Wikipedia editor deletes all evidence of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s quote fabrication

Wikipedia is garbage, and here’s a story that explains why, from The Federalist.


Neil Tyson, a prominent popularizer of science (he even has his own television show) was recently found to have repeatedly fabricated multiple quotes over several years. The fabrications were not a one-off thing. They were deliberate and calculated, crafted with one goal in mind: to elevate Tyson, and by extension his audience, at the expense of know-nothing, knuckle-dragging nutjobs who hate science. Tyson targeted journalists, members of Congress, even former President George W. Bush. And what was their crime? They were guilty of rejecting science, according to Tyson.

There’s only one problem. None of the straw man quotes that Tyson uses to tear them down are real. The quote about the numerically illiterate newspaper headline? Fabricated. The quote about a member of Congress who said he had changed his views 360 degrees? It doesn’t exist. That time a U.S. president said “Our God is the God who named the stars” as a way of dividing Judeo-Christian beliefs from Islamic beliefs? It never happened.

[…]After I published my piece about Neil Tyson’s fabrication of the George W. Bush quote, several users edited Neil Tyson’s wiki page to include details of the quote fabrication controversy. The fact-loving, evidence-weighing, ever-objective editors of the online encyclopedia did not appreciate the inclusion of the evidence of Tyson’s fabrication. Not at all.

According to a review of the edit history of Tyson’s page, one long-time Wikipedia editor deleted an entire pending section summarizing the issue of Tyson’s fabricated quotes. Another editor attempted to insert a brief mention of Tyson’s fabrication of the George W. Bush quote. That mention was also deleted. When it was reinserted, it was deleted yet again by an editor who describes himself as a childless progressive and an apostle of Daily Kos (h/t @kerpen). Here are just a few of that user’s political ramblings, in case you were curious about the motivation behind the scrubbing of Tyson’s wiki.

Literally every single mention of Tyson’s history of fabricating quotes has been removed from Tyson’s Wikipedia page.

The Federalist post has been updated now to indicate that:

Early this morning, in a discussion thread about whether references to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s history of quote fabrication should be added to Tyson’s Wikipedia page, an editor stated that “no version of this event will be allowed into the article.”

So I hope this helps everyone to understand that Wikipedia is a joke site, and you should try never to quote from it if you are in a debate situation.

On the other hand, I have to give kudos to well-known atheist Hemant Mehta, who has a full breakdown of Tyson’s other fabrications, and Mehta, who might be expected to cover up for Tyson, instead said this “If a pastor or right-wing conservative did it, we’d be calling them out on it immediately. Tyson doesn’t deserve a free pass just because his intentions are pure. It certainly wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) get by in an academic setting, and just because he often speaks to a lay audience doesn’t mean he should make up quotations or fail to cite them if they’re real.” Now that’s an honest atheist. The reason that quote fabrication is not punished on Wikipedia, though, is because it is a joke site. And this episode proves it.

11 thoughts on “Wikipedia editor deletes all evidence of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s quote fabrication”

  1. It is a joke, to be sure, but it is a joke that the average person takes seriously. Even people who intellectually know Wikipedia is not a great source will often read it first thing in a search result. Joke or not, it is THE source of information on a given topic for most people, and Christians and Conservatives give it up at their peril. Secularists and leftists are using this incredible propaganda tool for their own ends by organizing to control the editing of Wikipedia content. So anything that has to do with politics, religion or evolution tilts one way because they are the ones who are organized and we, as we have done in the past with other institutions, just complain about it and give up rather than fight back.

    We can grumble about and dismiss Wikipedia all we want but if we don’t organize and fight the left on this by starting our own aggressive “correct Wikipedia” campaigns then that is just one more important institution that the right has given to the left, and the damage in terms of the false beliefs and impressions it will give to ordinary people will easily be on the level of what has happened when conservatives and Christians gave up the Academy and Pop Culture.


    1. Here is a quick way you can help out. Register a Wikipedia account, and then add pages you are interested in (I recommend you start with the pages of your favorite apologists) to your watchlist. Every day, or maybe every week, go to your watchlist page and see how the articles you are watching have changed. If you like the changes, thank the editor. If you don’t, then revert the changes and leave your reasons on the article talk page.

      Wikipedia settles editing wars by consensus, which translates to “majority rule.” Even if your edits are reverted, the fact that you made them and especially that you added them to the talk page counts as a vote in favor of your version of the article.

      Even better if you can get a whole church group involved in this kind of stuff. Often these edit wars (e.g. the academic bias page) are won by the fact that one side has 1-2 more editors in favor of it than the other.


        1. As a fellow Wikipedia editor, I totally agree Drew. The only way balance and objectivity can be restored (was it ever really there?) to the site is by flooding it with genuinely objective, reasonable people. Sadly, on controversial topics (religion, science, gender and sexuality) Wikipedia is dominated by pretty hard-core Progressives who see the site as a tool for social engineering.

          Having said that, I would urge prospective editors to be careful about keeping the quality of contributions as high as possible. The risk of having relatively inexperienced people flooding an article is that they tend to produce work of low quality – and this is often used by the Wiki Commissars as a convenient excuse to purge their additions.


  2. No one should be (or have been) quoting Wikipedia for anything. It isn’t and never was a “source”. Wikipedia contributors are supposed to have actual sources for the things they add. Those are the items people should reference. Even if the site were spotless, by nature it isn’t a source. Wikipedia is a very handy launching place for research, but anything that isn’t sourced should be taken with a grain of salt.


  3. I checked out the link and scanned the comments, amongst them this one:
    “This is why you always gotta check your sources. If any Creationists see all this, they’re likely to try and use any minor mistake as something to discount him completely. People do that in arguments all the time. If you misquote something, or make a typo, or you phrase something in a way that wasn’t as clear as you thought, then people will focus less on your argument and will direct their focus to the mistakes. It’s easier for them to do that rather than address the arguments.”

    I’m always very careful about Wikipedia – one can usually tell if there’s any bias. Non-controversial topics are less dangerous of course. A few weeks ago I tried doing a Google search for some “scholar” who had some loony theories and published them, but apart from Amazon, could find absolutely zilch. The Wiki entry was totally bland.


  4. Oh, I LOVE Wiki!!! It’s great for use in debates against leftists when you can find something from Wikipedia that contradicts their opinion or position. It isn’t all that uncommon for this to happen, and then they dismiss Wiki as unreliable. From that point, they can never use it again in support of their positions. It’s like shooting a guy with his own gun.

    Other than that, I don’t have much use for it for topics like politics and religion. As one said in a comment above, the sources cited are better and non-controversial topics or stories aren’t as bad.


  5. Tyson is a real dishonest freak.
    He is willfully stupid on so many issues. He is the king of the straw man which shows how weak his demented brain actually thinks of the strength of his prose.
    He said we now know better that there is no old man in the sky–when no theologian in the history of mankind would characterize God this way–He also said Revelation–you know the book of metaphors–say the stars will fall from the sky but we now know stars cant fall. NO BS..he actually said that!

    This arrogant weirdo is truly the chief of dumb, but fully encapsulates the terrible, infantile, arguments atheists use to back up their beliefs.


  6. Tyson’s thought for today:

    Obama authorized North Korea sanctions over cyber hacking. Solution there, it seems to me, is to create unhackable systems.

    Seriously. The guy tweeted that.

    He’s an idiot.


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