves anyway, and I have altered the second sentence of the lead to reflect your concern. If you disagree with these alterations feel free to revert. Betty Logan (talk) 01:07, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, looks fine to me. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 17:18, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

The lead of this article has been chopped and changed many times without any attempt to check the cited sources. The OED definition of Mediumship is "The state or condition of being a spiritual medium; action or intervention as a spiritual medium". The ref was one I put in originally against the term Medium which the OED defines as "A person believed to be in contact with the spirits of the dead and to communicate between the living and the dead. Hence: a clairvoyant, a person under hypnotic control." As neither of quote bears much resemblance to where the ref had been moved to in the lead I've removed it. Mighty Antar (talk) 23:17, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

But now we have the situation I referred to above. The article states that "Mediumship is the ability of certain people—known as mediums—to contact spirits of the dead" (my emphasis) and then gives a list of notable mediums. In other words, Wikipedia is saying that these people did have the ability to contact the dead. This is very much in dispute. The lists now need to be qualified as "Notable people believed [or, claimed] to be mediums" Cusop Dingle (talk) 07:34, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Mediumship is "defined as" the ability to communicate with the dead. There is a difference. If we started the lead with this definition and that wording, Wikipedia wouldn't be saying it actually happens.
That should be immediately followed with the scientific and skeptical position.....that evidence for the actual ability has not been proven. -- Brangifer (talk) 07:42, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
So how do you propose describing all the people who claim to have the ability, on the assumption that there is no evidence that they (or indeed anyone) does? Cusop Dingle (talk) 12:25, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
By a descriptor that's indisputable (per your example above) - they claim to have the ability. The use of the word "claim" is not totally forbidden here at Wikipedia. -- Brangifer (talk) 16:35, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd opt for the OED definition: "a person believed to be in contact with the spirits of the dead", etc. since the context is Spiritualism/Spiritism and their terms, jargon, and claims all originate from "those who believe". NB: I'd also change the article title to "medium". Not sure why it's "mediumship" at present. - LuckyLouie (talk) 17:15, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Of course BullRangifer's is a logical solution. But it does involve replacing every occurrence of the word "medium" in this sense across Wikipedia by "claimed medium" or similar. Cusop Dingle (talk) 17:26, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it's that complicated. We just define it to begin with as someone who claims to have, or is believed to have, the ability to communicate with the dead (or something similar). Then we just use the word "medium" throughout the article. No qualifier is needed. -- Brangifer (talk) 03:40, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Notable mediumsEdit

  Resolved
 – Not an issue for further discussion in regard to this article

I have removed the following two paragraphs from the article:

Notable deceased mediums include: Clifford Bias, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Emma Hardinge Britten, Edgar Cayce, George Chapman, Florence Cook,[1] Andrew Jackson Davis, Jeane Dixon, Arthur Ford, the Fox sisters, Elizabeth "Betty" Grant, Daniel Dunglas Home, Swami Laura Horos, M. Lamar Keene, Dada Lekhraj, Ruth Montgomery, Eusapia Palladino, Leonora Piper, Paschal Beverly Randolph, Jane Roberts, Doris Stokes, Paul Solomon, Stanisława Tomczyk and Chico Xavier.
Notable living mediums include: Derek Acorah, Rosemary Altea, Marisa Anderson, Sylvia Browne, Chip Coffey, Allison DuBois, John Edward, Danielle Egnew, Divaldo Pereira Franco, Colin Fry, Esther Hicks, John of God, J. Z. Knight, Char Margolis, Sally Morgan, James Van Praagh, Gary Spivey, Tony Stockwell, Neale Donald Walsch, Darryl Anka, David Wells, and Lisa Williams.
  1. ^ Hall, Trevor H. (1963). The spiritualists: the story of Florence Cook and William Crookes. Helix Press.

Firstly, it's not clear how to describe these people (alleged mediums?). Secondly, it's not clear why these and so others are mentioned. Thirdly, if there is reason for a list it should be at List of persons believed to be mediums or similar. Fourthly, it is almost completely unsourced and that is not acceptable for living people. Cusop Dingle (talk) 12:31, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't think it's really necessary to have a list in the article, and throughout the article we do include notable examples for each type of mediumship, and I think that is ok if they are sourced in that capacity. If we are to have a list of mediums the best way to do it would be like the List of vegetarians article which acknowledges it is a list of people who are reported to be vegetarian; unless you're cooking their dinners you wouldn't know for sure so shouldn't word it as fact. It's really about how these people are identified more than anything else. Betty Logan (talk) 13:32, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
They are grouped together by their categories, and this article is also included in such categories, including Category:Spiritual mediums. Otherwise there is nothing to prevent the creation of a list where a short summary description can be included for each person. -- Brangifer (talk) 16:42, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I think there are two issues here, should we have a list and where should we have it? I don't think we should have a list in the article, because I don't think the subject really benefits from a roll-of-honor. The article needs to kept as factual as possible, based in definitions, case histories and scientific study. That said, I'm not against the existence of a list, but it would be better served as a list article in the way the vegetarians do theirs. The question then is what should we call such a list, if we decide to have one? My opinion would be to simply call it a List of mediums, rather than a List of alleged mediums, because they are not identified as alleged mediums, they are identified as mediums i.e. article titles reflect common usage, what the subject is commonly identified as. This is what the vegetarian article does, and in the lede it should be made explicitly clear that the subjects are only on the list by virtue of being reported to have mediumistic ability. Betty Logan (talk) 17:08, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Cusop Dingle (talk) 17:09, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Good solution, Betty. - LuckyLouie (talk) 17:16, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

It is a bad idea to itemize elements of a group rather than discussing the group. The list will endlessly grow and soon becomes unmanageable ... as it is now. For instance, there are at least four well-known physical mediums who are not on the list. But who is to say that a dozen or so lessor one should not also be on the list?

