Casey: Wikipedia Is Unfair about Intelligent Design

A couple of weeks ago we ran across this article at PlysOrg: On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage, which says:

[Dr. Gene E. Likens is President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Connecticut] partnered with Dr. Adam M. Wilson, a geographer at the University of Buffalo. Together, they analyzed Wikipedia edit histories for three politically controversial scientific topics (acid rain, evolution, and global warming), and four non-controversial scientific topics (the standard model in physics, heliocentrism, general relativity, and continental drift).

Using nearly a decade of data, Likens and Wilson teased out daily edit rates, the mean size of edits (words added, deleted, or edited), and the mean number of page views per day. While the edit rate of the acid rain article was less than the edit rate of the evolution and global warming articles, it was significantly higher than the non-controversial topics. Across the board, politically controversial scientific topics were edited more heavily and viewed more often.

We wondered when the Discoveroids would react to it. Now they have. Their article is In Covering Intelligent Design, Wikipedia‘s Editors Engage in “Information Sabotage”, which was written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us, He begins by mentioning an article in PLOS ONE, which the PhysOrg article was about, and he says:

[I]t offers the uninteresting finding that controversial scientific topics prompt more edit-wars than uncontroversial topics. … But everyone who is paying attention knows that when it comes to controversial topics, Wikipedia tends to be highly partisan.

Oooooooooh — “controversial topics.” Golly, what topic could Casey be thinking about? Let’s read on:

And the authors of the PLOS ONE paper adopt Wikipedia’s partisan view that the scientific consensus is unassailably correct and anyone who expresses dissent from the consensus is guilty of a thought crime — what their article calls “vandalism and other shenanigans.”

But those of us with internet experience know that creationists would never attempt any “vandalism and other shenanigans.” They’re far too honorable for that. Casey continues:

On evolution and ID, the reality is that Wikipedia articles are grossly slanted — pro-evolution, anti-ID — and Wikipedia’s high-level admin editors typically refuse to tolerate edits that would allow any balance or objectivity. As soon as anyone makes an edit to correct an anti-ID error or an instance of pro-Darwin bias, those edits are reversed and disallowed.

We’re shocked — shocked! Here’s more:

So there is indeed “sabotage” going on — but it’s by those who would censor and disallow information that challenges an evolutionary viewpoint. Although I personally don’t edit Wikipedia, I say this based upon years and years of people contacting me who tell of having tried to make bland, benign, reasonable edits and who then saw those changes immediately deleted by pro-Darwin editors. Sometimes, the page is then locked down with the justification that it has been “vandalized.”

This is an outrage! Then Casey gives us an example:

In 2005 the ACLU triumphed in the Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling that banned a pro-ID textbook, Of Pandas and People, from being mentioned in science classrooms in a Pennsylvania school district.

Pandas? Casey is still whining about Pandas? The case wasn’t about banning Pandas, but that book was the strongest evidence in the whole Kitzmiller trial that convinced Judge Jones to conclude that intelligent design is nothing but re-packaged creationism. The last time we wrote about the book was “Pandas” Publisher Withdraws in Texas. That post quotes the relevant parts of the Kitzmiller decision.

Casey’s post is very long. He spends several paragraphs attempting to show how Wikipedia violates its own rules when the subject is intelligent design. They’re so unfair!

Then he attempts to defend the Discoveroids’ woeful list they’ve compiled of those who presumably agree with them — A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. We’ve written about it several times — see Discoveroids’ “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”. Casey is upset that Wikipedia doesn’t treat that list with the respect he thinks it deserves.

Casey also complains about several other things Wikipedia says about intelligent design, which he says aren’t backed up with appropriate authority. What things? For example, in his words: the claim that invoking an “intelligent creator” somehow has a “paralyzing effect” on scientific progress. And the claim that “Teach the Controversy,” is “a campaign, conducted by Discovery Institute.” He also repeats several of his gripes about what Judge Jones decided in the Kitzmiller decision, findings which Wikipedia uncritically reports, even though — Casey insists — Jones was wrong about everything. He says:

These are all objective problems that point to biases, errors, and flagrant violations of Wikipedia‘s own rules. Yet if you were to correct any of these errors and biases, your edits would be immediately reversed and you might be accused by pro-Darwin academics of engaging in “information sabotage,” “vandalism,” and “other shenanigans.” Since the vast majority of Wikipedia‘s editors are anti-ID, it easily erects a firewall that prevents would-be editors from inputting balance or objectivity into the pages.

