Talk:Discredited HIV/AIDS origins theories/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Patient Zero

I wanted to add something of note regarding the perception of AIDS being a "homosexual disease" or plague. I feel this should be pointed out here because of all the gay-related talk I see on this talk page without any definitive proof. The vast majority of people outside the medical community are unaware of this, but the reason a link with homosexuality was originally thought to blame was because of something in the initial CDC research done way back at the beginning of the outbreak (when it was mistakenly being called a strain of Hepatitus). The CDC believed they had tracked every AIDS case back to the initial vector for the outbreak (i.e., the first person who had the disease). That person was a male flight attendant, a homosexual, and they at the time had believed that this was a factor in who was being infected. They attempted to say his travel was the cause of outbreaks in disperate portions of the globe. Is any of this true? That isn't the point, people believed it was true because a few people in the medical community were claiming that it was. That is how the entire "gay plague" line was started. No_malrs Dec 3, 2004

No_malrs, no that is not true about "Patient Zero." Patient Zero was a flight attendant who was connected originally to about 50 cases (either directly or through someone he had sex with directly) in what was then an outbreak only in the hundreds of cases. Because of the believed low incubation period (12 months at most) it was believed he had caused this. In fact this is likely not true because the incubation period can be much longer so in all likelyhood, he was not the cause for all of those cases. We don't know how AIDS got to America (whether by HIV or other means as some people believe) and we don't know who transmitted it here. To sum up, Patient Zero was NEVER considered the original disease vector despite the common misconception that he was. Also about your comment regarding why it was originally considered a "gay disease" it had mainly to do with that fact that it was only found originally in the gay community. This was probably due to the fact unprotected anal sex is just about the most likely way of transmitting HIV because of the likelihood of some irritation of the anus and rectum as compared to vaginal intercourse. wwahammy
The matter of "Patient Zero" is actually covered in its own article and at AIDS myths and urban legends. As you can see if you go to the VfD for this article, one of the options being discussed is merging the latter of those two articles with this one. -- Antaeus Feldspar 18:48, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Homosexuality and Aids

  • Homosexuality and Aids - When AIDS was first discovered, it was believed that it only affected homosexual men. This led to the initial title of 'GRID', or 'Gay-Related Immuno-Deficiency'. Although this is clearly untrue, the diseases disproportionate occurence within the gay community has led some Christian fundamentalists to brand AIDS the 'gay plague', a device used by God to show his displeasure with homosexual behaviour as many people interpret the Bible as stating that homosexuality is a sin. Other secular critics of homosexuality may express a similar opinion, stating that gay men who contract AIDS have brought the disease upon themselves by participating in same-sex activity, and that abstinence from sex is preferable. This view is often due to the misconception that gay men have 'chosen' their sexuality, which is refuted by most psychologists. One holder of such views is Jerry Thacker, who resigned from the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS after characterising the disease as the 'gay plague', and called homosexuality a 'deathstyle', as opposed to a lifestyle.

The above text suggests that the link between AIDS and homosexuality is a misconception or conspiracy theory. I think we should clarify WHO is calling it a misconception and discuss the advocacy of the "misconception" POV. --Uncle Ed

I think it is true that AT FIRST, the only patients dying of AIDS (or infected with HIV) were promiscuous homosexual men. The initial identification of AIDS as a "gay disease", while not flattering of course, was most likely a desperate attempt by concerned researchers to understand this newly discovered and deadly syndrome. At the time, the only clue was that male homosexuals had it.

It was eventually discovered that the disease is difficult to catch. A sneeze or cough, for example, did not transmit it. It required intimate contact such as anal sex; it could also be tranmitted via blood transfusion. --Uncle Ed

No, it's not true. Even at first, the people who had AIDS included Haitians (and Haitian emigrants to North America).Vicki Rosenzweig
Check out the CDC surveillance reports for past years, and even current years. The at-a-glance statistics up to 1999 still indicated males as 70% of new cases, and homosexual men being the largest risk group. Yes, the statistics do include other demographics and risk groups, but they have always been disproportionately skewed towards homosexual men. -- Wapcaplet 17:58, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I think we should separate the epidemiology from the Christian moralizing. The article should acknowledge the early near-exclusive incidence of AIDS among people having three identifiable characteristics:

  • gay
  • male
  • promiscuous

Promiscuity in these cases was frequent anonymous sex was dozens, often hundreds of different people.

Lots of sex with lots of people is a very big factor in the spread of veneral disease, or STD as it's called nowadays. --Uncle Ed

It's also been pointed out by researchers like Peter Duesberg that things like heavy drug abuse and malnutrition were rampant in the lifestyles of these promiscuous gay men, and that such factors play an important role in the contraction of AIDS.

Jakob Segal

Prof. Dr. Jakob Segal said the reason why the first AIDS victims wher male an gay is because HIV virus was tested on prisoners. Long imprisonmet causes to become more easly gay. Because of testing the virus the prisoners were set free after not having any illness. (the incurbation was at that time was not known) Maybe this is the explanation why Aids was called the "gay plague".

Long imprisonment does not cause some to become gay. It causes them to engage in same-sex relations because well its that or not engaging in it at all. Just thought I'd clear that up. :)

Article content

This article needs work. Surely there should be some separation between "conspiracy theories" and what are, to many, legitimate scientific questions regarding the nature of the disease, discussed in the article AIDS reappraisal. How do we reconcile this with NPOV? My first instinct is to use scientific evidence as a way to separate reappraisal issues from mere conspiracy theory and misconception, but there is disagreement on what even qualifies as "scientific." Also, the word "misconception" is a pretty loaded term, especially since there is disagreement over what constitutes accurate knowledge about the disease in the first place. According to some, the notion that HIV causes AIDS is a misconception; according to others, the notion that AIDS is a "gay disease" is a misconception (even though the statistics show otherwise, especially in the first several years of records by the CDC). I'm not sure how to approach this - any suggestions? -- Wapcaplet 17:49, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

What is a putative left-wing student? Dr Adam Carr 06:34, 23 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I propose that:
1) The title of this article, "AIDS misconceptions and conspiracy theories", be changed to something like "AIDS myths and urban legends". The word "misconception" carries an inherent bias, and I'm not sure that it's the most accurate description of the actual contents of the article anyways.

2) The section on "conspiracy theories" be removed from this article and moved to its own page, since it's becoming increasingly hard to see why all these topics are being lumped together. The fact that African men rape virgins because they believe it will cure AIDS has little or nothing to do with conspiracy theories alleging that the US government engineered HIV in biotech labs.
-- Greta, 28 Oct 2003


The section that mentions herbal treatment for AIDS and goes on to talk about licorice extract seems to lose sight of whether it is reporting someone's ideas or indisputable fact. I've never heard licorice extract can prevent HIV from developing into AIDS as long as it is taken regularly, but the article says so. Does this need to be NPOVed?

I also find it highly suspect that the "only" problem with this treatment is that the needed amounts are too high. Seems like if it could stave off development of AIDS indefinitely people would do it anyway. I've got the feeling there might be other problems with the treatment, like lack of supporting evidence.