My vote would be to eliminate the list to avoid future problems. Tom Butler (talk) 18:26, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I have no objections to a list as suggested and titled by Betty, but with "notable" in the title: List of notable mediums. Notability is the issue, and the way it is handled on many other lists works quite well.....if they don't have an article here, they aren't notable enough to be on the list. They pass the "notability" requirement by having an article which is properly sourced. Go for it. -- Brangifer (talk) 03:47, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I think the convention is to not have "notable" in the title because that is a non-negotiable requirement for lists i.e. we can't have a list of non-notable mediums. I think there is a guideline about it somewhere, but basically it would just be called List of mediums and each entry would be required to be sourced and have their notability established by having an article on Wikipedia. Betty Logan (talk) 04:49, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
The two relevant guidelines for naming the list, and selection criteria are at WP:LISTNAME and WP:LSC. But basically they just spell out what I said above. Betty Logan (talk) 04:57, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good. Go for it. -- Brangifer (talk) 06:13, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Readers are not going to understand the criterion for being on the list. All they are going to see is that someone they like is not on the list. Having a good publicist is a pretty poor standard for inclusion.
In fact, there are a number of important mediums not on the list and not in the media who are amongst the very few in the English-speaking world able to publicly demonstrate physical phenomena in the seance room. I would not be so mean-spirited as to develop an article about them because I know it would be a battle to keep the snipers away. I expect a lot of gifted people sleep better at night knowing their is not the exposure of an article about them ... read the talk page for some of them.
Such a list serves no value toward an informative article. Tom Butler (talk) 18:11, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
The usual criterion for a list of notable anything is that they have a definable common characteristic and their own articles. Cusop Dingle (talk) 21:26, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps the usual criterion is inadequate. As I said, there is an apparent natural selection based on celebrity. If you have a list, then the "living" part should be labeled "Celebrity mediums." Tom Butler (talk) 22:06, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Does everyone at least agree that the list should at least not be shoehorned into this article? If so, then that's as far as this discussion needs to go. If someone choose to create a "List of mediums" then that is their prerogative, and any objections to its creation can take place in the context of an AfD discussion. Betty Logan (talk) 19:52, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Very happy with that conclusion. Mighty Antar (talk) 23:48, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Agree Tom Butler (talk) 00:53, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Article nameEdit

In my opinion, "Mediumship" is a poorly chosen title for this article. It forces the article to define 'what mediums do' then quickly shoehorn in 'what mediums are'. A better article title is "medium"; define 'what a medium is' followed by 'what they do'. "Mediumship" can then be a redirect to "medium", similar to how sainthood is treated. There's an old discussion that raised some valid points but never went anywhere. Good idea to revisit the topic. - LuckyLouie (talk) 17:37, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

A good proposal, but Medium is not available because of the multiple meanings. Medium_(spirituality) is the current redirect: is it appropriate? MartinPoulter (talk) 18:04, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh dear. Spirituality is very different from Spiritualism. Cusop Dingle (talk) 18:09, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
"Mediumship" is pretty specific to the subject while "medium" in this context needs to be distinguished from medium as in "medium of propagation," print medium" and "medium size." The subject is really mediumship, as in "there are many modes of mediumship which are all practiced by mediums." Tom Butler (talk) 18:11, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Looking at the history, I see that the earliest version of this article was indeed titled "Medium (spirituality)." The present article ("Mediumship") was originally created as a POV fork of "Medium". Later, "Medium (spirituality) was merged into "Mediumship" for reasons I can't quite fathom but apparently having to do with 'scientific parapsychology'(?). - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:45, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Qualifier--purported or supposedEdit

I would like to discuss which term is acceptable as a qualifier for these phenomena. My problem is the baggage "purported" carries. It is a negative term.

Merriam-Webster defines "purported" as: to have the often specious appearance of being, intending, or claiming (something implied or inferred) While "specious" is defined as: having a false look of truth or genuineness

In this context, "supposed" is based on "suppose" which is: to lay down tentatively as a hypothesis, assumption, or proposal or B: to hold an opinion: Believe <they supposed they were early>

"Supposed" is correct in this context to indicate that "Mediumship is believed to be...." While "purported" sound like "They foolishly claim...." Tom Butler (talk) 18:15, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I changed this on the basis that "supposed" sounded more negative than "purported" to me. Maybe this is a regional thing. The OED defines 'purported' as "Professed, alleged", while it defines 'supposed' as "Believed or thought to exist, or to be what the n. denotes, but uncertainly or erroneously." There are several options here: professed, proclaimed, reputed. Ideally we want a word that isn't associated with falsehoods. Betty Logan (talk) 18:33, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Earlier, I attempted to change the definition in the intro to the definition from a JSE article [3] "the term mediumship is defined as the supposed capacity that certain people--that is mediums--are said to have by which they can mediate communication between spiritual entities or forms and other human beings."
<ref name=Importance of a Psychosocial Approach for a Comprehensive Understanding of Mediumship," by Everton Maraldi, Fatima Regina Machado and Wellington Zangari> [http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/articles.html Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 181–196, 2010]</ref>
Because mediumship makes little sense if it is not referenced to the Survival Hypothesis, my last attempt to change the intro was: In the context of the survival hypothesis (the idea that consciousness survives bodily death), mediumship is defined as the supposed capacity that certain people have--that is mediums--which enables them to relay information from presumably survived consciousness to people still living in the physical [4]
The main objective of the qualifier is to explain what it is thought to be without saying it is real or imaginary. The article will remain unstable if it can be argued that Wikipedia is shown to be saying mediumship is real. There is going to be some kind of qualifier, but it should push the article toward "this is what is thought" rather than "This is what it is." Tom Butler (talk) 21:17, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the JSE is definining it correctly or neutrally though. Mediumship isn't the supposed capacity, it is the actual capacity to communicate with the dead—regardless of whether it is actually possible or not. If we define mediumship as the "supposed capacity" then what we are basically saying is that mediumship is real, because there is plenty of evidence of "supposed capacity"! Everyone who demonstrates these supposed abilities are mediums. Basically what we should be doing with this article is defining what mediumship is—which is defined as communicating with the dead, presenting claims of mediumship, and scientific scrutiny of those claims. I actually think the JSE definition is actually bang on if we removed the "supposed". Obviously it is important to note that mediumship is an alleged ability, which is what we should make clear straight after the definition. Betty Logan (talk) 21:43, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

"Mediumship isn't the supposed capacity, it is the actual capacity to communicate with the dead." Not exactly. That is what mediumship is thought to be, but there are alternative explanations for the veracity of the messages in mediumship. Below, are references to two of the most reasonable alternatives which were included in the Criticism section by me and quickly rejected as pushing ESP and using an unreliable source.

It is not yet possible to say with certainty that mediumship is contact with discarnate personalities. We are unable to shield for psi functioning. It may also be impossible pin an event to a moment in time. As one who often writes on this subject, I find that being objective necessitates talking about mediumship as the expression of a suite of abilities, some of which may be equally explained as psi functioning and not communication across the veil. Likelwise, the messages in mediumship are arguably biased by cultural conditioning.

While I will write with relative certainty that survival appears to be the best answer, I always try to pose that certainty in the frame of alternatives. Probably all mediumship is psi functioning, and based on current research, not all reported mediumship is transcommunication.

