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Keble
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« on: December 17, 2005, 10:09:38 AM »

Back over in yet another go-'round on Chalcedon, the following response was made:

Just for further clarification, Wikipedia should not be your definitive source for ANYTHING.

Curiously enough, just Wednesday there was an article in Nature comparing Wikipedia and the Brittanica, and finding that they were about as good. That's consonant with my experience; as a ready reference it is pretty good.

In the case of the article in question, however, the very first thing on the page after the title is the dreaded red stop sign and the words "The neutrality of this article is dusputed." And indeed a genuinely scholarly examination of the issue would never use the word "Saint".

Careful reading of the style is in order too. The article on Leo the Great, for instance, is copied word-for-word from a 1890's encyclopedia of religion found in CCEL. The language gives it away.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2005, 10:37:00 AM »

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the very first thing on the page after the title is the dreaded red stop sign and the words "The neutrality of this article is dusputed." And indeed a genuinely scholarly examination of the issue would never use the word "Saint".
 


Is there really such a thing as a "neutral article"? Each writes from a particular bias or perspective, and although the use of honory titles may be an indication of the nature of one's particular bias or perspective, it is absolutely irrelevant to the crux of the matter; that is: is one's particular bias or perspective in and of itself "neutral" by virtue its harmony with the objective facts (the only valid basis upon which the term "neutrality" can be assigned to a particular article, and which is ultimately up to the judgement of the reader who needs to be critical in his/her approach to any and all arguments made and conclusions drawn, even as presented by an encyclopedia)?

In this context, although the use or non-use of honory titles, may be deemed "appropriate" or "inappropriate" in certain contexts (depending on the target audience), it is of negligible relevance when considering the "neutrality" of a particular article on any significant level i.e. with respect to the truth of the matter.

+Irini nem ehmot

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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2005, 07:13:02 AM »

I guess I can see the points of both. On the one hand, it's good to try and look at the evidence from a vantage point that is not tied to certain beliefs. On the other hand, in many ways such a bias is unavoidable. Personally, I would rather just take the bias and have an admittance by the authors of bias, rather than pretending a work is something it's not. To be frank, one of the things that irritates me about Jordanville's publications is that they are supposed to be this revered, conservative entity, yet if you read the books they publish, their footnotes, introductions, etc. come off as far less conservative than the publications of entities normally deemed much more "moderate".
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2005, 01:37:33 PM »

Which publication are speaking of like that from Jordanville?
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2005, 07:56:46 PM »

Curiously enough, just Wednesday there was an article in Nature comparing Wikipedia and the Brittanica, and finding that they were about as good. That's consonant with my experience; as a ready reference it is pretty good.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a joke.   Wiki is better than the "general knowledge" Britannica but the "Macropedia" Britannica articles are generally light-years better than Wiki.  Which is not to say Wiki is bad; it'll usually give you the raw basics of the subject.  But don't generally expect more than the basics from it.  (I will admit however that the article on Judge Dredd was quite good)
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Happy 450th birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!


« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2005, 12:45:28 AM »

Regarding Jordanville, I don't have a lot of things that spring to mind right away, I guess it's things like not calling Saints "Saint X," which they do (for example) in their translation of The Arena by St. Ignatius. Fwiw, "irritate" was too strong a word for me to have used in my last post, a better word would have been dissappointed.

Regarding Wiki, one other problem is that you can come across very different information about the same subject depending on where you look. Last night, I was looking up population figures for the biggest Metro areas in the world, and sometimes would get wildly different numbers depending on which page/list I was reading. For example, this article has Dhaka listed as having a population of over 20 million, while this article says that it's metro population is 12.56 million. The second article does say that "this is a controversial issue rather difficult to quantify," but 7.5 million people is still quite a substantial difference! SmileyÂÂ  I do appreciate the time people put into the project though, and have found it amazingly helpful as a research aid when trying to get general overviews or ballpark estimates of things.
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2005, 03:34:25 AM »

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Regarding Jordanville, I don't have a lot of things that spring to mind right away, I guess it's things like not calling Saints "Saint X," which they do (for example) in their translation of The Arena by St. Ignatius. Fwiw, "irritate" was too strong a word for me to have used in my last post, a better word would have been dissappointed.

Have you read the Arena in the orginal Russian, in order to compare it?
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Happy 450th birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!


« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2005, 12:44:23 PM »

Not yet.  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2005, 02:14:02 PM »

Is there really such a thing as a "neutral article"? Each writes from a particular bias or perspective, and although the use of honory titles may be an indication of the nature of one's particular bias or perspective, it is absolutely irrelevant to the crux of the matter; that is: is one's particular bias or perspective in and of itself "neutral" by virtue its harmony with the objective facts (the only valid basis upon which the term "neutrality" can be assigned to a particular article, and which is ultimately up to the judgement of the reader who needs to be critical in his/her approach to any and all arguments made and conclusions drawn, even as presented by an encyclopedia)?

If each writes according to their own biases-- a point which I dispute anyway-- it remains the case that some biases are more biased than others. There are objective standards for scholarly writing, and in an encyclopedia article one is expected to remain within them. Hagiographic titles are to be omitted, and that's just the end of the discussion.

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In this context, although the use or non-use of honory titles, may be deemed "appropriate" or "inappropriate" in certain contexts (depending on the target audience), it is of negligible relevance when considering the "neutrality" of a particular article on any significant level i.e. with respect to the truth of the matter.


I don't agree. If one cannot play by the trivial rules of the game, then it can be presumed (until proven otherwise) that one isn't playing by the more important rules. The copious use of the word "saint" is a sign of the provenance of this text as a Coptic position paper.

P.S. I don't use the Catholic Encyclopedia as an authoritative reference for anything other than RC positions on issues either.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2005, 02:55:34 PM »

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If one cannot play by the trivial rules of the game, then it can be presumed (until proven otherwise) that one isn't playing by the more important rules.


If I were to reproduce the very same article without the hagiographical titles, would it be any more trustworthy and reliable according to the arguments presented and facts claimed? Obviously not. Such titles merely reveal the author’s position — he is Oriental Orthodox. He is an Oriental Orthodox Christian who reveres the blessed and honourable Saint Dioscorus the Great, whether or not he chooses to incorporate titles of honour or not; his position remains, and his position should be considered seriously.

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The copious use of the word "saint" is a sign of the provenance of this text as a Coptic position paper.

Wow, amazing. And? I don’t think the author was trying to hide that fact (see the listed sources), so what is your point? What does that have to do with the general reliability and validity of the paper itself in relation to this great Confessor of the Orthodox Faith? Do we discard everything related to the Oriental Orthodox Church written by an Oriental Orthodox Christian, simply by virtue of that very fact? It would be stupidity at its utmost to automatically disqualify the credibility of one's paper simply because it promotes their position.  Even a face value presumption against a paper written by X, simply because it relates to an issue significant to X, would be groundless. Everyone has his bias; an OO has a prima facie bias in favour of St Dioscorus, a Chalcedonian has a prima facie bias against St Dioscorus, and a Protestant has a prima facie anti-ecclesiastical approach to Church history which could affect his/her understanding of St Dioscorus either way. The researcher’s job is to work out which bias is naturally inclined to the objective truth.

P.S. As I look above to my bookshelf, I find a book published by the press syndicate of the University of Cambridge, and edited by James Dunn of the University of Durham. It’s a collection of essays by prominent and world-renowed scholars and theologians: L. W. Hurtado, Ben Witherington, and Bruce Longenecker to name a few. It is called The Cambridge Companion to St Paul. *puts on prima facie presumption against the book's ability to treat the pure, holy, righteous, blessed, God-inspired Apostle of God St Paul, objectively and scholarly*  Roll Eyes

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(In Christ, and through the prayers of St Dioscorus)
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2005, 09:50:43 PM »

If I were to reproduce the very same article without the hagiographical titles, would it be any more trustworthy and reliable according to the arguments presented and facts claimed?

That's more or less irrelevant; the absence of the titles is necessary but not sufficient. (I would also point out that there are other titular defects, notably the reference to Leo as "bishop of Rome" .)

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Such titles merely reveal the author’s position — he is Oriental Orthodox. He is an Oriental Orthodox Christian who reveres the blessed and honourable Saint Dioscorus the Great, whether or not he chooses to incorporate titles of honour or not; his position remains, and his position should be considered seriously.

The problem here is a kind of intellectual fraud. The article is a Coptic position paper, but it is pretending, by virtue of context, to be a dispassionate, disinterested examination of the topic. (So, for that matter, is the on-line Columbia Encyclopedia article on Eutyches-- again, there are those tell-tale titles.) We can go around this over and over again, but there's no way I'm going to take a Coptic source on this at face value-- and I don't take Catholic or EO sources on this at face value either.

