Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: 202.22.18.241

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  • Paul Rowe,

    Always wondered how a Pope would decide he was being infallible. You know, he wakes up one day and says, "Oh, yes! I'm just in the zone here, things are really humming, and I'm just going to do something pretty damn infallible, I can feel it in my bones!"

    Maybe through a similar process that Brian Tamaki went through to appoint himself Bishop, or whatever he is now.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    has there been a block placed on the topic?

    I don't think so. Why not go edit it yourself? Wikipedia does have a policy on what should and should not be included on biography pages though - see Dave's link above.

    Ultimately Wikipedia is not meant to be a complete guide to any politicians views or influences.

    The article should document, in a non-partisan manner, what reliable third party sources have published about the subject and, in some circumstances, what the subject may have published about themselves. The writing style should be neutral and factual, avoiding both understatement and overstatement.

    Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid; it is not our job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Quite. I don't care if an MP says "this is my religion and it has an impact on how I see the world and how I want to change it". I'd be fucking amazed to hear one say "I'm a Catholic but I leave that at the doors of Parliament" (That person would be a bloody liar).

    Pierre Trudeau, while Canadian PM did just that, famously declaring that if he were forced to choose between the interests of Canada and its religiously diverse population, or his religion's doctrine (Catholic, educated in the Jesuit tradition), he would choose in the former. He was true to this and legalised abortion during his time in office, and despite this being in exact opposition to his personal beliefs. He frequently expressed the opinion that no one in pubic office had the right to allow their personal religion influence the way they served their religiously diverse constituents.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I would have assumed the Pope would know he was being infallible when God told him he was?

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 857 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I mean, I don't think it would have been such a huge deal for Catholics - and it did seem to be, at the time - if they'd all thought it was just a... suggestion.

    There's a lovely book by David Lodge called The British Museum is Falling Down, which deals with a Catholic couple waiting for the Humanae Vitae to be issued, desperately hoping it will allow them to use some kind of contraception and still be good Catholics. It doesn't appear to be a 'suggestion'.

    Lodge's Wikipedia article mentions his Catholicism, btw.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4589 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Haven't they got to wear a certain hat, or sit on a certain seat, or something like that?

    Always wondered how a Pope would decide he was being infallible. You know, he wakes up one day and says, "Oh, yes! I'm just in the zone here, things are really humming, and I'm just going to do something pretty damn infallible, I can feel it in my bones!"

    You could of course, read the Wiki.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom,

    A while back on this thread: http://publicaddress.net/system/topic,786,hard_news_reading_material.sm;jsessionid=5FB6C9D2DA03040C497DEEBBFE56B934?p=31173

    I commented that:

    It's what I call the "Wikipedia effect" - the "broadcaster" of the information imbues that information with a level of credibility it sometimes doesn't deserve, as evidenced by the number of people in blog comments referencing Wikipedia articles as fact when they're probably, on average, about as accurate as the average Fox News broadcast.

    I was immediately contradicted by Deborah, who claimed Wikipedia was "as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica". And then 3410 showed the depths of his/her wit by enquiring as to whether I'd like to join "the fight against dihydrogen monoxide".

    But as this post shows, Wikipedia is no more an unimpeachable source of fact that the collected opinions of the contributors to this or any other discussion thread here or on any blog.

    That commenters and even some bloggers continue to reference it as though it is anything else illustrates its intrinsic problem - it is imbued by those who quote it with an air of finality it does not deserve and thus, amongst the uninitiated, perpetuates errors of fact across the Interwebs and out into the real world.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    You could of course, read the Wiki.

    Nah.

    Opus Dei logged on and deleted all the embarrassing stuff.

    Seriously, though - and further to more recent comments - there isn't a doctrine of Wikipedia Infalliblity, either.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    With regards to the deleted material ... the first para speaks to the way in which conservatives like English translate "moral disapproval" of certain things into support for criminalization.

    e.g., one can think that prostitution is a "bad thing" - but still see that there is a convincing case for legalizing (or at least decriminalizing) it. Decriminalizing or legalizing something doesn't mean that you approve of it, or that you're going to use it, but merely that there is no strong case for threatening those involved with criminal sanction.

    Put another way, what's the logical connection the Pope/the Bible/the Koran saying "prostitution is an offence against the will of God" and the desire to criminalize it? Surely eternal damnation would be sufficient, without incarceration too?

    As a side note, does anyone else think that English's party is having a free ride on the s59/referendum thing? They voted for Bradford's bill, but somehow seem to be riding a wave of public opposition to it? Just an idea.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • ali bramwell,

    That commenters and even some bloggers continue to reference it as though it is anything else illustrates its intrinsic problem - it is imbued by those who quote it with an air of finality it does not deserve and thus, amongst the uninitiated, perpetuates errors of fact across the Interwebs and out into the real world.

    agreed. but by the same token why is the political nature of the editing activity a surprising fact? the content is negotiable by design, people edit for various reasons, usually based on what they actually think. its democracy of ideas in slow motion, I really like the visible acknowledgement that history is a negotiable document...and with a built in regulatory system for inevitable bias.

    I agree totally that, as with any source supposedly authoritative, you cannot safely accept what is published on face value without tiangulating your sources. the problems you cite about too ready acceptance of information presented to you are not limited to wiki.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2007 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I was immediately contradicted by Deborah, who claimed Wikipedia was "as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica".

    Get it right, Rex. I put a link to an article documenting research that showed that "Wikipedia is about as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica."

    Here's the link again: Wikipedia, Britannica: A Toss Up

    By the way, the research was published in Nature.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    Always wondered how a Pope would decide he was being infallible. You know, he wakes up one day and says, "Oh, yes! I'm just in the zone here, things are really humming, and I'm just going to do something pretty damn infallible, I can feel it in my bones!"