'''Super-psi hypothesis:''' An alternative to the survival hypothesis but one still dependent on a "paranormal" explanation is the Super-psi hypothesis. (Also known as Super-ESP) This hypothesis argues that the data of mediumship may be at least equally explained in terms of living agent psi (ESP and psychokinesis). <ref name=Super-Psi and the Survivalist Interpretation of Mediumship," by Michael Sudduth> [http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/articles.html Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 167–193, 2009]</ref>
'''Psychopathological:''' According to Almeida and Menezes, mediumistic experiences tend to be perceived by psychiatry as psychopathological manifestations including psychotic hallucinations and dissociative disorders. <ref name=Mental Health of Mediums and Differential Diagnosis between Mediumship and Mental Disorders," by Adair Menezes, Jr. and Alexander Moreira Almeida>[http://www.parapsych.org/blogs/carlos/entry/26/2011/10/paper_about_mediumship_and.aspx Abstract] [http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/articles.html(diff | hist) . . Trowbridge‎; 02:57 . . (+38) . . Moonraker (talk | contribs)‎ (→See also: ) , Vol. 25, No. 1, 2011, pp. 103-116]</ref>
Tom Butler (talk) 22:26, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I think it is clear that the conventional view of mediumship is that it is communication with the dead -- although there are divergent views on whether that is actually possible. There are several views as to what the phenomenon described as mediumship actually are. One is that it is, as claimed, communication with the dead. Another is that it is conscious and deliberate fraud; another that it is communication with evil spirits pretending to be sprits of the dead; another is that it is some form of paranormal mental ability; and so on. The question here is, how to describe mediumship given that there is a strong view that it is not what it is conventionally claimed to be (whatever else it is). Discussion of what else it might actually be is not relevant at this point. We are discussing how we should describe it, not what we think it is. Cusop Dingle (talk) 22:48, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the only way to frame this article from a neutral perspective is to treat it the same as any other religion or belief system. Just as with any other belief system, there is a long and checkered history with no major objective evidence to support the central claim, despite which the belief remains widespread. If you believe mediumship is possible, then in that context, a medium is someone who communicates with the dead in the same way that to a Catholic the Pope is unquestioned as God's spiritual authority on Earth and to a Christian the bible is a work of divine inspiration. The only difference is that outside of spiritualism there is no common term for people who share this particular belief so in stating what is a Medium, there has to be some kind of qualifier. Mighty Antar (talk) 00:29, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
No, that's going too far. The question of whether it is possible to communicate with the dead is at least capable of scientific investigation and experiment, although attempts to do so have not been very convincing. To believe it possible is not a religious point of view. To believe that it happens might be. Cusop Dingle (talk) 18:53, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
There are at least two perspectives to describe it from. (1) The Spiritualist, New Age, and pop culture 'belief' in which participants 'believe' that they are communicating with the dead is quite notable and has been covered by a decent number of independent reliable sources. (2) The relatively small amount of "investigation" within the marginalized field of parapsychology that is widely characterized as pseudoscience or ignored by academia is less notable with fewer reliable independent sources to cover it. It's really not up to us as editors to decide what we feel is possible or capable of scientific investigation. We simply report what's been covered in WP:RS. Going by our policies, we feature material in an article according to - and in proportion to - its notability and coverage by reliable sources: more coverage of (1) than (2), which seems to be roughly where the article stands now. (In fact that huge quote-section from Vernon Neppe's barely-notable essay at [5] should best be removed and summarized per WEIGHT and COPYVIO.)- LuckyLouie (talk) 19:50, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Any religion is capable of being scientifically investigated - or at least certain tenets central to the faith are. Mediumship is not a religion, but it is a belief system in the same way as Homeopathy is. The opening statement needs to be very clear that this is a belief system where some people are claiming to do something and where their is little scientific evidence to support what they claim to be doing. At the moment it states that they are doing it and then throws in another unsuppported sentence that this ability is only "purported". Mighty Antar (talk) 23:00, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

In light of substantial research on the subject, I would like you to show me how mediumship is like a religion or like homeopathy. The facts are very clear that veridical information is acquired under controlled conditions. At the least, the study is an emergent science.

I agree with others that the intro needs to reflect the body of the article, so let's table the intro for a few days and work on the body. What needs to be included? So far, there is Concept - History - Terminology - Psychic senses - Research - Criticism. How about an Examples section?

To begin, Mediumship is not just a Spiritualist concept, so the Concept section should probably be written to embrace more than just channeling. that is a good place to make a distinction between medium, psychic and such mundane skills as personology and cold reading (What mediumship is not). I have no idea where there are references that will not be rejected as fringe, however. Tom Butler (talk) 00:04, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

I think if we can get the lead to everyone's satisfaction that will set the tone of the article; the real problem here is that mediumship is a clearly definable term which isn't disputed, but the ability it pertains to is disputed, and that is what we want to get across. How about something like this where we have the first two sentences:
Mediumship is defined as the practice of certain people—known as mediums—to mediate communication between spiritual entities and other human beings. While some parapsychology research into the phenomenon has produced evidence that suggests communication with the deceased might have taken place, their findings have not been embraced by the mainstream scientific community. The practice is associated with several religious belief systems such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo, Umbanda and some New Age groups.
Betty Logan (talk) 00:09, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Because that would be as neutral as Mediumship is defined as the practice of certain people—known as mediums—to mediate communication between spiritual entities and other human beings. While no evidence has been found to support such claims using valid scientific methods, this lack of evidence has been disputed by the parapsychological community. The practice is associated with several religious belief systems such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo, Umbanda and some New Age groups. Mighty Antar (talk) 00:39, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I can live with that more or less, although it implicitly assumes that parapsychology inherently doesn't use established scientific methods, which may not be indicative of the whole field; I'd also like to get away from words such as 'claims' because it can be perceived as loaded terminology. How about this with a slight re-wording:
Mediumship is defined as the practice of certain people—known as mediums—to mediate communication between spiritual entities and other human beings. While no evidence has been found within mainstream scientific fields of study to support the view that the phenomenon is communication with the dead, some parapsychology research suggests that such communication may have taken place. The practice is associated with several religious belief systems such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo, Umbanda and some New Age groups.
Betty Logan (talk) 01:07, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I despise terms like "mainstream scientific fields of study." They imply that there's "mainstream science" for old fuddy-duddies and other "scientific fields of study" for spiritualists, dowswers and the like. There is "science," which follows scientific practice, and "other stuff," which doesn't. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:29, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Well ok, if you don't accept there is a divider (which I sort of agree with actually, since science is a process of peer review with a gradual degradation of rigor), how about:
Mediumship is defined as the practice of certain people—known as mediums—to mediate communication between spiritual entities and other human beings. While no evidence has been accepted by the wider scientific community in support of the view that the phenomenon is communication with the dead, some parapsychology research suggests that such communication may have taken place. The practice is associated with several religious belief systems such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo, Umbanda and some New Age groups.
Betty Logan (talk) 02:01, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I think that's an improvement. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:56, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Almost, how about:-

"Mediumship is defined as the practice of certain people—known as mediums—to mediate communication between spiritual entities and other human beings. While no evidence has been accepted by the wider scientific community in support of the view that mediumship is communication between the living and the dead, some parapsychology research suggests that such communication may have taken place. The practice is associated with several religious belief systems such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo, Umbanda and some New Age groups. Mighty Antar (talk) 14:10, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

The term, "mainstream" has always been a problem for the skeptical editors but there is precedence for its use, even in the Pseudoscience article. In fact, the beloved label of "fringe" has meaning only if there is a mainstream. Mainstream science is the orthodoxy, status quo, best practice--all of those viewpoints meaning accepted science and the view of the way things are. While for the most part it is usefully correct, it has little to do with actual science.

