|This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.|
Patent nonsense refers simultaneously to unique and wonderful claims that occur only in this Wikipedia article and perhaps some pet web sites affiliated with the author, and to the view that scientific or historical peer review of the material would take. Examples of patent nonsense include:
- Most claims of human origins, including the acceptance of evolutionary theory as 'true', rather than as a useful model, which is as far as science ever goes - in general evolutionary claims should be neutralized as to language so that they do not imply any knowledge of 'truth', and non-evolutionary claims should be so heavily qualified as to disclaim them.
- Religious levels of belief in w:mathematics or w:physics, including the use of appropriated terms, e.g. w:Theory of Everything, w:Standard Model, or the claim that w:mathematics has some monopoly on beauty or truth, or that some abstract structure can ultimately provide w:foundations of mathematics. Where an overly-general term is sadly in common use, that use should be limited and qualified heavily, and links to disclaimers, e.g. w:scientism, w:mathematical fetishism, w:sacred geometry, ought to be included. Those in the physics and mathematics community who object to this neutralizing process, should advocate avoidance of terms that seem to claim truth or completeness in the physics and mathematics community itself.
- Overly general claims about what broad groups of people, e.g. w:Muslims, "believe" or "must accept". These are not appropriate for any group except insofar as the label itself implies such acceptances. An historical relationship is not enough to draw such conclusions of all people of a given ethnic or religious group, one must be able to point to doctrines or theories that they have accepted by accepting the label.
- Sexist claims that cannot be backed up by solid accredited research, e.g. 'men are better at...', 'women tend to...', 'boys are likely...'. Researchers tend to make very limited and statistical claims, and it is necessary to likewise limit and use statistical language when citing them.
- Any theory that is not published and cannot be traced back to a source that can be named, or to a community that can be easily communicated with to verify that they use a term as a term of art, published or not. This does not necessarily mean that the term must be undisputed, or is 'owned' by the first to use it, but any dispute on its use must be reported in the article.
- Most conspiracy theory - with the exception of those that came to trial or were the subject of extensive investigations by accredited authorities or investigators, e.g. the GM purchase of LA's streetcar lines and their dismantling as GM lobbied to build freeways, is not a 'conspiracy' but an established fact. Likewise the w:Iran-Contra deal occurred, although who authorized it remains a matter of controversy.
- Popular misconceptions without qualification, e.g. that w:Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone - when a Court found that w:Elisha Gray had invented it (but upheld Bell's patent!).
- US- or UK- or English-language-speaking-centric views of politics or science, e.g. crediting English speaking scientists with discoveries that are widely acknowledged to have been made by other cultures first.
- Citing people as having had views or accepted labels that they explicitly rejected, e.g. w:Hilary Putnam said he was not a "Platonist", despite the article on w:philosophy of mathematics which wrongly equates these terms. Likewise calling w:Hitler a w:socialist, given his explicit statement on taking power that his party (despite its name) would not carry out any socialist economic policies (which in fact they did, but did not call them by that name).
- "America is a democracy and the greatest country on the planet and the greatest supporter of peace and goodwill and human rights and the greatest ever and it would never ever throughout any of its history never ever torture anybody." - example of patent nonsense noted in w:Talk:War on Terrorism. Wikipedia is not a John Wayne movie. Give critics of America weight they deserve.
- Scientific people from all over the world proved human races do exist (Ref? "Scientists have shown that..." = Patent nonsense). Consequently racism exists. Since races exist, racism can exist. Further, racism provably existed and exists. Thus, any articles dealing with racism, racist insults or race itself are permitted in Wikipedia.
- There should likely be a distinction between race, racial, and racist. There is too quick a jump between race and racism here. Race does not imply racism, per se, but racial distinctions. Race -> racism = patent nonsense.
- (what else?)