Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dialog between me and my friend Tom concerning the Neutral Point Of View:
Tom: God made the world in six days.
me: That is your belief.
Tom: No, that is a fact.
me: It is your opinion that it is a fact.
Tom: No, it is a plain fact, opinion is irrelevant.
me: Well, in order not to offend those who believe differently, I will have to represent it as a belief or opinion.
Tom: If you do that you will offend me. And you will be saying a lie.
me: But I have to maintain a Neutral Point Of View.
Tom: By all means: say that it is a fact that God made the world in six days, and there are some people who don't believe that fact.
me: Supppose that I say that it is a fact that you assert that God made the world in six days.
Tom: That implies that my assertion is just a matter of opinion.
me: Well, that's my opinion.
Tom: So your opinion trumps the facts.
me: No matter what I say I am bound to offend someone.
Tom: That is true, but a NPOV compels you to stick to the facts, and it is a fact that God made the world in six days.
me: I think I see the problem. In order to maintain a NPOV I must either represent all points of view as facts, or as opinions.
Tom: That is certainly a solution. But, in either case I can't see what value your wiki can have. In the first case you will be inconsistent, since competing points of view can contradict each other. In the second, all facts become irrelevant. Why would anyone be interested in reading either? You should just stick to the facts, and the fact is that God made the world in six days.
me: Can you give me a reference?
Tom: Surely. The book of Genesis.
Never argue with a True Believer.
It's good to have an open mind, but it shouldn't be so open that everything falls out.
The Duchess of Pigtown
My famiy name is Donn, and we were originally Jews from Eastern Europe. (The name is identical with the name of the biblical tribe of Dan.) Many years ago my aunt and uncle lived in the neighborhood of Brooklyn which had once been called Pig Town. One day they got a letter from someone who informed them that he had traced their family to the Donn family of England. A ducal title was mentioned, and a family estate: Picton Castle. He offered to sell them an illustrated family tree, and an illustration of the coat of arms. From then on my uncle frequently jokingly referred to my aunt as Sophie, Dutchess of Pigtown.
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