AIDS Conspiracy Theories Cover Up the Real Genocide

I would like to suggets that those who legitimately do not trust the powers-that-be, and wish to oppose and resist genocide, check out the below link before jumping to the conclusion that AIDS was unleashed in order to exterminate certain categories of people. The author, David Gilbert, is a political prisoner in the United States. He has no love for the US government - he is serving a 75 year (minimum) to life sentence as a result of actions he carried out against that government! So initially David was prone to believe theories that HIV had been made in a lab and unleashed by the government to kill Black people. But upon digging deeper he found that the evidence just didn't add up, and even more scandalous, many of those pushing this disinformation had no stake in Black people resisting genocide but were actually longtime members of the white racist right! David argues persuasively that conspiracy theories in fact serve to distract people from the real and actual genocidal forces at work - the economic and medical exclusion of Black people in the United States, and a global economic system that has effectively mugged Africa and is leaving the continent to bleed. You can read the entire text at

POV issues

  • Wheres the rebuttal to the conspiracy theories? And this paragraph:

Whether the conspiracy theories are valid or not, the military-industrial complex has an interest in the development of biological weapons that can target genetically similar groups of people. From the September 2000 white paper Rebuilding America's Defenses, published by the Project for the New American Century, comes the statement: "[...]advanced forms of biological warfare that can "target" specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."'

What the hell? - Aaron Hill 02:57, Dec 1, 2004 (UTC)

I agree. I've removed it. - Ta bu shi da yu 04:53, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)


A request to delete this article was made. Consensus was to keep this article. The archived deletion debate is at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/AIDS conspiracy theories --Hemanshu 18:07, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

New try to improve this article

Someone,who have objection please point it out. --ThomasK 10:02, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I object strongly. You deleted almost the entire article. I reverted it back. Can you please explain why "improving" an article requires so much deletion? This is about conspiracy theories, so to call what it contains "nonsense" merely confirms its relevance. -Willmcw 00:37, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Because among other there is such nonsense conspiracy-senseless.

Nevertheless conspiracy must be make sense. --ThomasK 20:00, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)

No, conspiracy theories don't have to make sense. If they made sense, we wouldn't call them "conspiracy theories", we'd call them the truth. Just because an idea is illogical, false, and nonsensical does not prevent some people from espousing it, and others from believing it. The purpose of this article is to catalog and discuss the notable conspiracy theories. In your previous edit you simply deleted all of them. That is not good editing. If you feel it is important to express that these theories are nonsense, why not put in a sentence, a disclaimer, "WARNING: these theories may be nonsense." I don't think that's necessary, but it's better than just deleting the stuff. -Willmcw 20:13, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Well..I´m still not your opinion, but ok, mark it with a disclaimer.--ThomasK 06:14, Jan 19, 2005 (UTC)

Here is the existing disclaimer, which I've enhanced in the article by making it bold:
Note that most of the theories listed below have found little or no approval among most medical professionals.
That seems pretty weak to me. Here's a stronger version:
These theories have found little or no approval among medical professionals.
I'll change it to that. Cheers, -Willmcw 07:28, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Unless there are outstanding disputes regarding this article, I think we can remove the NPOV tag now. -Willmcw 02:57, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I would not disagree with doing that. I can't see what's not neutral now. - Ta bu shi da yu 04:46, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Title vote

AIDS biowarfare theories

Plus merge unrelated content to separate pre-existing articles
  1. zen master T 18:41, 4 May 2005 (UTC) "bio-engineered" could work instead of "biowarfare", what do people think?
    the syntax is more conducive to that being interpreted as the theories were bio-engineered by AIDS. what are the aforementioned pre-existing articles? Kevin Baastalk: new 08:13, 2005 May 7 (UTC)
  2. Kevin Baastalk: new 08:30, 2005 May 7 (UTC) If my comments in the article summary section on this page are on inline with zen's suggested redistribution, this would be more informative than "conspiracy theories".

AIDS conspiracy theories

Original title
  1. Kevin Baastalk: new 08:21, 2005 May 7 (UTC)
  2. "Conspiracy theory" means just that: a theory that there was a conspiracy, which seems to apply to all of these theories. There is no implication in the name that a conspiracy theory is untrue (although most are - note the fact that most of the alternative origin theories in this article are mutually contradictory) -- The Anome 17:02, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)

AIDS alternative origin theories

  1. Kevin Baastalk: new 06:51, 2005 May 7 (UTC)


user:Zen-master, could you please re-iterate your reasoning behind the original page move from "AIDS conspiracy theories" to "AIDS alternative origin theories"? Thanks, -Willmcw 09:15, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

Certainly. "conspiracy theory" is a POV loaded term in my opinion (subtle yet profound POV). Wikipedia's own definition states that "conspiracy theory" connotes that the subject is unworthy of being taken seriously, which I believe is the anti-thesis of an encyclopedia. I also believe AIDS alternative origin theories better summarizes what this article is about without tricking the reader into not taking the subject seriously. We may be able to come up with an even better title but the first step is to move away from the POV loaded "conspiracy theory" title (in my opinion). zen master T 09:22, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Going slightly outside the Wikibox, I see that

conspiracy theory, n. - A theory seeking to explain a disputed case or matter as a plot by a secret group or alliance rather than an individual or isolated act.The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Reading over the theories in this article, none of them seem to contend that the disease had a natural origin. If a significant number did then it would be a different matter. Every one of them seems to at least suggest, and often flatly state, that the origin was due to the positive, conscious, and secret effort by groups of people. Therefore, most, perhaps all, of these theories seem to be conspiracy theories. "Conspiracy theory" can be used as a perjorative, but it can also be used to accurately describe a concept. I applaud your wish to be NPOV. In this case, I think it would be POV to fail to call these by their appropriate label. Cheers, -Willmcw 09:59, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

I completely agree. Jayjg (talk) 16:17, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Me too. Any theory that explicitly claims a secret and deliberate act by a group of people is by definition a conspiracy theory. One of the remarkable features of conspiracy theories is that they are by definition unverifiable (lack of evidence only proves how great the conspiracy actually is). This is the very opposite of a scientific theory. Since "verifiability" is a core value of this encyclopedia, we should certainly take it into account when explaining different theories. I agree that we should allow for "alternate theories." The question is, "alternative to what?" I think we should mean "Alternative to other scientific theories" and not "alternative to any scientific theory." In other words, I see an alternative theory as alternative to the theories accepted by major institutions (e.g. CDC, WHO) — but such theories should nevertheless be scientific theories that can generate falsafiable hypotheses. Any "theory" that doesn't shouldn't be dignified with the term "alternative." The difference between an alternative theory and a conspiracy theory is not political, it is epistemological. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:48, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
The point is the phrase "conspiracy theory" even when literally true has another definition which is often used to discredit a subject. Even arguably dubious subjects should have a neutral title because the title can not possibly convey enough context and facts to conclude that a subject is objectively dubious, that determination must come from facts and citations within the actual article. zen master T 22:32, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Complete summary listing of theories

  1. Mbeki... made statements to the effect that AIDS is caused by poverty and not HIV, and that people who supposedly die of AIDS have actually been poisoned through antiretroviral medication by white-owned drug companies that wish to experiment on Africans.
    IMHO, this belongs in the urban myths article and not here. Kevin Baastalk: new 08:28, 2005 May 7 (UTC)
  2. a biology professor at Humboldt University in the former East Germany, proposes that HIV was engineered at a US military laboratory
  3. Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai reportedly believes that the biological agent causing AIDS is not natural. ""In fact it (the HIV virus) is created by a scientist for biological warfare."
  4. Some theorists argue the Soviet Union planted disinformation suggesting the CIA or other agencies created AIDS,
  5. Some African-Americans in the US believe that HIV was invented by Jews
    urban myth? all the other unmarked ones seem to refer to the same theory. Kevin Baastalk: new 08:28, 2005 May 7 (UTC)
  6. author of "AIDS and the Doctors of Death" believes that HIV is a genetically modified organism developed by US Government scientists;
  7. AIDS expert, and the co-chairperson of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, has also suggested that ... vaccination experiments of the late 70's caused the AIDS epidemic.
    isn't this the OPV AIDS hypothesis? Kevin Baastalk: new 08:28, 2005 May 7 (UTC)
  8. Dr. William C. Douglas, among others, believes that the World Health Organization created the AIDS epidemic by administering contaminated smallpox vaccines to people in third world countries
  9. Dr. Boyd E. Graves postulates that AIDS was the culmination of biowarfare research conducted by the U.S. Government
  10. Dr. Gary Glum claims in his book Full Disclosure, that he received top secret information that AIDS was made in the laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor, New York
  11. author of "Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola. Nature, Accident or Intentional?" has advanced the theory that the AIDS virus was engineered by such US Government defense contractors.