This is Casey’s conclusion:

When it comes to controversial topics, the famed online encyclopedia is hardly trustworthy and in my experience, its rules are a sham. That’s a fact, but don’t expect Wikipedia to ever admit it.

The Discoveroids can’t get an honest deal anywhere. It’s so unfair!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Casey: Wikipedia Is Unfair about Intelligent Design

  1. michaelfugate

    If the Dover ruling were wrong, then why hasn’t the DI attempted to challenge the verdict during the past 10 years? What are they waiting for – the 2nd coming?

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    The linking and sourcing Wikipedia requires would test how far ID would go within science. It is better that they don’t embarrass themselves than try. Meanwhile they have a whole section on Paleontology that is woven together with facts, where evolution is a supporting part.

  3. “These are all objective problems that point to biases, errors, and flagrant violations of Wikipedia‘s own rules.”

    It is clear that Luskin hasn’t read these rules: WP:DUE & WP:FRINGE don’t leave him with a leg to stand on.

  4. Yes, Wikipedia is partisan — if by “partisan” you mean requiring evidence when it comes to science. My God, Casey — can’t you recognize the simple FACT that “Intelligent Design” is just a camouflage phrase for “creationism”, and that creationism is nothing more than a religious belief, having no basis in science whatsoever?
    Curmy – about a third of the way down: “But those of us with internet experience know that creationists would never attempt any “vandalism and other shenanigans.” They’ll far too honorable for that.”

    Change “they’ll” to “they’re”.

  5. Mike Elzinga

    Well, let’s see what “evidence” the Discoverhhoids might want to put in a Wikipedia article.

    How about Dembski’s CSI, which is high school level probability, gussied up by taking logarithms to base 2 of the probabilities of coin flips and ASCII character arrangements, calling it “information,” and applying it to molecular assemblies, because everybody knows that molecular assemblies come about like 747s out of a junkyard tornado? How unfair was it that Dembski lost out on the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry to those damned chemists who did the calculations for molecular assemblies differently than Dembski does?

    Or how about Sewell’s “diffusion equation” in which Sewell plugs in his arbitrary “X-entropies” with arbitrary units in order to “prove” that life violates the second law of thermodynamics? More than 12 years of battling those damned physicists; and all for nothing. Just who do these physicists think they are to be concerned about units? That sort of persecution has to prove that Sewell is right; right?

    What about Behe’s evidence-free assertions about “irreducible complexity” that must certainly be showing up in all those scientific papers he hasn’t read? And don’t forget that disclaimer about Behe’s views by the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehigh; that’s just more of the sort of persecution should be convincing evidence that ID/creationism is correct, shouldn’t it?

    And wouldn’t we just be blown away by David L. Abel and his “foundation” operating out of his little ranch style house that funds all his papers in which he cites himself making evidence-free assertions in every one of his papers that he cites over and over? You know that real scientists do things like that, don’t you? That should certainly be convincing; shouldn’t it?

    Oh; and what about Ann Gaucher’s stock photographed laboratory that was put up on a green screen behind her in a video so that the “proprietary nature” of her research not be revealed? That has to mean that there is important research going on there; right?

    Maybe they should include Jason Lisle’s belief that light travels toward every point in space at infinite speed and away from every point in space at c/2? After all, didn’t Lisle solve the “Distant Starlight Problem” with this Nobel Prize winning calculation using “relativity?” How could all those physicists have missed this one? They wouldn’t even let Lisle publish his accomplishment in Physical Review Letters; so it has to go up on Wikipedia; right?

    Or maybe include Lisle’s calculation of the rate of recession of the Moon’s orbit in which he asserts that the rate of recession is proportional to 1/r^6 because of the dipole-dipole interaction between the Earth and Moon? Why wasn’t Lisle allowed to publish that in some astrophysical journal? After all, calculations that are total non-sequiturs are among the strongest evidence for ID/creationism, aren’t they?

    How about Ken Ham’s “historical science” versus “operational” science?” How could the entire science community have missed this? We just can’t study the past; and none of those stupid, materialistic scientists knew it. Can’t you just see the intellectual horse power generated at AiG that is being stifled by the science community?

    And just look at what we are missing out on if we neglect Georgia Purdom’s theory about how good bacteria became bad after the Fall. Those mean little bastards! Modern medicine somehow missed this vital fact and is languishing in the battle against disease because of it.

    Wikipedia needs to allow all these profound insights because secular, materialistic science is failing as a result of its penchant for censorship; right?