I prefer Betty's first version. Tom Butler (talk) 02:54, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Hey not bad, Betty and Antar, but plain English, please. Let's avoid buzzwords, and make sure there's in text attributions for NPOV. "Spiritual entities" = the dead. "Phenomenon" = practice of. "Research suggests" = parapsychologists say that some research suggests. Etc. - LuckyLouie (talk) 14:29, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Instead of "spiritual entities" perhaps we should clarify it as "spirits of the dead", just so it's clear the corpse of the dead person isn't present; also, scientists don't really dispute that mediumship is communication between the living and the dead, just that there is communication between the liivng and the dead. So with some further refinement:
Mediumship is defined as the practice of certain people—known as mediums—to mediate communication between spirits of the dead and other human beings. While no evidence has been accepted by the wider scientific community in support of the view that there has been communication between the living and the dead, some parapsychologists say that some of their research suggests that such communication may have taken place. The practice is associated with several religious belief systems such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo, Umbanda and some New Age groups.
In response to Tom's concerns above, I think the mainstream standpoint should take precedence, so we should introduce it first, ahead of the parapsychology view. Also, I think while we all agree and know what mainstream science is, by using the terminology we paint anything outside of the "mainstream" into the corner as a "fringe science", and I think that should be left to the article on parapsychology. Betty Logan (talk) 16:42, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
"The wider scientific community" works for me but pay attention to LuckyLouie's post. The phrase is likely to be contested by the likes of WikiProject Rational Skepticism.
The second meaning of LuckyLouie's post is that you will need to find acceptable references. He and others have already rejected one of the Journals I tried to us--the JSE. I will look for something that is acceptable.
I like your current suggestion (16:42) and I think it is clear enough for the reader ... good job. Tom Butler (talk) 17:59, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Tom, please don't speak on my behalf or try to explain my comments. Only I can do that. Thanks. - LuckyLouie (talk) 18:11, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I addressed your point and gave you credit. Based on past experience, the devil in your comment is the likelihood virtually all proposed references will be too fringe for some editors. Tom Butler (talk) 20:30, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Since this wording has been installed into the article without any objection/reverting I'll close this discussion. If anyone would prefer to continue it feel free to re-open it. Betty Logan (talk) 19:45, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
I've reopened it. "Is defined" is a redundancy. It adds nothing at all. I can't really follow the above meandering thoughts but either something is purported to be something or it is something. You seemed to be adding "defined" as a qualifier when it is just a weasel word Bhny (talk) 23:49, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

HypothesesEdit

The assertion Spiritualists believe that all phenomena produced by mediums (both mental and physical mediumship) is the result of external spirit agencies is sourced to Super-Psi and the Survivalist Interpretation of Mediumship By Michael Sudduth, published in Journal of Scientific Exploration 23 (2009). This may not be a reliable source for fringe matters, but of more concern to me at the moment is that it does not support the assertion anyway. The paper contrasts "survivalists" with believers in "super-psi", and the term "survivalist" does not appear to be equivalent to "spiritualist": indeed the assertion with "survivalist" in place of "spiritualist" appear to be a tautology. Cusop Dingle (talk) 21:15, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Speaking as somebody who has read 1000s of books and journals published by the SPR on this topic, I can say that the "survivalist hypothesis" = Spiritualist hypothesis there is no doubt about this, they mean the same thing, in recent years however the Survivalist hypothesis has replaced the "spiritualist hypothesis" as some of these investigators do not want to be associated with the religion of spiritualism. This is explained in detail in An Encyclopaedia of Occultism by Lewis Spence and well documented in other books and reports, the spiritualist hypothesis is little mentioned today, researchers prefer the word as Survivalist they also put other phenomena under that term aswell. GreenUniverse (talk) 18:44, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
Then please add some independent reliable sources supporting that assertion to the article. Cusop Dingle (talk) 19:05, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

What religious movements practice Mediumship?Edit

Hey guys,

I have a friend of mine who believes in "non-physical essences" and believes in The Law of Attraction, Esther Hicks, and Bashar, etc. He also believes in meditation and talking to the dead. So, what I am wondering is what religion or what form of religion practices these exact beliefs? If you could tell me that would be great because I want to learn more about it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.9.152.220 (talk) 04:47, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

RearrangeEdit

I'm going to try a rearrangement, but no change of content. Let's see how it looks. If anyone has questions about why, or disagrees, let's discuss it here. -- Brangifer (talk) 22:47, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Famous customers/believers in mediumsEdit

Is there an article or list here which contains such information? D. D. Palmer and A. T. Still come to mind. Palmer claimed to have received chiropractic from "the other world" through seances. -- Brangifer (talk) 00:11, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Category:Spiritualists will suffice. -- Brangifer (talk) 02:07, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Early human historyEdit

Is there anything to back up the statement 'Attempts to contact the dead date back to early human history'?--92.17.9.147 (talk) 22:37, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Platform mediumshipEdit

Currently the article twice uses the term "platform mediumship" without defining it. Would a knowledgeable person please find a reference and add it? Thanks. 129.219.155.89 (talk) 18:43, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

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Mediumship of angels or demonsEdit

not forum - Edaham (talk) 04:16, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

The word "medium" has the same ieigib and the same extent of meaning than the word "mediator": the medium is an human being which talks and has contact with any kind of other living and free entity which exists our of the human kind.

Let you search about "Medium OF ANGELS" and have a look to the results.

Even though there may be master spirits, dead people and so on in respect of the function, then in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faith there basically exist only two types of entities: angels and humans.

