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!
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