Which of these is not a conspiracy theory? (This is a true summary, but I can't vouch for the underlying accuracy of any of this material.) -Willmcw 09:59, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

The term "conspiracy theory" is used as a description and isn't only a perjorative term, though it is also that. A conspiracy theory explains a set of circumstances with reference to a secret plot by powerful conspirators. One of the distinguishing features of a conspiracy theory is that it tends not to be falsifiable in the minds of believers. In other words, if the claim is made that 4,000 Israelis were warned not to go to work in the WTC on 9/11, and it's later established that only 10 Israelis were, in fact, ever employed there, the conspiracy theory evolves to include the claim that the Mossad and USG conspired to alter the records, and that the names of 3,990 Israeli employees have now disappeared. That is, the conspiracy theory represents a closed system, not amenable to the standard rules of evidence (similar to psychoanalysis, for example). This evolutionary growth in the face of evidence disproving the theory is one of the things that distinguishes a conspiracy theory from a matter of simple controversy that surrounds the subject. A controversy or unresolved issue is simply a matter of a debate about the facts, but a conspiracy theory is ideology. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:55, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
True, but I don't think that is a defining, necessary or exclusive characteristic of conspriacy theories. It is more of an expression of the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance in general. The ultimate example of people irrationally believing in something unfalsifiable, and moving the goalposts in order to be able to continue believing in it, is not conspiracy theories but religion. On the other hand, many people believed the official conspiracy theory about Saddam Hussein being an imminent threat with stockpiles of WMDs, and rationally stopped believing it when it was revealed to be based on fabrications and exaggerations. Chameleon 17:55, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

I think that when you describe the "conspiracy theory" about Saddam and WMDs, you are not using it the same way Jayjg, SlimVirgin, and I have been using the term; I do not think you are using it the way most people use the term. Bush's arguments for an invasion were wrong, but they weren't conspiracy theories precisely because Bush believed that a thorough ivestigation would reveal WMDs. Nor do I think we need to bring religion into the discussion, it only muddies the waters. See my comment above (in the previous section); I think SlimVirgin is exactly right. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:19, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

I am fully aware that I am not using the term "conspiracy theory" in the same way as it is usually used. As noted in the article Conspiracy theory, the term is colloquially used as a shorthand or code for "wacky theory". I am attempting to use the term in a literal, NPOV sense. Are you admitting that you want the title of the article to use "conspiracy theory" in its common colloquial sense? That would be an admission of POV pushing. To use the term in that sense would be the same as calling the article Silly theories about AIDS, i.e. it would prejudge the issue, and not be NPOV. Finally, the comparison with religion is a good one and illustrates the issue. Chameleon 18:33, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

People may indeed use "conspiracy theory" to mean "wacky theory." From what I have seen here at Wikipedia, many people use the word "religion" to mean "something irrational" or "something superstitious." Nevertheless, I do not think we should change the name of the article on "religion," or de-categorize such religions as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That is because "religion" means something else, and it is a useful word to use to refer to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Similarly, "Conspiracy theory" means something other than "wacky" and I think SlimVirgin did an excellent job of explaining it. If you read what I wrote in the section above, you would know that I too do not define "conspiracy theory" as "wacky theory." Slrubenstein | Talk 18:50, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

No, what you said can be summed up as saying that conspiracy theories are wacky, irrational, a product of cognitive dissonance, etc. Chameleon 18:53, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Gosh, I will write it out slowly, and maybe you will read it slowly: If ... you ... read ... what ... I ... wrote ... in ... the ... section ... above, ... you ... would ... know ... that ... I ... too ... do ... not ... define ... "conspiracy ... theory" ... as ... "wacky ... theory." Also, to spare you from further confusion, when I use the word "not" I mean "In no way; to no degree. Used to express negation, denial, refusal, or prohibition" Slrubenstein | Talk 20:25, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

You're just making a fool of yourself. Chameleon 20:42, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, he's making a fool of somebody, though that person mostly did the job themself. Jayjg (talk) 21:16, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Shouldn't an encyclopedia take seriously all subjects and leave any conclusions up to the reader? Titling an article with "conspiracy theory" is basically like saying "false theories", do a google search for "conspiracy theory" and talk pages and you will see how it's actually being used. zen master T 18:59, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
You are quite right. The term is indeed used as code for "false", "crazy" theory, etc. Slrubenstein seems to be violently against my using it in an NPOV sense. You may therefore be right that the term is unsalvageable. I however, would like to believe that it is possible to use it in a neutral fashion (literally meaning theories about plots). That way we can achieve two goals: NPOV and calling a spade a spade. By the way, I personally think these theories are wacky; I just don't think we should declare that they are. WP:NPOV anyone? Chameleon 19:06, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
NPOV policy is quite clear that minority views should not be given equal weight on Wikipedia. As for the "NPOV sense" of the term, the "NPOV sense" of the term is the way in which most people define use it, not some new meaning you've invented. And I haven't noted any propensity for violence from Slrubenstein. Jayjg (talk) 19:10, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
I don't think that what I am proposing would really give them equal weight, as it would be noted that they are minority views, and they would be restricted to a page called AIDS conspiracy theories (and kept away from the main AIDS page). The "new meaning that [I]'ve invented" is the first meaning given in the article Conspiracy theory, and the only one that we can use without prejudging the issues. Your straw man about violence is not worth commenting on. Chameleon 19:42, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
You can't really use Wikipedia articles to prove your point here; what source does the Wikipedia article use for that definition? Oh, and if you aren't commenting on something, then you shouldn't comment on it. Jayjg (talk) 20:00, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Jayjg, my purpose in arguing certain points here is to dialogue with open-minded people interested in reaching consensus, and not to dialogue with you. Chameleon 20:51, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Dave, if you want to "dialogue" with one of us "open-minded people interested in reaching consensus", you'd have to be one of us first, or at least fake it better. Perhaps your "Helpful Dave" incarnation will be more proficient at it; if nothing else, at least it had a smiley pasted into the signature. Jayjg (talk) 21:10, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Any more attacks you want to get out of your system? There's plenty of space here. Chameleon 21:21, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

LOL! Right Dave, it was everyone else who was attacking people, you would never do that. Jayjg (talk) 21:28, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Come on Chameleon, you're the one who started with the aggressive tone here. Let's stick to the topic. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:29, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
I second that. --MPerel ( talk | contrib) 21:33, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
Here's comes the cavalry. Chameleon 21:34, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Sure, I'm part of the Wikipedia policy cavalry insisting on No personal attacks. --MPerel ( talk | contrib) 21:40, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

lol Chameleon 21:45, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

deprecate "conspiracy theory" even if literally true

Because some definitions of "conspiracy theory" discredit a subject (by tricking the reader into not taking it seriously) I believe its usage should be deprecated even in situations when it's literally true (even in articles that are about people literally conspiring). "conspiracy theory" in a title is POV/ambiguous precisely because it has multiple definitions. The best title for this article perhaps is AIDS man-made origin theories or something like that. zen master T 21:46, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