The difference is that angels are immortal as they can not have an human body (immortal because uncorporeous). All other differences related on what they know and what they do are derived by this main difference said above. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.253.53.27 (talk) 07:41, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

Spiritualistic research listed at Redirects for discussionEdit

An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Spiritualistic research. Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. signed, Rosguill talk 17:18, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

Content removed from the lede sectionEdit

"In reality, mediums merely apply a technique known as cold reading to deceive others into believing they have super natural powers. This is normally done for money." was removed from the lede section, I'm not clear why? This content is correctly sourced in the body of the article and the lede section summarises the body of the article. Theroadislong (talk) 10:50, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

The body is not quite this emphatic, it should be change to something like "Many mediums merely apply a technique known as cold reading to deceive others into believing they have super natural powers. This is normally done for money.".Slatersteven (talk) 13:12, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
But that seems to imply that other mediums don't? Theroadislong (talk) 13:22, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes as the body says "Research from psychology for over a hundred years suggests that where there is not fraud, mediumship and Spiritualist practices can be explained by hypnotism, magical thinking and suggestion.". So not not all mediums are frauds, they are just not in contact with the dead.Slatersteven (talk) 13:29, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

As I’m one of the editors that removed it, I’d be happy to comment, and thank you for bringing it here. There’s several reasons involved.
“In reality ...” implies that the preceding info is wrong when it isn’t.
Saying they only use cold reading is wrong. Other techniques have been used, like planting shills and spies in the mingling pre-show crowds, electronic devices to pass messages to the medium, and researching the mark before a show.
“Deceiving others” - some mediums may truly believe they have supernatural powers and are unconsciously picking up clues, with a lot of confirmation bias to support them.
“Done for money”. No, it’s sometimes done for altruistic motives.
And finally, even if true, this is not lede material.--Dmol (talk) 10:28, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

So it needs re-wording, but its clear that the fraud aspect is a major part of our article.Slatersteven (talk)
I think the new content is extremely non-neutral and the current wording of the lead already balances scientific skepticism and fraudulent practices. The phrase "In reality" is a form of WP:WEASEL wording. Psychic phenomena fails the scientific test in much the same way that religious beliefs fail historical tests i.e. only science can uncover the factual basis of psychic phenomena and as yet it has found no evidence of such phenomena. Now, I fully agree the scientific position should be prominent in the lead and would have no problem in elevating or expanding the third paragraph, and if editors want to added cold reading to the paragraph about fraud I have no problem with that either. My problem with the proposed edit is that it shifts the lead from a scientific/criminal basis to a true/false basis which is unencyclopedic. Betty Logan (talk) 11:21, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

Citations not providedEdit

I just did a rollback of a number of edits made by single editor providing information with virtually no citations. RobP (talk) 15:10, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

I have removed the list of fiction as well. There is a huge amount of fiction about mediumship and a comprehensive list would overwhelm the article. Such a list could potentially be interesting and can be established independently if it satisfies WP:LISTN. If not, a new sub-category at Category:Fiction about psychic powers would be viable alternative. Betty Logan (talk) 18:26, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

Peer-reviewed sourcesEdit

Yes, some mediums are fraudulent, but correlation does not equal causation. Many mediums are real as evidenced by scientific research. I placed peer-reviewed research published in academic journals, and my content was reverted. Not fair. There is scientific evidence that mediumship is genuine and communication with spirits is possible. Just because someone doesn't want to accept strict triple-blind laboratory evidence because they ideologically believe that mediumship is fraud, it doesn't make it right. Winbridge Research Center led by Dr Julie Beischel studied mediums under strict conditions to prevent cold reading, and certified 17 of them as genuine. All of the mediums certified by Windbridge Research Center were laboratory screened and tested using telephone readings. Winbridge Research Center Peer-Reviewed Research Articles relating to triple-blind laboratory testing mediums can be found here https://www.windbridge.org/peer-reviewed-research-articles/ 69.165.229.58 (talk) 18:42, 19 October 2020 (UTC)

This is where the problem lies.
A. You link to a batch of studies, not one, and expect us to dig.
B. https://windbridge.org/papers/BeischelBoccuzzzi2020JSEWPRPAQ.pdf is a survey of asnomalous beliefs and exceptional experiences, its not a blind test. http://www.tjics.org/index.php/TJICS/article/view/31/25 is about the use of mediums in assisting grief, its also not a blind study of their operations. So of the first two hits neither are peer reviewed studies of genuine mediums.Slatersteven (talk) 08:38, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

Mediumship is not a "pseudoscience"Edit

There have been changes to the lead initiated by a SPA, changing the opening sentence to define mediumship as a pseudo-science.

This is incorrect. Mediumship is a paranormal belief: at best a form of spiritualism not backed up by mainstream science, at worst a criminal practice. Mental disorders fall somewhere in between. Paranormal phenomena are often the subject of pseudo-science investigatory methods that sometimes offer a rationale or attempt to legitimise the phenomena, but the phenomena itself is not a "pseudo science". Regardless of the legitimacy of the act it is clearly defined: it is the act of communicating with/channeling the dead. This not in dispute regardless of where you stand on the issue; it is the definition. Wikipedia is not a scientific journal and the scientific basis of mediumship is just one perspective. Betty Logan (talk) 19:07, 17 January 2021 (UTC)


It appears there is some reluctance to having the fact that "mediumship" is pseudoscience in the article.

I've started this on the talk page to attempt to clarify this and reach a consensus.

First, what is pseudoscience?

From Wikipedia itself:

"Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method."

"Mediumship" appears to consist of a set of beliefs and practices that claim to be factual, but are incompatible with the scientific method. Hence, mediumship is pseudoscience.

The reason this is incompatible with the scientific method is due to the fact that there is no falsifiable hypothesis put forward. If that is not true, please refer to the relevant academic, peer reviewed literature on that matter. Otherwise, I suggest that basic logic is applied here and allows the facts to be presented as is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Flowcode (talkcontribs) 21:04, 17 January 2021 (UTC)