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What does that have to do with the general reliability and validity of the paper itself in relation to this great Confessor of the Orthodox Faith?

The point, obviously, is that as a Western Christian I am supposed to deny that he is a confessor of orthodox faith!

Actually, the point is more that to understand the issues in the large I need more than a Coptic or Catholic position. I need someone who can set aside partisanship and lay out the situation objectively, giving both sides without commitment to either. Some Coptic/Catholic/EO writers can do this, and some do not. The Catholic Encyclopedia does not and is untrustworthy as a source of information about non-Catholic things.

One would hope that, in the exchange of reivews etc. in Wikipedia, the polemics could be suppressed in these controversial articles. In some cases this happens, and in others it does not. An example of what appears to be a pretty good article is that on the Qu'ran, which for instance presents both Islamic and secular positions on the Qu'ran's origin and development.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2005, 11:24:34 AM »

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the absence of the titles is necessary but not sufficient

Not necessary, and irrelevant with respect to the validity of the argument in relation to its consistency with the objective facts of history and reason.

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The article is a Coptic position paper, but it is pretending, by virtue of context, to be a dispassionate, disinterested examination of the topic.

Let us compare the article in question with an article regarding St Dioscorus taken from Britannica encyclopaedia.

The first thing that I would like you to note in the article from Britannica, is the manner in which the title “St” is used to qualify St Cyril of Alexandria, yet deliberately left out when speaking of St Dioscorus. By your standards, if you were to be consistent, the author thus reveals a certain pro-Chalcedonian bias already — his/her veneration of the Patriarchs of Alexandria stops at St Cyril, and hence we must prima facie presume against the general credibility and trustworthiness of this article in relation to the person, theology, and life of St Dioscorus; the author is a pretender.

Now tell me, who exactly *isn’t* pretending (according to your understanding of pretence in this context that you allege it has been committed)? It’s common sense that there is no such thing as a disinterested dispassionate examiner of St Dioscorus. The OO venerates him as a Saint; the EO, RC, and Anglican (?) condemn him as a heretic; the Protestant adopts non-Orthodox presuppositions with respect to ecclesiology and Church Tradition which ultimately influences their viewpoints regarding him, as is the case with the secularist. The OO, EO, RC, Anglican, Baptist, JW, Hindu, Muslim, or Atheist, can either expose their presuppositions or biases (e.g. via hagiographical titles) or theycan  conceal them effectively, however those presuppositions and biases remain with the author regardless, and they ultimately shape the conclusions drawn. Therefore everyone who authors an article in the context of an Encyclopaedia entry, must be a “pretender”.

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We can go around this over and over again, but there's no way I'm going to take a Coptic source on this at face value-- and I don't take Catholic or EO sources on this at face value either.

I never argued that you should take the Coptic article at its face value. I am simply arguing that there is no valid basis upon which to adopt a prima facie presumption against its general reliability and trustworthiness based on the use of hagiographical titles, which merely indicate the author’s position - which exists regardless of whether or not he/she chooses to reveal or conceal it. For although hagiographical titles reveal the author’s subjective position, they say nothing about the objective validity of that subjective position.

The task of the educated and serious researcher or inquirer who seeks to pursue an honest quest for the objective truth, is to read a range of sources and perspective on the relevant subject, and to evaluate them in light of the arguments and claims of the other, and in light of his/her own reading and interpretation of any primary documents or sources relevant to the issue in question.

No one should ever take any article at face value; even if it be an encyclopaedia entry — unless they’re in the sixth grade and doing a class project on the redback spider or something.

+irini nem ehmot
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2005, 04:46:14 PM »

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the absence of the titles is necessary but not sufficient
Not necessary, and irrelevant with respect to the validity of the argument in relation to its consistency with the objective facts of history and reason.

Why should anyone take your word about "objective facts" here? As far as I can tell, there are no objective facts available-- only accounts of the councils and surrounding events, made by highly partisan observers if not participants. That's precisely why, in a general interest encyclopedia, the article should address the general reader and should speak with the voice of a generally informed person. In this case, the article should recount what is undisputed, and in the cases of dispute should lay out the various cases and identify them as such.

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Let us compare the article in question with an article regarding St Dioscorus taken from Britannica encyclopaedia. (....) By your standards, if you were to be consistent, the author thus reveals a certain pro-Chalcedonian bias already(.)