  6. Casey could always take his business to Conservapedia. He’d be welcome there.

  7. Thanks, retiredsciguy. Typo fixed. I just haven’t been myself since the news about Cecil the lion.

  8. I think everyone knows that it’s not the best idea to rely on Wikipedia as your primary source of information (ie, I probably wouldn’t quote it in a research paper). But I’ve never seen any of Mike Elzinga’s wonderful collection of ID “findings” that have been mentioned in Nature or Science. Maybe someone should encourage Casey to complain to their editors.

  9. I wouldn’t recommend citing Wikipedia in a term paper, either. Some teachers would get upset. But using the sources cited in W – with proper acknowledgement, etc., – as long as it shows that some work and thought – should make any teacher happy.

  10. @Mike Elzinga: Your opus magnum deserves a much wider audience! Bravo!

  11. Casey deserves another bobblehead award. He’s pissed that people might actually insert information that exposes ID as utter nonsense. He’ll have none of this freedom of speech stuff when it comes to ID.

  12. michaelfugate

    The first sentence of the “intelligent design” Wikipedia entry is “Intelligent design (ID) is the pseudoscientific view…”
    I am sure the DI tries to change that every day.

  13. Holding The Line In Florida

    @Mike Elzinga: Hear Hear!! Superb! You are the Man!

  14. Mike Elzinga

    Having looked at ID/creationist claims for something like 50 years now, I have noticed repeatedly that – when you strip away all the obfuscating pseudo philosophy from ID/creationist assertions – ID/creationist leaders really are cranking out crap that is just plain stupid. This means their PhDs are doing it; and they do it routinely after being corrected repeatedly by the science community.

    Some of this started out as taunts by Morris and Gish back in the 1970s to get scientists to debate them in public forums on college and university campuses around the country; but their taunts turned into their pseudoscience over time. ID inherited all of its misconceptions and misrepresentations from Morris and Gish.

    Now it is all in the “public domain” and they can’t disown it or distance themselves from any of it. So, rather than debate or argue with ID/creationists, it is now best to take their “science” and “calculations” and boil it all down to its most basic essence. In so doing, what remains of their “arguments” is so mind-bogglingly stupid that it makes one laugh. These characters, even with their PhDs, can’t get the science right at even the high school and middle school levels. And they struggle with high school math and with getting units correct in equations describing chemistry and physics.

    In recent years I have been trying to summarize each ID/creationist’s claims in a pithy sentence that reveals just how atrocious their “understanding” of science really is. Once one can do that successfully, all the clutter of “philosophy” falls away and has no effect in making it look serious any longer; all one can do is laugh.

    You may have noticed also that sites like UD, and their excommunicated colleagues over at TSZ, now resort to freshman dorm room “philosophy” in order to “supersede” the science with “metaphysical” arguments of a “higher level.” So now they are resorting to pseudo philosophy that is just as stupid as their former “scientific” arguments. Their form of sectarian religion really does destroy the ability to learn from a fairly early age; poor buggers.

  15. I’m encouraged that there are people that are willing to take the time to thwart the efforts of the Discoveroids and other cranks to engage in “information sabotage.” Casey’s complaints illustrate that they are doing something right.

    Whoever they are – good job!

  16. Remember what one of the contributors on Dembski’s Uncommon Descent blog had to say about Judge Jones when they thought Dover was in the bag:

    “Judge John E. Jones on the other hand is a good old boy brought up through the conservative ranks. He was state attorney for D.A.R.E, an Assistant Scout Master with extensively involved with local and national Boy Scouts of America, political buddy of Governor Tom Ridge (who in turn is deep in George W. Bush’s circle of power), and finally was appointed by GW hisself. Senator Rick Santorum is a Pennsylvanian in the same circles (author of the “Santorum Language” that encourages schools to teach the controversy) and last but far from least, George W. Bush hisself drove a stake in the ground saying teach the controversy. Unless Judge Jones wants to cut his career off at the knees he isn’t going to rule against the wishes of his political allies. Of course the ACLU will appeal. This won’t be over until it gets to the Supreme Court. But now we own that too. “

    They changed their tune once the verdict came out and have been whining about it ever since.

  17. One last on this topic. Has anyone gone back and looked at the edits for ID and Evolution that have been rejected? Some of them are hilarious! I do wonder if little casey luskin thought this was a ‘bland and reasonable’ edit:

    “It is worth noting that the theory of evolution is not falsifiable, hence not a scientific theory at all, since it includes the claim that God did not intervene in evolutionary history by creating new forms of life.”

    It was one of the edits replaced rather quickly, I wonder why? LOL!