That is the wrong approach. See WP:OR. We do not think and reason about stuff and put the results of our thoughts and reasonings in articles. Instead, we repeat what reliable sources are saying. So, if you want to say that MS is PS, what you need to do is find reliable sources that say so. --Hob Gadling (talk) 21:30, 17 January 2021 (UTC)
This is very simple. By not stating that mediumship is pseudoscience, you are implying it is something else than pseudoscience. Do you see a problem with this? Is mediumship science? No? Well, then it is pseudoscience. The casual reader might not understand this. There is no need for a reliable source to make this claim. To put forward the claim that simply defining something as a category of pseudoscience is original research creates a whole new meaning of the word "research". This is simply putting something in its correct category, that, by itself, is not research.Flowcode (talk) 21:57, 17 January 2021 (UTC)
Something is not automatically defined as pseudoscience simply because it does not have a scientific basis. Pseudoscience is the specific practice of providing alternative explanations that contradict science, such as climate change denial or alternative medicine, both of which often invoke pseudoscience (although not always). Parapsychology has often been accused of practising pseudoscience, and sometimes makes the case for the legitimacy of mediumship. Mediumship, however, does not advance explanations or utilise the "scientific method", it advances a spiritual claim/belief which is subject to scientific, medical and criminal investigation. You are advancing WP:Original research. Secondly, Wikipedia is not a scientific journal, it is an encylopedia. Per MOS:OPEN "the first paragraph should define or identify the topic with a neutral point of view, but without being too specific." Mediumship has a clear definition, regardless of whether it has any basis in fact. Betty Logan (talk) 06:21, 18 January 2021 (UTC)
It is even simpler than that. I told you what to do: Find a reliable source saying it is pseudoscience. There is no other way. Please read the relevant Wikipedia rules pages, starting with WP:OR. Another page that would be relevant for you is WP:IDHT. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:14, 18 January 2021 (UTC)
Actually. It is even simpler than all of this. You guys are simply protecting the article by abusing WP:OR. Stating that this is pseudoscience is not a "discovery" or any kind of research, it is merely semantics, similarly to rewriting the statement that scientific studies have shown that there is no merit whatsoever to "mediumship". It has no falsifiable hypothesis, yet it makes outrageous claims about the physical nature. That is pseudoscience. You simply don't like the fact that this is pseudoscience, so whenever it shows up, you feel annoyed and wish to revert it. However, your feelings on the matter, doesn't change facts. You yourself state that "Pseudoscience is the specific practice of providing alternative explanations that contradict science", mediumship, which is completely incompatible with modern physics, and doesn't even offer a properly defined mechanism (except to state it exists!) to explain how exactly mediumship works, is also psueodscience. I cannot explain it any more clearly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Flowcode (talkcontribs) 16:55, 18 January 2021 (UTC)
(OR) I am not sure this is any more pseudoscientific than any other form of faith. (now policy-based) do RS call it pseudoscience?Slatersteven (talk) 12:51, 18 January 2021 (UTC)
As far as I can tell that is the editor's own opinion. I can't access the sources he keeps adding in, but they appear to be psychology texts that no doubt discuss mediumship in terms of psychological theory. Even if a reliable source can be found that defines it as pseudoscience that doesn't justify relegating the main definition: the articles at Creationism and Flat Earth are both still defined in the opening sentence, despite the factually flawed premise. Betty Logan (talk) 13:31, 18 January 2021 (UTC)
Mediumship is just as factually flawed as Creationism and Flat Earth. Mediumship, creationism, and "flat earth" all make bold statements which violate the laws of physics, statements which any application of Occams Razor will prune away. If you disagree, I welcome you to demonstrate the difference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Flowcode (talkcontribs) 17:08, 18 January 2021 (UTC)
Flat-earth has a testable premise that scientific investigation can disprove. Creationism is a bit tougher, but some of the claims (like the Earth being 6,000 years old) are testable. That is not the case with mediumship. For some occurrence to "violate" the laws of physics science must be able to disprove the occurrence. Mediumship has more in common with prayer, but with bells and whistles. Would we describe a prayer as "pseudoscience" or "imaginary"? No, because it is a spiritual belief with no testable premise. Betty Logan (talk) 22:56, 18 January 2021 (UTC)
"Mediumship" is a term used primarily by proponents, so you won't find an independent scholarly source that includes the sentence "mediumship is pseudoscience'. Such sources more commonly address the topic in the context of "psychic mediums" or "contact with the dead", etc. And there are plenty of them characterizing it as pseudoscience: [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]. - LuckyLouie (talk) 18:11, 19 January 2021 (UTC)
I am sorry but these sources do not characterise "mediumship" itself as "pseudoscience". Let's take your first source: "How does one test a medium...First attempts were pseudoscientific and simply involved having a medium talk to a relative of the deceased." In this case the pseudoscience relates to the test of the medium. The second source notes that a "number of distinguished scientists examined various mediums" and discusses flawed test conditions, but at no point characterises the act of channeling the dead as pseudoscience. The third source actually characterises mediumship as "spiritualism" and compares it to "weird science" in how captured the imagination of the public. Texts about pseudoscience will often discuss mediumship because pseudoscientific methods are often employed by paranormal investigators and parasychologists. What is clear from these sources is that a lot of research into mediumship is characterised as pseudoscience, but mediumship itself is something that is clearly defined and mostly characterised as spiritualism or fraud. Betty Logan (talk) 20:02, 19 January 2021 (UTC)
Yup, Christianity makes a lot of claims about God, angels, demons, effectiveness of prayer, and so on, but Christianity is not pseudoscience, it is non-science. Tgeorgescu (talk) 06:52, 20 January 2021 (UTC)
Parapsychology is a pseudoscience. Mediumship is one of the concepts used within that pseudoscience, like psychokinesis or remote viewing. Those are not pseudosciences themselves, they are pseudoscientific concepts or ideas. --Hob Gadling (talk) 08:43, 22 January 2021 (UTC)
  • Mediumship is testable. You say you can communicate with my dead grandfather? Tell me something only he would know. You say you can predict the future? Go ahead. Write down specific predictions that are unlikely to be lucky guesses. Many people have performed these tests. No psychic abilities have been demonstrated. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:05, 22 January 2021 (UTC)
    The act of mediating is testable (and hence the exposure of fake mediums), but the concept is not. Science can disprove the Earth is flat, science can disprove it was created 6,000 years ago, it cannot disprove that it is possible to talk to the dead, as a concept. Otherwise why would active research in this area persist if the concept were disprovable? Even if a real medium existed, how would it prove their ability beyond doubt if they told you something "only your grandfather would know"? This, ironically, is a popular pseudo-scientific test utilised by advocates of mediumship. You could end up with a situation similar to the Nicole Kidman film, Birth, where a young boy claims to be the reincarnation of her deceased husband. Everyone ends up being fooled but it turns out the boy obtained her husband's diary. By rejecting the notion that mediumship is pseudoscience, I am not advocating for it; as a matter of fact I don't believe in it, but there lies the rub: this is something I do not believe in. Betty Logan (talk) 15:45, 22 January 2021 (UTC)


The article is not neutralEdit

This article violates WP:NPOV.

Most readers will only read the introduction, and the introduction, the first abstract, appears to suggest that talking to the dead, is actually possible.

This is an outrageous statement. The very same article lists numerous scientific references which demonstrate that such a thing is not possible.

Finally, in the third paragraph, which many casual readers might never bother reading, it is stated that "An experiment undertaken by the British Psychological Society led to the conclusion that the test subjects demonstrated no mediumistic ability.[8]".