ZM, calling something a conspiracy theory is saying that the theory explains an event by purporting the action of a group acting in secret, a conspiracy. That is what each of these theories does, and so "conspiracy theory" is the correct and NPOV term to describe them. There is nothing ambiguous about it. The fact that the term is sometimes used incorrectly is no reason to stop using it correctly. -Willmcw 21:49, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
The use of the term has the effect of causing readers to associate (as-yet-unread) article content with the rantings of unbalanced and/or insane persons. These two words have no place in an article title. BrandonYusufToropov 21:26, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Are you denying multiple definitions exist? My point is "conspiracy theory" has multiple definitions with at least one definition meaning the assumed descrediting of the subject. Why needlessly perpetuate ambiguity when better titles exist? Using google to search wikipedia talk pages for "conspiracy theory" and you will see it is often used to discredit things (in most cases without citations or fact). zen master T 21:54, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, let me use the analogy of "Nazi". Applied to George Bush, for example, "Nazi" would be an inaccurate term of disparagement. Applied to Hitler, "Nazi" would be an accurate term of political science. We shouldn't stop calling people who were members of the National Socialist party of Germany "Nazis" just because the term has developed a deregatory meaning. These theories are conspiracy theories according to the main definition of that term. There is no ambiguity in that matter. -Willmcw 22:01, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
For your analogy to be valid there would have to be a Wikipedia article titled with Nazi (using the disparagement definition). "conspiracy theory" is even more ambiguious than Nazi especially considering abstract "theories" have no context to help convey the proper definition to the reader. zen master T 22:06, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
There seems to be a contradictory two-pronged rhetorical assault against the use of a term other than "conspiracy theory". On one hand, there are those saying that the term neutrally refers to theories about plots, and there is no ambiguity, therefore it should be used. On the other hand, there are those who say that I invented the literal meaning of "theories about plots" and that the only real meaning is a theory with circular justification (and so probably wrong), and therefore it is accurate and should be used, despite the POV issues that arise from this. These two camps are diametrically opposed but don't seem to be arguing against each other because their end aim (the use of the term "conspiracy theory") is the same. Perhaps we should be a bit more honest here. Chameleon 22:15, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
The analogy is true, we have an article titled "Nazi" (well, Nazism), which accurately uses the term to describe a politicla movement. Can you please address my original question to you: Which of these theories is not a conspiracy theory? -Willmcw 22:13, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
The Nazi article is not using the disparagement definition (it's historical, presents all justifiable disparagements as fact, doesn't trick the reader into assuming conclusions from the start). I think you are still missing my point. I agree all items on the list are arguably conspiracy theories, but my point is "conspiracy theory" should be deprecated because the phrase has other non-literal definitions that convey to the reader that the subject is unworthy of being taken seriously. If "conspiracy theory" only meant people literally conspiring then there would be no problem. My question is why take a chance of ambiguity in an articles' title? Shouldn't there only be one way of reading an article's title? For example, alleged links between Iraq and Al-Qaeda are equally dubious to any AIDS "conspiracy theories" yet this article is titled AIDS conspiracy theories and that article is titled very straightforwardly and matter of factly Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. Why the discrepancy? It's literally true there are allegations Saddam was conspiring with Al-Qaeda but that article's title is very different than this article's. zen master T 22:25, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Just because someone may assume, incorrectly, that we are disparaging these theories by correctly labelling them "conspiracy theories", which we apparently all agree is accurate, is insufficient reason to stop using that term. Readers who feel that way need to gain a better understanding of the English language. Would improvements to the article conspiracy theory help? -Willmcw 22:30, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
Do not put the blame on the readers. It is the authors' responsibility to take into account the possible impressions that what they write might give the reader (what you call the readers "assumptions"), and write so as to carefully avoid the reader forming, whether by force, accident, former prejudice, or "divine intervention", a false or misleading impression. Just as it is a teacher's responsibility to teach their students, and not to defer the onus of their dereliction to the apt pupil. The precision of a term as used in its context is measured by the precision of the impression that is formed in the readers' mind upon comprehension of the text, as the profiency of a teacher is measured by the success of their students. Changes in the article "conspiracy theory" are unlikely to have any affect on the impression that the phrase gives the general reader (assumed by convention of an encyclopedia to be a laymen), because the reader is unlikely to have first read the article. The impression the phrase will give to the reader is that meaning which is given to the phrase by society. Such is true with all language. It's called semiotics. Kevin Baastalk: new 07:14, 2005 May 7 (UTC)
It's more than readers errantly assuming. POV pushers use the discrediting definition of "conspiracy theory" to their benefit. Isn't a less ambiguous definition better than an ambiguous one? Why take the chance that someone may errantly conclude a subject is unworthy of being taken seriously when better titles are available? When you say "conspiracy theory is accurate" that could be interpreted that you agree the subject is unworthy of being taken seriously. There is more than enough factually cited evidence for this subject to be taken seriously. zen master T 22:36, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Conciseness is important too. "Alternate theories" does not tell the reader that these theories all have one thing in common - they posit a conspiracy. "AIDS man-made origin theories" seems rather clumsy and does not allude to the fact that each of these theories claims the man-made action was secret and deliberate. "AIDS conspiracy theories" seems accurate and concise. Do you have any other suggested titles? -Willmcw 23:00, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
AIDS origin controversy, AIDS conspiracy (it's more than random theories, there are allegations with evidence), if one were to use the Saddam + Al-Qaeda article's title as a guide then AIDS as biowarfare or AIDS and biowarfare would be consistent and the most accurate. What do you think of these titles? (I prefer the biowarfare title) zen master T 23:11, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
How about "Theories of AIDS conspiracies" or "List of theories about AIDS conspiracies"? The theories are not in agreement with one another, so it is appropriate to refer to them in the plural. "AIDS and/as biowarfare" is over-broad because not all of them claim actual biowarfare (see OPV AIDS hypothesis). The evidence is rather thin: the folks proposing Chemtrails say they have evidence too, but we wouldn't rename that article "Chemical aerial warfare". "AIDS origin controversy" implies that there is a significant controversy over the origins of AIDS. The AIDS#Origins of AIDS refers only to the OPV AIDS hypothesis, and doesn't even bother mentioning the allegations about biowarfare. Further, this article is not a general discussion of the possible origins of AIDS, it's a list of conspiracy theories about AIDS which apparently have no general acceptance in the mainstream of scientific or political thought, and without a full discussion of the mainstream theories that are already covered in AIDS#Origins of AIDS. Cheers, -Willmcw 23:38, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
Why is the Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda title straightforward yet this article's title shouldn't be? If not all AIDS theorires are "man-made origin theories" then why were you against my AIDS alternative origin theories title earlier? Perhaps we should separate allegations/evidence that AIDS is a man-made biowarfare weapon into a new article titled exactly AIDS and biowarfare. What do you think? It will clear up a lot of confusion if we split this article between "alternative origin theories" and allegations AIDS was bio-engineered for military/political purposes (biowarfare). Though there isn't much to split as there already is an article on OPV AIDS hypothesis article, anything relevant yet not redundant here should be moved there (though that article's title should be more straightforeward as well). Chemtrails is a very succinct title that does not prejudge the subject. Even labeling something a "theory" when that is unnecessary or unscientific is ambiguious and POV. Would people support Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda theories? I don't think so. zen master T 00:21, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
I don't mind Willmcw's suggestion: "Theories of AIDS conspiracies" or "List of theories about AIDS conspiracies" (though I prefer the first just because it's shorter). It retains the descriptive meaning without the perceived slant of conspiracy theory. An inspired suggestion, Will. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:26, May 3, 2005 (UTC)
Aren't those inconsistent titles when compared to Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda? "conspiracy theory" is the equivalent of "allegations" in a title which has been deprecated I believe, right? Why allow "conspiracy theory" in a title if you disallow "allegations" in a title? It is inconsistent. zen master T 00:35, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
A "conspiracy theory" is not the same thing as an "allegation". Jayjg (talk) 20:21, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Right, "conspiracy theory" is more pejorative and denigrating than "allegation". "Allegation" is a neutral term. No one is disputing that this constitutes a substantial difference. Zen is arguing that since this given nature and direction of this difference means that the disallowance of "allegations" in a title should imply (logical implication, which results from a difference in constitutive proportion, in contrast to bijection, which would from similarity) the disallowance of "conspiracy theory" in the title". Kevin Baastalk: new 07:14, 2005 May 7 (UTC)

Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda title comparison

I'm sorry for being so slow, but can you remind me again of how Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda have anything to do with AIDS conspiracy theories? Thanks, -Willmcw 01:29, May 3, 2005 (UTC)

Inconsistant, double standard title wise. There was a claim that caveats such as "allegations" in a title are against wikipedia policy. I am simply making the comparison between the caveats "allegations" and "conspiracy theory". Any claimed links between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda are arguably as dubious as AIDS and biowarfare yet that article is titled straightforwardly while this title is encumbered with "conspiracy theory", why is that? My position is that all titles should be fixed one way or another for the sake of consistancy. Either articles need caveats that indicate the subject is dubious or they don't (if any article truly needed a caveat because it's dubious then it really should be deleted). zen master T 02:40, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
What is the need for consistency? These are different topics. Are you suggesting that we can't use "theory" in an article title? No theory of evolution or game theory? . The title of this article is not "Dubious AIDS conspiracy theories". If the way in which we present the theories is POV then let's fix that directly. I don't agree with your underlying theory that all uses of the term "conspiracy theory" are ambiguously disparaging. Words have specific meaning. "Conspiracy theories" appears to the right set of words to use for this article title, based on its content. Maybe the article on Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda conspiracy theories should be renamed to be consistent with this one. Cheers, -Willmcw 03:27, May 3, 2005 (UTC)
It was claimed there is a WP policy that articles should have straighforward titles. If there is such a policy then it should be consistently applied or it would be inacurrate to call it a policy, right? Some of the AIDS conspiracy theories I would not call dubious. "African-origin" theory is pretty suspicious given the fact the very first cases of AIDS appeared in NYC gay men in 1978 and 1979 (this fact is evidence of a bioengineered virus). Titles should be 100% neutral. zen master T 03:37, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
What is not straightfoward about "AIDS conpirsacy theories", since that is what the article is about? I strikes me that perhaps your concern is not with this article in particular, but with all articles that use "conspiracy theory" in their title. If so, the better place to discuss this matter would be talk:conspiracy theory. -Willmcw 03:41, May 3, 2005 (UTC)
"Conspiracy theories" has multiple meanings, one of which is used to discredit the subject. Straightforward means without caveats, "AIDS origin theories" is instead caveated with the assumed conclusion that the subject is unworthy of being taken seriously. If something is so dubious to require "conspiracy theory" then it doesn't belong on wikipedia at all and should be deleted. If it does belong on wikipedia the title should reflect 100% neutrality. zen master T 03:49, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Many topics are dubious that we report on. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is extremely dubious, but we have an article reporting on it. Lots of words have multiple meanings, including the word "theory", but that doesn't mean we can't use them for the meanings we intend, especialy when that is their principal meaning. In any case, this appears to be a discussion that should occur at talk:conspiracy theory, since your issue seems to be that phrase, not anything to do with actual AIDS conspiracy theories. -Willmcw 05:03, May 3, 2005 (UTC)
Does the article you cite have a title that indicates dubiousness in anyway? Answer: no. Why should this AIDS related article be different? If something belongs on wikipedia it should have a 100% neutral title. Inside the content of articles is where any factual debunking happens. I have a problem with the title of this article and it's a larger problem because there are more a handful of articles titled the same way. zen master T 05:31, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

It appears that your opinion is not widely shared among other editors. The consensus seems to be that "AIDS conspiracy theories" is an accurate and NPOV title for this article. (I'm not going to say it's entirely relevant, but I just saw this edit summary on another article "rv - it is okay to say he was convicted of terrorism, because he was, but it is POV to call him a terrorist outright". If someone objects to calling a person convicted of terrorism a "terrorist" then the policy of NPOV may be being misinterpreted.) Anyway, thanks for your concern over keeping our POVs neutral. Cheers, -Willmcw 09:06, May 3, 2005 (UTC)

I'd hardly call a deadlock between 2 people consensus to keep the old title. What about the titles you suggested, they are all slightly better than "conspiracy theory" but we can do even better. zen master T 16:36, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
This is not a deadlock and refer to the perticipants above, the majority of whom do not call for a title change. Let's discuss this further at Wikipedia:Conspiracy theory since your concern is about that phrase in general rather than about this specific article. Thanks for participating. Cheers, -Willmcw 18:27, May 3, 2005 (UTC)
Every other person above supports a title change of some sort. zen master T 19:00, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
But not your version. Jayjg (talk) 20:25, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Great Jayjg finally joined the discussion, oh wait, he still isn't actually debating anything. zen master T 21:05, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Let's bring Jayg into the discussion. Jay, what title do you think best reflects the contents of this article? -Willmcw 21:13, May 3, 2005 (UTC)

and why? (debate/consensus is not a popularity contest) zen master T 21:31, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
If that's the case, then what's the purpose of the voting you wanted? -Willmcw 21:35, May 3, 2005 (UTC)
Indeed. On Wikipedia, at least, "consensus" pretty much is a popularity contest. As for my thoughts, the article is about AIDS conspiracy theories, so it's hard to think of a better title than that. Jayjg (talk) 21:39, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Voting wise I errantly assumed everyone was rational and played fair. Consensus should not mean a popularity contest. If this article's title is ok then there is a problem with the Saddam and Al-Qaeda article's title, though I shouldn't be surprised apparent POV pushers don't care about inconsistency. zen master T 22:03, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
That is an inappropriate remark. We all agree that this article concerns conspiracy theories. No one is "pushing a POV" here. We're here to write good encyclopdia articles. Since your issue is apparently with conspiracy theories in general, as opposed to AIDS conspiracy theories, this discussion is being held in the wrong location. Finally, consistency is not the aim. However, since you've raised the point repeatedly, I'll go look at Saddam and Al-Qaeda and see if that really is the best title. Cheers, -Willmcw 22:17, May 3, 2005 (UTC)
How is that an inappropriate remark exactly? I notice POV, it has to come from somewhere; if you can convince me what I believe are inconsistent titles are not actually a form of POV then I will withdraw my allegations. The subject of this article is literally about people conspiring but "conspiracy theories" has multiple definitions, one of which should preclude its use in a neutrally titled article. I do believe the title of this article is wrong, but if consensus is achieved here that it is ok then that consensus is in direct conflict (inconsistent) with the apparent title consensus on the Saddam and Al-Qaeda article. One need only do a google search for talk pages and "conspiracy theory" to see how often that phrase is used to discredit a subject (this definition is used more frequently than the definition meaning people literally conspiring, another reason it shouldn't be used in a title). If a subject is truly unworthy of being taken seriously then it does not belong on WP and should be deleted, but if it does belong on WP then it should be taken seriously and presented neutrally (especially in the title). zen master T 22:27, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
It's hard to give much weight to your comments when they consist of little more than accusing those who disagree with you of being irrational, not playing fair, and being POV pushers, or make reference to all sorts of conspiracy theories about them. Jayjg (talk) 22:29, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
It's ironic you say that Jayjg since you are the one doing that (albeit you are very sublte about it) and you never debate anything. You spout nothing but rhetoric and bash people that disagree with you. It's almost as if you care solely about completing a POV mission of some sort. zen master T 22:34, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Sigh. Jayjg (talk) 22:46, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