Well, I think the EB article does display such a bias, on and beyond the use of titles. If the rest of the article were available I would read it skeptically, because it begins with many signs of painting the EO position as the rightful winners rather than letting me see for myself. However, you are reading to much into the use of the titles; veneration is not implied by their use. (The author, after all, is likely to be an Anglican.)

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Now tell me, who exactly *isn’t* pretending (according to your understanding of pretence in this context that you allege it has been committed)? It’s common sense that there is no such thing as a disinterested dispassionate examiner of St Dioscorus.

Nonsense. For one thing, when you go on about all the various groups you don't follow through to the implications of all the various attitudes. For example: why would an atheist even care who was the "winner"? Why would (for example) evangelical ecclesiology matter? Do you really understand an Anglican approach to the issue? You simply assume that members of these other bodies must be as partisan as yourself. The reality is that for most of Protestant Christendom-- not to mention the irreligious and non-Christian-- the council simply isn't the burning issue that it is for OO churches.

And as seems to be the case all too often here, you're trying to make this all-or-nothing. That won't do. If it's impossible for anyone to be utterly fair, it's also possible, with some effort and sufficient outside criticism, to be reasonably fair.

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I never argued that you should take the Coptic article at its face value. I am simply arguing that there is no valid basis upon which to adopt a prima facie presumption against its general reliability and trustworthiness based on the use of hagiographical titles, which merely indicate the author’s position - which exists regardless of whether or not he/she chooses to reveal or conceal it. For although hagiographical titles reveal the author’s subjective position, they say nothing about the objective validity of that subjective position.

I find it ironic that you are claiming that the people are subjective and the information is objective, when the reality is that it is the other way around. If you want to be utterly objective about the accounts, then you just present them all. It's probably not particularly useful, since hardly anyone has the background to historically assess these very much partisan accounts. The offending article was written within a commitment to one side of the dispute, and that the titles are included precisely as a commitment to that position. More subtly, they steer the article by indicating which side one is supposed to view as the winner.

An encyclopedia is expected to be something that a naive (but intelligent enough) reader can look to as a general reference on the matters it addresses. A position paper from one side of a dispute is not that general reference. The problem I'm having here with your position is that it implies that, since one must be somewhat supicious anyway, it's OK to take advantage of that and betray the reader's reasonable expectations. That position is utterly bankrupt. Even if utter objectivity cannot be achieved, an encyclopedia article should attempt it as best as is possible.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2005, 05:41:10 PM »

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Nonsense. For one thing, when you go on about all the various groups you don't follow through to the implications of all the various attitudes. For example: why would an atheist even care who was the "winner"?

You used two terms to qualify the requisite kind of person desired to author an Encyclopaedia article: disinterested and dispassionate. In response, I listed a range of groups that would generally fall under “interested and subjective”, without implying that each group necessarily qualifies for both. In the case of the atheist, it is obvious he would have no interest in whether or not St Dioscorus was right or wrong; but the fact of the matter is, that as an atheist, he employs certain presuppositions that influence his ultimate conclusion on the matter nonetheless, and hence such conclusions cannot truly be considered dispassionate. Those presuppositions are anti-Traditional and anti-ecclesiastical. As such, the Ecumenical authority of Ephesus 431, the authority of St Cyril of Alexandria, and the Alexandrine Christological tradition that constituted The Tradition of St Dioscorus’ day, would have little to no relevance to the secularist’s/Protestant’s assessment of the matter.

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Do you really understand an Anglican approach to the issue?

No I don’t; nor do I really care; it’s irrelevant. I was simply attempting to list as many examples as I could for the sake of listing as many examples as I could. I made known my uncertainty of the Anglican position on Chalcedon via the question mark in parenthesis. All I can guarantee, is that whatever position it may be, there will nonetheless be an underlying presupposition or bias affecting the Anglical church's assessment of the matter in one way or another.

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That won't do. If it's impossible for anyone to be utterly fair, it's also possible, with some effort and sufficient outside criticism, to be reasonably fair.

You seem to keep reading things into my statements, which I simply never state nor imply. My one and only point throughout this whole exchange, is that each and every author is inevitably influenced by some sort of bias. I never made an open blanket statement that it’s impossible for anyone to be reasonably fair. I simply argued that any individual article should not be taken at face value nonetheless (regardless of the source — whether it be an encyclopaedia or whatnot) without it being judged and evaluated in light of the relevant primary material, and the interpretations and arguments presented by varying other perspectives.

