Tag Archives: Wikipedia

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.

Excerpt:

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.

Guerilla skepticism on Wikipedia: how should Christians and conservatives respond?

The Messianic Drew urges us to watch the first 27 minutes of this lecture featuring skeptic and anti-paranormalist Susan Gerbic. He wants us to see how skeptics are monitoring and policing wikipedia entries to give it a skeptical bias.

Here is Gerbic’s thesis:

We use Wikipedia to shape the public’s view of paranormal topics. We already know that shouting and belittling believers is not the way to go about changing minds. Guerilla skepticism is the act of inserting well-documented well-cited information into Wikipedia. We still follow all of Wikipedia’s guidelines. We are also trying to improve the history of the scientific skeptical movement and document it. It allows editors to edit from home without being confrontational with people.

The Messianic Drew wrote about the lecture on his blog.

Excerpt:

Gerbic is absolutely right. People generally trust Wikipedia, and do not view it with the same degree of scrutiny with which someone would view an atheist website.

If you are a rising Christian apologist, but don’t have the time, money, or experience to publish in professional journals or debate atheists on stage, that’s fine. The Internet is a great place to conduct apologetics. Instead of wasting your time arguing on message boards or social media (like Facebook), why not learn to edit Wikipedia? It costs nothing but time, and it reaches an audience far more open-minded than anyone you will debate online. Remember that people trust Wikipedia as a reliable source of information, something not lost on Gerbic.

Gerbic’s tactics have worked due to organization. Wikipedia has mobs of tens of thousands of editors. Gerbic’s group is a small, but highly focused army of 90 editors, and it has changed the face of Wikipedia’s paranormal pages, as well as its pages on famous skeptics, creationism, and evolution. As far as I know, there is not one single Christian apologetics organization that focuses on Wikipedia. Not one. Zilch. Zip. Zero. This needs to be fixed.

He has a whole bunch of ideas on how Christians can get on this, and he has examples of what the skeptics have been doing (before and after edits) on specific pages.

Now Drew was telling me about this video and his idea last night, and I had two objections. First, I told him that Wikipedia is a cesspool of secularism and leftism that is policed by thuggish fascists. I got this impression by reading about Wikipedia’s suppression about intelligent design on the Evolution News blog. Second, I told him that no one respects Wikipedia as a source. I never use Wikipedia as a source for anything, I prefer to link to the peer-reviewed journal articles or to reputable news sources.

Drew came back with two responses that have swayed me back from opposition to indifference. First, he said that like it or not, people do use Wikipedia to get basic information about things they are interested in. Google search even displays information from Wikipedia entries in the searches. Second, he pointed out specific edits that he had made to specific pages that were not deleted, even after a few days. And these were impressive edits, linking to sources critical of skeptics and skeptical ideas.

We were discussing this on Facebook, and many people started off by objecting to Drew’s plan to have Christians (and conservatives could also do this) systematically monitor and edit Wikipedia pages. A band of Wikipologists, if you will. I know that J. Warner Wallace tweeted his post, and Nancy Pearcey and Mike Licona both posted it on their Facebook pages. So I wanted to ask my readers: do you think that Christians should imitate these guerilla tactics on Wikipedia? Why or why not?

If you want to get involved with this, message me on Facebook, by the way.

Can you trust Wikipedia to tell you the truth about global warming?

Story from Canada’s National Post. (H/T Watts Up With That? via ECM)

Excerpt:

All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.

The Medieval Warm Period disappeared, as did criticism of the global warming orthodoxy. With the release of the Climategate Emails, the disappearing trick has been exposed. The glorious Medieval Warm Period will remain in the history books, perhaps with an asterisk to describe how a band of zealots once tried to make it disappear.

And National Review writes about another Wikipedia censor:

Peiser wrote back saying he couldn’t see my corrections on the Wikipedia page. I made the changes again, and this time confirmed that the changes had been saved. But then, in a twinkle, they were gone again. I made other changes. And others. They all disappeared shortly after they were made.

Turns out that on Wikipedia some folks are more equal than others. Kim Dabelstein Petersen is a Wikipedia “editor” who seems to devote a large part of his life to editing reams and reams of Wikipedia pages to pump the assertions of global-warming alarmists and deprecate or make disappear the arguments of skeptics.

I soon found others who had the same experience: They would try to squeeze in any dissent, or even correct an obvious slander against a dissenter, and Petersen or some other censor would immediately snuff them out.

And global warming isn’t the only topic that the Wikipedia bullies censor. Wikipedia is not reliable about intelligent design, either. Pro-ID scholars cannot even edit their own profiles – the edits just disappear.