The scientific opinion is given no authority. It is as if, mere anecdotal stories and gossip is given as much weight, actually, more weight, than the scientific consensus.

This is obviously outrageous, and any attempt at protecting this is blatant abuse and twisting of the Wikipedia rules in favor of a subjective preference as to what should be in the article. This is NOT NETURAL. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Flowcode (talkcontribs) 17:06, 18 January 2021 (UTC)

Yes. We are biased.Edit

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, once wrote:

"Wikipedia’s policies ... are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals – that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.
What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'. It isn’t.[11] [12] [13] [14]"

So yes, we are biased.

We are biased towards science and biased against pseudoscience.
We are biased towards astronomy, and biased against astrology.
We are biased towards chemistry, and biased against alchemy.
We are biased towards mathematics, and biased against numerology.
We are biased towards medicine, and biased against homeopathy.
We are biased towards venipuncture, and biased against acupuncture.
We are biased towards solar energy, and biased against esoteric energy.
We are biased towards actual conspiracies and biased against conspiracy theories.
We are biased towards cargo planes, and biased against cargo cults.
We are biased towards vaccination, and biased against vaccine hesitancy.
We are biased towards magnetic resonance imaging, and biased against magnetic therapy.
We are biased towards crops, and biased against crop circles.
We are biased towards laundry detergent, and biased against laundry balls.
We are biased towards augmentative and alternative communication, and biased against facilitated communication.
We are biased towards water treatment, and biased against magnetic water treatment.
We are biased towards mercury in saturated calomel electrodes, and biased against mercury in quack medicines.
We are biased towards blood transfusions, and biased against blood letting.
We are biased towards electromagnetic fields, and biased against microlepton fields.
We are biased towards evolution, and biased against creationism.
We are biased towards holocaust studies, and biased against holocaust denial.
We are biased towards the sociology of race, and biased against scientific racism.
We are biased towards the scientific consensus on climate change, and biased against global warming conspiracy theories.
We are biased towards geology, and biased against flood geology.
We are biased towards medical treatments that have been proven to be effective in double-blind clinical trials, and biased against medical treatments that are based upon preying on the gullible.
We are biased towards astronauts and cosmonauts, and biased against ancient astronauts.
We are biased towards psychology, and biased against phrenology.
We are biased towards mendelism, and biased against lysenkoism.

And we are not going to change.

--Guy Macon (talk) 00:42, 21 January 2021 (UTC)

Yup, but you wouldn't say that Christianity, Islam and Hinduism are pseudoscience. There lies the rub. I'm sympathetic to calling mediumship "fraud", but it still is a religious practice (not psychic pay phone lines, those are a business). Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:09, 22 January 2021 (UTC)
When someone in Christianity, Islam or Hinduism makes a claim that is outside of science ("God exists" or "you go to heaven when you die" for example) we treat it as religion and not pseudoscience. When supposedly scientific claims are made by members of those religions (Creation science, Energy (esotericism), Islamic exorcism, Hindu cosmology) we treat those claims as religious pseudoscience. We have an article on this: Relationship between religion and science. You will note that my "yes, we are biased" list contains zero purely religious beliefs. -Guy Macon (talk) 03:22, 22 January 2021 (UTC)
Yes, because some people tried to make science or medical science out of the Bible, supernatural magic, the Quran and the Vedas. But, generally speaking, psychics do not pretend to do science. So, it could be very well fraud, but they have to claim they are doing science in order to be pseudoscience. It does not apply to Ayurveda and acupuncture, because their proponents pretend those are backed up by scientific research, so those are pseudoscience exactly because they claim those are supported by modern science. Tgeorgescu (talk) 03:47, 22 January 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure where exactly pseudoscience fits into this article, perhaps not in the first sentence of the lead, but it can be mentioned somewhere, given the number of sources that discuss it in the context of pseudoscience [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]. If mediumship is primarily a religious belief, I'm not sure which religion it is a tenet of. If it is Spiritualism, then the opening sentence might clarify this, e.g. "In Spiritualism, mediumship is the practice of...." - LuckyLouie (talk) 22:44, 22 January 2021 (UTC)
I didn't feel like commenting here before but since I see reality-based editors disagreeing, I too agree that it's not black and white... As was stressed above, we first need sources, then they probably are about specific aspects that are obviously pseudoscience. A number of divination systems are pseudoscientific (this includes numerology, astrology and tarot for instance). The "criminal" mention is also interesting and studies have demonstrated that horoscopes and mediums often play on simple psychology related to things like confirmation bias and generalizations, that independent observers can see as a type of deception or fraud. Some practitioners may not know themselves, some may also trick themselves into grandiose beliefs and some may also throw in interpretations of hallucinations achieved by substances or other means, use creative intuition, etc. For practical reasons context is important and any mention of pseudoscience could be specific to aspects that have been called such by sources... —PaleoNeonate – 01:39, 23 January 2021 (UTC)
Well put. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:28, 23 January 2021 (UTC)

First sentenceEdit

In light of recent edit warring, I want to point out that I can understand why the phrase “the practice of purportedly” seems wrong structurally, however the alternative proposed with its odd parenthetical was not an improvement to the existing lead. - LuckyLouie (talk) 13:42, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