I most certainly recognise that some authors are capable of giving a more balanced treatment on certain subjects than others. I’ve read my fair share of material on Chalcedon and can confidently state that Fr. V.C. Samuel’s Chalcedon Re-examined is about as balanced as it gets.

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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2005, 06:58:21 PM »

You used two terms to qualify the requisite kind of person desired to author an Encyclopaedia article: disinterested and dispassionate. In response, I listed a range of groups that would generally fall under “interested and subjective”, without implying that each group necessarily qualifies for both.

It seems to me that you are simply projecting your own passionate interest in the matter on anyone who considers it. You say that they are all interested; I say that you are wrong, because to tell you the truth I'm not really all that interested myself. Indeed, when a little later you say, with regard to whether you appreciate an Anglican approach, "No I don’t; nor do I really care; it’s irrelevant." the question is begged. If you neither know about nor care about how an Anglican might approach the matter, then you have essentially said that for you it doesn't matter whether an Anglican had approached the matter dispassionately. Your bias here is so all-encompassing that you cannot consider, dispassionately, whether someone else can look at the matter some other way.

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In the case of the atheist, it is obvious he would have no interest in whether or not St Dioscorus was right or wrong; but the fact of the matter is, that as an atheist, he employs certain presuppositions that influence his ultimate conclusion on the matter nonetheless, and hence such conclusions cannot truly be considered dispassionate. Those presuppositions are anti-Traditional and anti-ecclesiastical. As such, the Ecumenical authority of Ephesus 431, the authority of St Cyril of Alexandria, and the Alexandrine Christological tradition that constituted The Tradition of St Dioscorus’ day, would have little to no relevance to the secularist’s/Protestant’s assessment of the matter.

I think you are quite wrong about that. The problem is that you cannot make any distance between your reading of these things in the light of your loyalty to your church, and someone else's reading in the lack of any such commitment. In a general interest article, what is Cyril's authority? Well, it's in his position as bishop, and in the quality of his argument. It is most certainly not in his appointment as a Father Of The Church; such an article can testify to that appointment and how his statements are thus preceived by church members, but it cannot without bias accept that authority in directing the article's conclusions. There's nothing in that which cannot be carried out by the Atheist or Anglican alike; it's only you who seems to have the problem that you cannot set that authority aside, because you seem to not appreciate the difference between that temporary setting aside and a conclusive rejection.

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All I can guarantee, is that whatever position it may be, there will nonetheless be an underlying presupposition or bias affecting the Anglical church's assessment of the matter in one way or another.

And I say that until you understand what that bias is, you can't say whether it matters, and therefore it is unsound to claim that it is important.

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My one and only point throughout this whole exchange, is that each and every author is inevitably influenced by some sort of bias.

Well, no, that isn't only what you said. You keep coming back to the position that it's OK to use the titles and in general deliver up the position of one side in a context where a neutral viewpoint is a resonable expectation. And anyway, your point doesn't lead to a conclusion, as I've hammered through above and in earlier posts. Bias isn't important if it doesn't actually have an effect.

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I never made an open blanket statement that it’s impossible for anyone to be reasonably fair. I simply argued that any individual article should not be taken at face value nonetheless (regardless of the source — whether it be an encyclopaedia or whatnot) without it being judged and evaluated in light of the relevant primary material, and the interpretations and arguments presented by varying other perspectives.

That's rather a straw man, because after all my examination of the use of titles is nothing more or less than part of the process of not taking the text at face value and of judging its biases. What I find objectionable is that you seem to imply in all this that an article shouldn't try to present both the appearance and reality of trying to overcome the biases of its author. That's how titles got into this, after all. They present the appearance of bias, and if someone cannot be bothered with the appearance, then one should suspect the substance all the more. And indeed, in the object in question, they are obviously included as a sign of the author's commitment to particular biases.
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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2005, 06:53:19 AM »

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It seems to me that you are simply projecting your own passionate interest in the matter on anyone who considers it.

No, rather it seems that you are incapable of tasks as simple as reading and comprehending what one is actually saying. See the following response.

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you say that they are all interested

No, that is evidently not what I said. I would greatly appreciate it if you learnt to read what you are responding to, properly. I said:

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In response, I listed a range of groups that would generally fall under “interested and subjective”, without implying that each group necessarily qualifies for both.

