Monday, December 15, 2008

Halifax! Wiki, Wiki!

Well, I've signed onto Akusai's starting up wiki, about foundational assumptions behind different sorts of woo. One foundational assumption I'm thinking about (and Tom's got a somewhat relevant post on that): "The perfect conspiracy," which is the idea that million-man conspiracies where no one tattles or slips up are possible.

(Link removed, since Akusai's not going public, yet. Still got details to work out.)


Don said...

Ack! I wasn't planning on going public so quickly. I wanted to get a good base built up before we went officially live.

Bronze Dog said...

Oops. I can delete if you'd like me to.

Don said...

Thanks. It's kind of like a "Don't look! Don't look! It's only halfway done!" thing.

I should have just told you when I invited you what my plans were, so it's my fault.

Lifewish said...

Hmm, are we talking something like The Golden Bough in wiki form?

Cos if so then... damn.

MWchase said...

It seems more generally focused on beliefs and claims, with, I think, some stuff about, say, fallacies, common techniques in debates, etc.

Sort of an attempt to comprehensively lay out the different MOs of woo, it looks like to me.

Don said...

Actually, I'm purposely avoiding debate techniques and fallacies. There are resources enough for that. This wiki is very specific: digging out the untenable but foundational claims of various forms of woo and giving a cross-referenced resource for them.

So someone comes across some acupuncture woo and hope to the Foundations of Woo wiki to the acupuncture article, and sees that it requires the following scientifically untenable assumptions:

Supernatural "energy"
Natural/Supernatural Interactions

and why it requires them. Clicking on the assumptions themselves will go to a page explaining why those assumptions are untenable, and giving a list of all the woo in which they play a part.

Thus they can go back to their acupuncture woo and say "Your woo requires these things to be true if it is to be true, and they aren't true because of so and so," all because of our handy little quick-reference wiki.

It's not just another all-purpose skeptical wiki, but an attempt to create a reference for succinct refutations based on woo first principles, so to speak.

Clint Bourgeois said...

Sounds like a cool idea to me.

I know single sources are to be frowned upon, but sites like Talk Origins are a great one stop resource for quick information on debunking lousy arguments.