I see that the title was chosen by the original author, User:Modemac two and a half years ago (making this one of the older articles in Wikipedia). Since then dozens of editors have participated in editing the article and none has made a comment that they found the title misleading or POV. That is until one editor, without consulting the talk page, decided to move the article to a new title which does not depict its contents as accurately. If anyone currently involved in this matter is pushing a POV, my guess is that it would be the editor who did the page move. If the problem we are addressing is article titles which potentially convey a POV thenit would seem to me that AIDS myths and urban legends would be the greater concern. Should that be "AIDS alternate realities"? This discussion obviously has nothing to do with AIDS and everything to do with Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda, and conspiracy theories. Please do not use this article to prove a point. Thanks. -Willmcw 00:01, May 4, 2005 (UTC)

Either "conspiracy theory" is ok in a title or it isn't. Are you arguing it's ok or are you arguing I did something wrong? (you have to establish it is ok first) I was being bold fixing a problem. "Conspiracy theory" in a title is wrong, but it is subtle, you have to think about it for a while (I had to at least). "Conspiracy theory" can not be neutral because it has multiple definitions and wikipedia users DO discredit articles by using the definition that connoates that a subject is unworthy of being taken seriously POV all the time. Another point is this article has much more factually cited evidence than some straightforwardly titled articles on wikipedia, yet this article basically has a {dubious} tag in its title, why? Additionally, some of the sources for this AIDS alternative origin theory article are scientists, whereas many of the sources for some other arguably more dubious yet straightforwardly titled articles on wikipedia are less credible. Since the consensus here and the consensus in other articles are in disagreement we need to seek a larger consensus to solve this issue. zen master T 01:35, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
There is no requirement of consistency in titling across all articles on unrelated topics. The consensus here is to keep the existing title. I appreciate your concern, but I don't think that this is an issue we need to spend more time on. Cheers, -Willmcw 06:46, May 4, 2005 (UTC)
The topics being different is irrelevant, what is the key point is that the two articles have a similar degree of dubiousness yet one is titled straightforwardly while the other literally has a {dubious} header in its title ("conspiracy theories"), why is that? How about AIDS biowarfare theories as a title (merging unrelated content to other articles)? We need to find a larger consensus to solve this inconsistency. zen master T 18:30, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
It might help if you re-read the policy Wikipedia:Don't disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. It clearly states that "Wikipedia is inconsistent". No, "AIDS biowarfare" is not a better title. According to your own past statements, calling using "theories" implies that they are not true. If we are going to use theories, which is an accurate term, then we should go ahead and call them what they are, conspiracy theories. Cheers, -Willmcw 18:38, May 4, 2005 (UTC)
And this really isn't an issue which we need to spend more time on. Jayjg (talk) 18:54, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Willmcw, how am I disrupting wikipedia? The WP article you cite isn't saying people should ignore or give up on their points, just don't be disruptive to illustrate them. "Wikipedia is inconsistent" means "calm down and go about your criticisms logically" I believe (maybe we should clear up this confusion if it exists). However, you seem to be trying to cite this to argue people with points of inconsistency should always just ignore them and go away? That doesn't make logical sense to me. If you can convince me "conspiracy theories" is a neutral term given its multiple definitions I will withdraw my criticism of its use. zen master T 19:10, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
It's clear you can't be convinced that "conspiracy theory" is a neutral term; many have tried and failed. However, that does not change the fact that many others besides you think it is a neutral and factual description. Jayjg (talk) 19:15, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
In my opinion you aren't trying to convince me. You appear to framing the issue as a popularity contest rather than a true debate on the core of the issue. If you disagree with my suggested titles and truly believe there is no need for futher debate then you should vote at the very top. I am however game for more debate regardless. zen master T 19:27, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
There has been a long debate on the issue; ultimately people will decide based on their beliefs and reaction to the debate. You assume that there is a "right" or "wrong" answer here; however, as in most cases, there are many facets to the debate, and ultimately people will vote based on their opinion of which arguments are stronger. If you want to call that a "popularity contest", so be it. Jayjg (talk) 19:58, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Are you debating or just telling third parties the status quo is ok? zen master T 20:13, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm pointing out that just as you have not been convinced by the arguments of others, so they have not been convinced by your arguments. Clearly just about everyone but you thinks the status quo is ok. Jayjg (talk) 20:31, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
If I believe someone is not trying to convince me of their argument logically is it ok for me to assume they also don't take my argument or even the debate seriously? zen master T 20:46, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, that's one option. Others include accepting the possibility that you didn't understand their arguments, or they got tired of repeating themselves, or that you are unbending in your beliefs regardless of the logical arguments presented. Jayjg (talk) 21:06, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Yes, it's OK. It won't get you far on Wikipedia though. Jayjg's obfuscation tactics are far more effective. Chameleon 21:00, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
How far am I likely to get with a hypothetical person that obfuscates? ;-) zen master T 21:08, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, I see that with Dave's "Helpful" interjection, the conversation has once again (and unsurprisingly) descended to the level of personal attacks, so I'll just withdraw and leave you two to your insults. Jayjg (talk) 21:13, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Note I was not attacking you personally so your check in comment and statement including me are errant. Also note Chamelon's "attack" could be a valid criticism of a hypothetical WP user's debate techniques and it is by no means "personal". zen master T 21:17, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
LOL! Yes, your discussion was entirely about hypothetical people, it had nothing to do with me, and Dave's reference to "Jayjg's obfuscation tactics" was not at all personal or about me either. Now who is obfuscating? Bye bye. Jayjg (talk) 21:24, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Proposal to rename potentially pejorative "conspiracy theory" titled articles

Voting on a proposed policy to ban the use of "conspiracy theory" in article titles is currently going on at Wikipedia talk:Conspiracy theory. -Willmcw 02:48, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

It should be noted that this proposal would ban "conspiracy theory" and related phrases from titles only when they are used as an adjective and used pejoratively. zen master T 03:09, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
How do we determine that it is used perjoratively? Also, I miswrote that heading - isn't this a proposal to only rename this article and the other listed articles? It is not a general policy, correct? -Willmcw 03:13, May 6, 2005 (UTC)
I think i fixed the header of this section neutrality wise, let me know what you think. zen master T 03:18, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
I still don't how you can tell a perjorative title from a non-perjorative title, and whether this is intended to be a policy that will govern future editors. -Willmcw 03:23, May 6, 2005 (UTC)
Hang on, though, ZM, you've argued that it's always and only pejorative. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:30, May 6, 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, I mean "potentially" in this context as "you may agree or disagree with my determination of what is pejorative", I don't mean it as "the phrase 'conspiracy theory' itself is only pejorative in some contexts". I have and still argue "conspiracy theory", when used as an adjective to describe another subject, is always non-neutral and pejorative. zen master T 04:06, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
But didn't we agree earlier that all of the topic covered in this article are, in fact, conspiracy theories? They are theories about conspiracies. I don't know what you mean by using the term as an adjective. It's a noun. And why is calling them what they are perjorative? That's like saying "black" is perjorative, so we have to find euphemisms for very darkly colored objects. -Willmcw 05:42, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