The groups I listed were therefore either interested or subjective (“passionate”) but not necessarily both and hence not necessarily inetersted. One is interested in a matter if one conclusion or another promotes or disservices their own position which is held by virtue of their affiliation with a particular group. One is subjective or passionate regarding a matter, if they adopt certain unique presuppositions that are not held by others.

Got it? I hope things are clearer for you this time around.

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"No I don’t; nor do I really care; it’s irrelevant." the question is begged.

How on earth am I begging the question? Your subsequent comments to this baseless charge make no sense at all with respect to the point I was making in context. I was merely asserting its irrelevance with regards to the general point I was making. I brought up Anglicanism simply as an example amongst others, to demonstrate the general point I was making, however as my general point was not contingent upon that nor any example, then such an example was irrelevant.

Again, you need to learn to read what someone is saying in context. I cannot keep clarifying points that are very simply made. Please adopt some common sense in this discussion.

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Well, it's in his position as bishop, and in the quality of his argument. It is most certainly not in his appointment as a Father Of The Church; such an article can testify to that appointment and how his statements are thus preceived by church members, but it cannot without bias accept that authority in directing the article's conclusions. There's nothing in that which cannot be carried out by the Atheist or Anglican alike; it's only you who seems to have the problem that you cannot set that authority aside

I don’t understand why it is you fail to understand or grasp very simple points. This is now the third time I have to correct your ridiculous imterpretation of what it is im saying.

I never claimed that a “general interest” article must acknowledge St Cyril's authority as a Church Father and proponent of Church Tradition. What I am saying (now listen carefully here, because I don’t want to have to correct you again), is that this very anti-Traditional conception of St Cyril is in and of itself a bias. To the OO, EO or RC, an article based on such anti-Traditional/anti-ecclesiastical presuppositions is not neutral, since for these groups Tradition and ecclesiology are absolute truths, and hence presupposed in consideration of any relevant issues. On the other hand, to the Atheist or the Protestant, an article that does incorporate presuppositions based on Tradition and ecclesiology, lacks neutrality also. In light of this, here is the following fact that you fail to understand, in your passionate and bias approach to the issue:

There is no such thing as objective neutrality, because one man’s presupposition is another man’s rejected falsehood, and ultimately any arguments drawn or conclusions made in any article are ultimately shaped by those presuppositions adopted. Discard the presupposition that St Cyril is a proponent of Church Tradition, and the presupposition that Church Tradition is revelation from the Trinity Himself, and one may be able to argue that St Dioscorus the blessed Confessor of the Orthodox Faith had gone too far. However, uphold these presuppositions, and one will find it quite impossible to draw that same conclusion.

Another example is Biblical hermeneutics. You have the naturalists and supernaturalists. The former presuppose anti-supernaturalism, and hence seek to explain the Gospel accounts of miraculous behaviour in natural ways, or simply impute mythology to those aspects of the Gospels accounts. The latter presuppose a supreme deity involved with His creation, and hence the miracles accounted for by the Gospels are simply that — miracles, which occured in history. Presuppositions determine everything, and EVERYONE has their own presuppositions. This is common sense.

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You keep coming back to the position that it's OK to use the titles and in general deliver up the position of one side in a context where a neutral viewpoint is a resonable expectation.

You insist on knocking down straw men. My position is very simple: the very expectation of “neutral viewpoints” is a stupid expectation, for there is no such thing as a neutral viewpoint. Since every viewpoint is bias in one way or another depending on any direct or indirect interests in the subject matter, or depending on the unique presuppositions adopted - which will not be shared by everyone — then the use or disuse of certain titles serves no purpose with respect to the neutrality of the article, for there is no such thing as a neutral article in any event. The use of titles will merely reveal the subjective position of the author, which exists whether such titles are used or not, and the non-use of titles will conceal the author’s subjective position, which again exists whether such titles are used or not.

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« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2005, 08:29:20 AM »

Form the Wikipedia website:
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"NPOV (Neutral Point Of View) is an official Wikipedia policy which states that articles should be written from a neutral point of view, representing all views fairly and without bias. According to Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales, NPOV is "absolute and non-negotiable". ".....