It's a semantic thing. I think we are all trying to say the same thing but disagree on the sentence structure. The reason I reverted is because the "practice" is a real, tangible event that occurs (so the practice itself is not "purported"), but rather the function of the practice is what is disputed. There is no reason to parenthesise the word, the only real question is whether the "purported" should come before or after the practice. I'm no grammar expert so I am happy to be corrected on this issue. Betty Logan (talk) 14:17, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
I agree with you, Betty, which is why I reverted the recent changes. I would urge the other editor to discuss the issue here rather than further edit war. - LuckyLouie (talk) 14:21, 25 February 2021 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree that we are ultimately trying to say the same thing. But I do not think the real, tangible, event you are identifying, Betty, is the same as the "practice": going through the motions involved in the practice might not be sufficient for actually being engaged in the practice. For a comparatively stark example, there is a just as real and tangible of an event when a parrot says "I do" as when a person says "I do"--but the person is engaged in the practice of getting married, or promise-keeping, or whatever, and the parrot is not. This shows that even if a practice involves a certain event, an event is not the same as a practice. I take it that this is a point that both putative practitioners of mediumship and deniers would accept. We don't want it to be the case that, say, "purporting to be a medium between the living and the dead", qualifies as mediumship, do we? I take it that neither believers nor disbelievers would accept that: disbelievers wouldn't accept it, since that means they couldn't question whether someone possesses mediumship, and believers wouldn't accept, since surely they do not think that just anyone who goes through the movements involved in the practice (embodying a real tangible event), thereby successfully engages in the practice (the function not really ultimately being separable from what the practice is in this case, since satisfaction of the function is a measure of whether one is genuinely engaging with the practice). But if "purporting" belongs within the scope of "practice" this result is grammatically unavoidable. The only way I know how to fix it is by placing "putative" or "purported" outside the scope of practice and have it modify practice. I wholeheartedly agree that this is not as stylistically elegant as a sentence, but it is grammatically correct nonetheless, and it makes a relevant difference in meaning. Anyway, that's my two cents--obviously not everyone will agree.Caaalebbb (talk) 23:58, 26 February 2021 (UTC)
I take it that neither believers nor disbelievers would accept that. Wikipedia isn’t concerned with what either group accepts. It’s only concerned with reflecting what WP:RS say about the topic. - LuckyLouie (talk) 02:06, 27 February 2021 (UTC)
I like "practice of purportedly mediating communication" but I promise I won't lose sleep over whatever is decided. Sgerbic (talk) 04:03, 27 February 2021 (UTC)
I agree that in characterizing, for example, the eating habits of a cheetah, what people accept or don’t accept doesn’t matter: the facts are what they are absolutely independently of what anyone thinks. But in characterizing a human practice, where part of what it is to participate in that practice is to understand oneself under the idea of that practice, it does matter what people “would accept” as a description of the idea under which would-be practitioners act. I was only drawing attention to the neutrality and universality of the point I was making, by noting that all parties to the dispute would accept the uncomplicated point that, however we understand the would-be practice of mediumship, we can coherently question whether a self-described medium really is a medium.24.131.18.38 (talk) 15:47, 27 February 2021 (UTC)
OK, just making sure you understand the encyclopedia's editorial policies. New or infrequent editors sometimes have trouble understanding how NPOV applies (e.g. WP:NOTNEUTRAL), especially when dealing with WP:FRINGE topics. In this case, the encyclopedia leans toward the viewpoint of the several academic independent sources that explicitly characterize claims of communication between the living and the dead as false, unsubstantiated, or pseudoscientific. So we have no problem being explicit in the text of our encyclopedic definition. Someone who claims to mediate communication between spirits of the dead and living human beings is known as a "medium". We might take a closer look at our cited sources to see how they use the word "mediumship", if they define it as a process, a practice, a quality, or something else, i.e. non-independent sources have referred to it as a quality (e.g. "John Smith possessed a high degree of mediumship"). - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:11, 27 February 2021 (UTC)

ClaimEdit

WP:CLAIM says, To write that someone asserted or claimed something can call their statement's credibility into question, by emphasizing any potential contradiction or implying a disregard for evidence. That is exactly what we should do in this case, because of WP:FRINGE. We will not assume a some-say-this-some-say-that stance regarding to fantasy subjects such as spirits and soothsaying. So, "claim" is the best word here. --Hob Gadling (talk)

"Claim" is not an appropriate word to use unless it is attributed. When we discuss the scientific evidence for and against mediumship then claims should be clearly attributed as per MOS:WEASEL. When the article discusses mediumship as a spiritual belief then it should be discussed in the same neutral language that is used to commentate on other spiritualistic beliefs and religions. Betty Logan (talk) 09:37, 6 October 2021 (UTC)
It is pretty obvious that the people who claim to be able to do stuff are the ones who claim to be able to do stuff. THe article now has this weird construction where the claims are made by nobody specific: "is claimed to", but it should not. --Hob Gadling (talk) 10:13, 6 October 2021 (UTC)
Words like "purported" and "profess" are completely synonymous in meaning with terms like "claim" and "allege", but don't carry the negative connotations of intentional dishonesty, which begs the question why we would choose the latter over the former. I am getting the impression that you favor them precisely because of the negative connotations. Ideally, it should not be possible to tell which side of the debate somebody is on if they have employed neutrally worded prose. Betty Logan (talk) 10:27, 6 October 2021 (UTC)
Yep, I can go with "purported" and "profess".Slatersteven (talk) 11:30, 6 October 2021 (UTC)

Betty Logan messaged me on my talk page about my edits on this article and suggested that I respond on her TP. I think we can talk about this here instead, since there are other editors involved.

  • On my edit, I tried to make the article less credulous-sounding, which, AFAIK, is the way to make things less biased in the WP world. One of the changes I made, for example: the article was saying that there are "sensitives" who are able to "hear spirit" (sic?). The claim that people are actually "sensitives" (in the sense that they indeed "sense" things) and that they actually do "hear spirit" are WP:FRINGE and should not be stated in WP voice. The objective, NPOV, way to describe this, is that people call them "sensitives", and they say that they "hear spirit". Hence my edits. My changes were reverted with the edit summary "WP:WEASEL". But read the text in WEASEL. It has nothing to do with what I did. My phrasing wasn't aimed at creating an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated. If anything, I made it clearer. WEASELing is what the former US president did when he said that "there are a lot of people saying that my government is going down in History as one of the best ever" or whatever nonsense he was peddling. My edits were nothing to that effect.
  • On your next edit, the summary was something about "including skepticism in WP voice". To which I responded in my following edit summary, and I repeat: there is nothing wrong with including skepticism about FRINGE topics in WP voice.
  • The message left on my TP said that (...) we try hard to make sure articles have a neutral point of view. Your recent edit to Mediumship seemed less than neutral (...). I beg to differ. The text before my edits wasn't neutral, it was credulous, it was FRINGE-biased. My edit, by giving less WP:WEIGHT to the WP:PROFRINGE ideas previously present, made it more neutral and more in line with NPOV.
  • Finally, the current state of affairs with "are claimed to hear spirits" and "it is claimed that the channeler leaves their body" is really weird. It is not that "they are claimed to" do such things. They claim to. VdSV9 13:55, 8 October 2021 (UTC)
It is weirdly worded, but it was you who mangled the sentence, by replacing neutral words with synonymous ones which carried negative connotations. There is no semantic difference between "profess" and "claim" in the way the words are used in the sentence, and therefore no reason for altering them, unless of course your intention is for the article to have an "unbelieving" tone rather than a skeptical one. Betty Logan (talk) 20:31, 8 October 2021 (UTC)

Garbage in, garbage outEdit

The sources which I have removed do not fulfill WP:REDFLAG, and are thus not reliable sources.

As I have stated before, Let's say that there is a correlation between electricity consumption in Bijlmer and the flow rate of Niagara Falls. What does that prove? Nothing, I guess. It's just a spurious statistical correlation having no plausible causal mechanism. So, we have causal claims that defy everything else from sciences, and causal claims which don't defy most of established science. See organized skepticism. tgeorgescu (talk) 04:38, 14 February 2022 (UTC)