    I was thinking something more along the lines of Cartman: "Respect My Authorita!!!"

    As for using contraception when they are not meant to. Isn't that why they have confession?
    Which I think is a brilliant idea. Do what ever you want, then say a few Heil Marys (or is it Hell Marys. lol) and you are sweet.
    None of this Protestant, having to be good all the time stuff.
    Which is probably why they have this born again stuff.

    Ok, I never really got this religion stuff.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Danielle, sorry if I seemed to be misconstruing you. If you were talking about "Catholic doctrine", and just using "Catholics" as shorthand that's fine, no disagreements there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10443 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    <quote>then say a few Heil Marys</blockquote>

    I don't know for sure, but it's hail marys. Which might recall biblical references to living things dropping from the sky. I think we covered the topic here last week.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    As for using contraception when they are not meant to. Isn't that why they have confession?

    I think you're expected to be genuinely repentant, and not planning on committing the same sin again in the immediate future.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I willingly bow to the greater knowledge and experience of the intent of Wikipedia, and if it is really viewed as a repository of all known items about an individual then so be it. Also, I'm far from a practising devout of any religion and am wary of religious doctrine making it's way into supposedly secular policy - but only because I'm worried about that policy, not the religion.

    When statements regarding religious-focussed policy are placed there by individuals unassociated with (and in some ways opposed to) the politician involved, I have no problem with someone else removing those statements if they are not deemed accurate or providing a balanced view over the entire article.
    At the very least they should surely have citations? As in an article or policy statement whereby Bill English has specifically stated his positions and how they are influenced by his belief?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    So Wiki's not a scholarly source. It's still a damn good source. Even if what is said is not cast in stone, it's usually said well and concisely, which serves the purpose of informing the uninformed about something they may have known very little about before they read it.

    If you want to get the most out of it you read the edits. And the linked sources. And do other research. It's just a starting point for people who want general information, and that's why when you ask a general question of Google these days, you'll almost always get the Wiki page. It's always there, it's usually a reasonable overview, it's bloody huge, and it's totally free, doesn't even cost you the inconvenience of looking at ads or logging in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10443 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    I think you're expected to be genuinely repentant, and not planning on committing the same sin again in the immediate future.

    Yeah that's the bit, besides the believing stuff, that I just don't get. They create all these outs for themselves then make like they are not to take advantage of them.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • DaveC,

    At the very least they should surely have citations? As in an article or policy statement whereby Bill English has specifically stated his positions and how they are influenced by his belief?

    Yes Gareth, it's Wikipedia policy to encourage deleting anything unsourced and potentially contentious from articles about living people. A good Wikipedia biography (for example George W. Bush) has citations for just about everything.

    Since Nov 2007 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    And then 3410 showed the depths of his/her wit

    Hardly.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Kind of linking to the Drugs don't (always) work thread.

    I've always thought Confession was Free Therapy & the alter wine a bit of self medication (get in first and then go to the back of the other line for seconds).

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    The best joke about being Irish Catholic is St Paddys day being in the middle of Lent.
    And the hardest or best thing to give up for many an Irish Catholic might well be the drink.

    Crack open your easter eggs if you like I know what I'll be doing on Easter Monday (not so sure about Tuesday though).

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Pierre Trudeau, while Canadian PM did just that, famously declaring that if he were forced to choose between the interests of Canada and its religiously diverse population, or his religion's doctrine (Catholic, educated in the Jesuit tradition), he would choose in the former. He was true to this and legalised abortion during his time in office, and despite this being in exact opposition to his personal beliefs. He frequently expressed the opinion that no one in pubic office had the right to allow their personal religion influence the way they served their religiously diverse constituents.

    Interesting. As I wrote that I was thinking of Kennedy who said something similar about conflicts between the State and Catholocism when he was campaigning in 1960.

    I was perhaps thinking more of a general approach to life being coloured by your upbringing. As the comments here have shown, most (many?) people are pragmatic about the bits of their religion that they are more attached to than others.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom,

    Deborah says:

    Get it right, Rex. I put a link to an article documenting research that showed that "Wikipedia is about as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica."

    Indeed it does: for a sample of just 42 scientific articles subject to peer review.

    An example of pecisely the kind of misrepresentation of "fact" that Wikipedia perpetuates. All you'd need to do to have that "Gospel of Wikipedia Accuracy" accepted as fact by vast numbers of readers would be, ironically, to make such a claim on Wikipedia itself.

    And, in my opinion, the ratio of inaccuracy on more contentious topics would favour Brittanica by a much greater margin.

    The problem is, as ali bramwell has aptly pointed out, that:

    ...you cannot safely accept what is published on face value without tiangulating your sources. the problems you cite about too ready acceptance of information presented to you are not limited to wiki.

    However, because it's readily searchable and linkable it's used unquestioningly by far too many people as an infallible source for their contentions.

    I'd feel happier if every Wikipedia page carried some sort of caveat phrased much as ali has.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I believe that we need to know about such stuff, for it is naive to believe that religious activities and political stances are not interdependent...not to necessarily make judgements, but to better understand how Bill English and his ilk shape their world view.

    I'm not a fucking 'ilk', Lealand. And, yes, you are making judgements so don't be so bleeding cute about it. This might be rather confusing to some people, but I believe Catholics lie across the political spectrum and we don't take instructions from either the Vatican or the New Zealand Bishops Conference on how to vote. I really hope there's a better quality of teaching and a slightly more sophisticated view of religion being taught at the University of Waikato that you're showing.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12332 posts Report Reply

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