.....How can I tell if my article has a POV?
The simplest way is to ask: "Does the article fairly represent all significant viewpoints, in proportion to the prominence of each?" Chances are, if the answer is no, then your article might have a POV. You should attempt to give proportionate space to opposing views.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NPOV

The article in question is simply an example of poor scholarship which does not meet the requirements of Wikipedia due to bias and POV and needs to be ammended (as some wikipedians have already attempted to do. Top marks to Matrona!)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2005, 08:53:46 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2005, 08:38:07 AM »

Of course, there is also the possibility that all the founders and editors of Wikipedia are imbeciles with "stupid expectations" as EA suggests, but I don't think so.
(just giving a fair hearing to alternative POV's Wink)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2005, 09:09:14 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2005, 09:40:49 AM »

The groups I listed were therefore either interested or subjective (“passionate”) but not necessarily both and hence not necessarily inetersted. One is interested in a matter if one conclusion or another promotes or disservices their own position which is held by virtue of their affiliation with a particular group. One is subjective or passionate regarding a matter, if they adopt certain unique presuppositions that are not held by others.

And you thus completely ignored my response, which pretty much comes down to this: not everyone is as wound up about the events of Chalcedon as you are.

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I was merely asserting its irrelevance with regards to the general point I was making. I brought up Anglicanism simply as an example amongst others, to demonstrate the general point I was making, however as my general point was not contingent upon that nor any example, then such an example was irrelevant.

The point is, however, (and again, you've just ignored what I said) that it is utterly contingent. let's skip ahead here:

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There is no such thing as objective neutrality, because one man’s presupposition is another man’s rejected falsehood, and ultimately any arguments drawn or conclusions made in any article are ultimately shaped by those presuppositions adopted.

Yes, and there's no such thing as a sinless man either (save Jesus), and yet sinlessness is an ideal which we are all called upon to attempt. The same is true of scholarship: lack of neutrality in scholarship is bad, and if nobody is capable of expressing a totally neutral viewpoint, everyone must at least try. And if all are supposed to try, some do not bother, and some try and fail to a greater and lesser extent. All of this is guided in its execution by personal circumstance and disposition, which is why one takes character and afflillation into account.

Thus, blanket statements about the ubiquity of bias are true in an uninteresting way. We all sin, but the state for excellent reasons only imprisons a relative few whose personal sins are known and cannot be tolerated. We are all biased, but the nature and expression of the bias varies from one to the text, and it is that expressed bias that actually matters.

 
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I never claimed that a “general interest” article must acknowledge St Cyril's authority as a Church Father and proponent of Church Tradition. What I am saying (now listen carefully here, because I don’t want to have to correct you again), is that this very anti-Traditional conception of St Cyril is in and of itself a bias. To the OO, EO or RC, an article based on such anti-Traditional/anti-ecclesiastical presuppositions is not neutral, since for these groups Tradition and ecclesiology are absolute truths, and hence presupposed in consideration of any relevant issues.

Let's start with the problem that there isn't a tradition here; there are two. Well, possibly three: I'm not going to assume that the Catholic and EO traditions are identical. EO and OO are in fact "anti-Traditional" here because they reject each other's Tradition at this point, and you can see this in the offending article and in its corresponding Catholic Encyclopedia account: the other point-of-view isn't even acknowledged to exist. That is the epitome of bias. However, one could (as the Wiki people say, (see ozG's response)) present both accounts and (to further acknowledge the extent of controversy) sketch out views widely held by secular historians.

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On the other hand, to the Atheist or the Protestant, an article that does incorporate presuppositions based on Tradition and ecclesiology, lacks neutrality also.

The obvious solution to this is not to make them presuppositions. It's to state them out, and not to commit to them in the context of the article. If you want to call that bias, I'm simply going to have to disagree with you on that point and be done with you. The article in question does fail to follow this rule, in any case.

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Discard the presupposition that St Cyril is a proponent of Church Tradition, and the presupposition that Church Tradition is revelation from the Trinity Himself, and one may be able to argue that St Dioscorus the blessed Confessor of the Orthodox Faith had gone too far. However, uphold these presuppositions, and one will find it quite impossible to draw that same conclusion.

What you are saying here has nothing at all to do  with writing an encyclopedia article! One recounts the story, and then one might recount how the OO and EO interpret it, being very careful to spell out that at this point one is relating the opinions held by each group. The same holds true for the biblical hermeneutics example: in an encyclopedia one doesn't do hermeneutics; one explains how other people are doing hermeneutics.

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My position is very simple: the very expectation of “neutral viewpoints” is a stupid expectation, for there is no such thing as a neutral viewpoint.

And I say: you need to get some intellectual standards.
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