Responding to Willmcw, you are ignoring the secondary definition, see Conspiracy theory. zen master T 05:49, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes, and "black" has a secondary definition as well. Here on Wikipedia we're using the primary definition of "conspiracy theory". Big deal. Please explain how "conspiracy theory" is an adjective. -Willmcw 06:09, May 6, 2005 (UTC)
I and others have proved that many users on Wikipedia use the secondary discrediting definition and still other users are confused. "adjective" means "being unnecessarily descriptive" as in "connoting that a subject is unworthy of being taken seriously". zen master T 06:37, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
No, you haven't proven it. All I see is that you keep pointing to that secondary definition, but i ahven't seen any other proof. On the other hand, you've written about 10,000 words on this topic in the last 48 hours, so I may have missed something. Unworthy of being taken seriously? That strikes me as a good description of this effort. -Willmcw 06:43, May 6, 2005 (UTC)
I and others have shown examples of the secondary definition being used to discredit, what other evidence would you like? The second definition does exist. zen master T 06:47, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Again, lots of terms can be used to impugn. Can you tell me which page your proof is on? Thanks -Willmcw 06:56, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

Read Brandon's debate with Jayjg in the "Main Archive1" page linked at the top of the Wikipedia talk:Conspiracy theory page. zen master T 06:58, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, but you must have sent me to the wrong page. There's no proof there of anything. Brandon hardly participated inthe discussion. He added a dictionary definition of "perjorative" and asserted that "CT" is perjorative. I have seen no proof that anyone besides a couple of editors have ever found these terms confusing. And even you said, on this very page, that the POV that you found was very subtle and it took you a while to perceive it. If you have any other proof that Wikipedia users are confused by this term I'd be happy to see it. Cheers, -Willmcw 07:15, May 6, 2005 (UTC)
It's there, look harder. Also look at the secondary definition in the Conspiracy theory article, that should be enough to prove that the term is confusing (since the phrase has two definitions, one literal, one negative). zen master T 07:31, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
I'll look again. Can you tell me what the nature of this proof is? Also, I acknowledge that "CT" can be used in a derogatory sense, as can thousands of otherwise innocent words and phrases. If we are not using them in derogatory manners then there is not a problem. Do you acknowledge that other words and phrases also have potentially perjorative meanings? Cheers, -Willmcw 17:22, May 6, 2005 (UTC)
You won't find it because it's not there. Brandon asserted that I was using it in a pejorative way, when, in fact, I was using it in a purely descriptive way. Jayjg (talk) 21:32, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Right, and don't construe me as being ingenuine when I pretend to not find laughable your belief that our minds are that dull. The only person you're fooling is yourself, you're not even fooling the people who are on the same side as you, although I wouldn't be that surprised if they joined in the act in the misguided belief that it might be at all productive. It's not and it never will be. Kevin Baastalk: new 07:30, 2005 May 7 (UTC)
Um, nice rant? Jayjg (talk) 08:43, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
Yes, and underneath my clothes, I am naked. I, for one, acknowledge that other phrases, such as "m&th%rf&ck*ng a$$h*le" have "potentially pejorative meanings". On the other hand, that phrase could refer to a decent orifice of a male donkey that mates with female donkeys who have already given birth. It's a wonder we can at all communicate with such ambiguity in language, even phrases like Overwhelming_exception and biased sample. Kevin Baastalk: new 07:25, 2005 May 7 (UTC)
Look, the subject is not other words or generalization or what have you, the subject is the meaning of the specific phrase "conspiracy theory" in the given context. Now ofcourse other words have different meanings, and their meanings may change given the context, and the context might not sufficiently disambiguate the meaning. The point is exactly that this happens to words, and in the specific case under discussion here, it happens to pose a problem. The problem being that one of the socially acquired meanings of the phrase, which remains affective in the given context, prejudices the article. Critiques of a subject do not belong in titles, whether they are "intrinsic to the word" or "the fault of the reader" - it remains the responsibility of the author. Kevin Baastalk: new 07:49, 2005 May 7 (UTC)

Title disputed

An editor created a new temple Template:TitleDisputed and added it to this article without comment on May 19. Since there has been no discussion on the title matter on this page in weeks, the dispute seems to have settled down. There does not seem to be a consensus on this page for a title change. -Willmcw 21:19, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

It appears that the dispute is still current and remains unresolved. Therefore, I've re-added the template. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 22:16, May 31, 2005 (UTC)
It appears that they tried to get the title changed, and failed. They have no new arguments. Warning templates are not forever. Jayjg (talk) 22:20, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
We have no new arguments because our old arguments remain unrefuted, plus the pro status quo title folks, such as yourself, chose not to debate. You had 2 weeks to complain about the titledisputed template header and you did not, why? zen master T 22:28, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I wasn't aware of the "vote", but I throw my weight behind AIDS alternative origin theories. The current title is factually inaccurate, as not all of the proposed alternative origins involve a conspiracy. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 22:49, May 31, 2005 (UTC) As an example, see Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 22:51, May 31, 2005 (UTC)
I agree with zen master and Dante Alighieri. – ugen64 23:11, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
Welcome, I haven't seen User:Dante Alighieri or User:Ugen64 participating in this disuscussion before. I'm not entirely sure I understand what you are agreeing with or why. Can you tell me which one of the theories in this article is not a conspiracy theory? User:Zen-master previsoutl agreed that all of them are conspiracy theories. Is that what you are agreeing with? Thanks, -Willmcw 05:42, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)
Some are alternative origin theories. I have never agreed that even if something is literally a theory of people conspiring then it should be titled with the subtly discrediting and duplicitous phrase "conspiracy theory". zen master T 07:02, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Out of the 11 (or more) theories offered, only one appears to be of "alternative origin", namely Matilde Krim's. --Viriditas | Talk 08:06, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You are missing the point that "conspiracy theory" is disrediting and non neutral because of the secondary definition even when literally true under the first definition (that is how the duplicitous phrase works). zen master T 16:52, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You've been making that same argument for weeks now, and it has been disproven any number of times. You have no new arguments, your views have been refuted, you lost the vote, and templates aren't forever. You had weeks to gain consensus for a new title, and you didn't. Respect that and move on. Jayjg (talk) 16:57, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

If there is a legitimate neutrality dispute it should require true consensus to remove a disputed header. You mischaracterize my side of the debate when you say I have been "disproven", a popularity contest does not magically make ambiguously and profoundly POV language disappear. No one has refuted anything, people just seem to be repeating the very suspicious falsehood "X is literally (or objectively) a conspiracy theory" which is precisely wielding the phrase as a POV weapon. To repeat, to avoid ambiguity and POV something can't be literally X if X has two definitions, we should say something is literally Y or literally Z to avoid confusion and the strive for a higher neutrality. zen master T 17:05, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Mbeki entry

Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, and other prominent members of the ruling African National Congress party have made numerous public statements to the effect that AIDS is caused by poverty and not HIV, and that people who supposedly die of AIDS have actually been poisoned through antiretroviral medication by white-owned drug companies that wish to experiment on Africans. Mbeki and others frequently interfered with government AIDS drug distribution programs through the legal system. Nonetheless, after massive public outcry, the ANC government announced in 2003 that it will begin distributing antiretroviral AIDS drugs to infected citizens.
  1. This is an opinion (Mbeki's), not a conspiracy theory. Either the aticle should be renamed or this material should be removed.
  2. Mbeki believes AIDS patients are being poisoned antiretroviral medications, period. (Other AIDS dissidents have stated this opinion as well). The assertation by white-owned drug companies that wish to experiment on Africans is a questionable interpolation which should be deleted.
  3. The text Mbeki and others frequently interfered with government AIDS drug distribution programs through the legal system. Nonetheless, after massive public outcry, the ANC government announced in 2003 that it will begin distributing antiretroviral AIDS drugs to infected citizens is an editorial rebuttal which does not concern Mbeki's POV and should be either attributed to someone or deleted.
-- Viajero | Talk 18:05, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
The issue is whether the phrase "conspiracy theory" is neutral, not whether the phrase is literally true under the first definition. zen master T 18:23, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
An issue which we settled in early May. Thanks, -Willmcw 00:38, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)

Alternative origins, not all conspiracy theories

I'd just like to point out that this doesn't have to be about the "larger issue" of the suitability of "conspiracy theory" in article titles. There are a number of alternative theories for the origin of AIDS that do not involve conspiracy theories. It makes sense to have them all on one page with the conspiracy theory ones as well. It would also make sense for that page to be titled AIDS alternative origin theories. Does anyone have a fundamental objection to this? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 22:31, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)

Alternatives to what? One way or the other, all the theories here involve a group of people acting in secret, aka "conspiring". -Willmcw 00:37, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
As I stated earlier, please see Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis for an example list of alternative theories that do not, perforce, involve any sort of conspiracy. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 17:57, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
Great, so there's an article for 'non-conspiracy' theories of AIDS. It seems like we have an appropriate division. Thanks, -Willmcw 20:52, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
Did you even read what I wrote, or are you just concerned with trying to seem clever? It would be useful to have a page that had ALL of the available alternative origin theories, both CONSPIRACY THEORIES and NON-CONSPIRACY THEORIES. On one page. Combined. With the title AIDS alternative origin theories. Combined. On one page. Is that simple enough for you, willmcw? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 21:00, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
Why would it be useful? Are you interested in AIDS theories or just in eradicating "conspiracy theories" from article titles? Thanks, -Willmcw 21:27, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
Why would it be useful? Well, if you can't see the inherent usefulness in gathering related information into a single article, I'm not really sure I can help you with the problems that you have. I've been interested in AIDS theories for quite some time now, not that I'm terribly certain how that's relevant. I'm also not interested in "eradicating conspiracy theories from article titles", as indicated on my comments on Zen's proposition page as well as my statements here on this page. A question for you: do you have any rational reason to reject my suggestion that such a page makes sense or are you more interested in "scoring points" by objecting to anything you perceive as attacking some "position" you've decided to take in some "battle" about "conspiracy theories"? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 05:57, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)

The mere fact that I have 87 points already and that if I score another 13 I'll become an admin is not pertinent. And my supposed eagerness to join the cabal is irrelevant. No, those may make good stories but they aren't true and all the reports to the contrary are flat wrong. The fact is that I'm right where I been since January 17, 2005, my first edit to this article.[1] This is where, on May 1, 2005, an editor moved the article to a new title without term "conspiracy theories" without any prior discussion.[2] Only after making the move did the editor come to this page, archive all the contents, and put up a vote. That's how I got involved. (The extra points are just a bonus.) So, how does all this bring us to a new consensus? What about the current title is wrong, when the article is all about conspiracy theories? Cheers, -Willmcw 18:11, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)

Since you seem to be comfortable with the English lanuage, I'm going to go ahead and assume that you're willfully misreading what I'm writing and, furthermore, that the apparent condescending tone in your text is intended. Aside from all that, I'll answer your questions, ridiculous though they are. There is no new consensus, nor did I assert there was one, nor have I ever mentioned any sort of consensus on any issue. Are you confusing me with someone else? The current title is "wrong" in that not all the theories are about conspiracies. Furthermore, as I've stated twice before, the many non-conspiracy theories about AIDS origins that are, nevertheless, non-"standard" really ought to be put together in one article with these conspiracy theories. Since you seem to be having such a difficult time understanding what it is that I'm suggesting, I'll create a "dummy" article (no pun intended) showing you roughly what I mean and I'll place it at AIDS alternative origin theories/rewrite. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 18:44, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)
I moved your dummy page to a branch of the "talk" page. /temp pages should not be in the main article space. "Talk:AIDS alternative origin theories/rewrite". A "new consensus" is what we need to agree on future page changes. The current title was correct until, within the last few days, someone re-wrote one of the entries. In most articles, if someone re-writes a section so that it no longer fits, they remove the unsuitable paragraph rather than changing the article title. If the Mbeki graf no longer fits, then let's move it. Cheers, -Willmcw 19:40, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)

Hey Dante, I should have warned you someone would respond to your suggestion by emphasizing the fact most of the theories are literally about people conspiring. Repeatedly emphasizing the literally true aspect of "conspiracy theory" is a convenient way of ignoring the point that the phrase overall is not neutral. zen master T 01:21, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It's hardly been ignored. We spent about 50,000 words discussing that point. -Willmcw 02:14, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)
You did not discuss anything. You and other have just kept wielding "conspiracy theory" as a weapon by repeatedly harping on the literal aspect of the phrase, ignoring the secondary definition that discredits and discourages an objective analysis of the subject. zen master T 04:11, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Wasn't just me. Many editors have been involved in this discussion. Cheers, -Willmcw 05:44, Jun 2, 2005 (UTC)

I think Dante Alighieri has a point here. The theories put forward by so-called "AIDS dissidents" in the 1990s, such as the writers Peter Duesberg, Norville Hodgkinson, John Lauritsen, and others, presented an alternative etiology, a combination of life-style and environmental factors; some of them also argued that the early AIDS drugs, like ATZ, were highly toxic and hastened many deaths. Now, whether you agree with these ideas or not, there was no conspiracy" involved, unless you consider the pharmaceutical industry's desire to turn a profit represents a conspiracy. Those ideas, for better or worse, were what Mbeki picked up on in the late 1990s, and that is why I posted the comment above about him yesterday. I think a title like Alternative AIDS theories would be more appropriate. -- Viajero | Talk 12:03, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Please read the theories listed; all but one involve conspiracies. Jayjg (talk) 18:21, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Please read comments above; there are numerous non-conspiracy alternative origin theories. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 18:36, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but this article lists conspiracy theories. Jayjg (talk) 18:41, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Congratulations on not reading my above comments where I suggest that it would be valuable to have a page with all the alternative origin theories on it (conspiracy and non-conspiracy). It certainly is much easier to simply parrot an opinion without actually doing any reasearch, isn't it? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 18:44, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)
I've read it, and didn't agree with it; alternative origin theories and conspiracy theories are fine for different pages, and they can be linked by "See also"s. Please assume good faith and avoid personal attacks. Jayjg (talk) 18:47, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It's much easier to assume good faith and avoid personal attacks when you show an indication that you've read the information you're supposedly commenting on. Would it REALLY have been so hard to say, "I don't think it is valuable to have both types of theories on one page" rather than "Please read the theories listed; all but one involve conspiracies" or "Yes, but this article lists conspiracy theories"? It sure sounds awfully condescending and dismissive unless you make it clear that you understand the points that you're "disagreeing" with. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 18:58, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)