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Without respect for fact, Wikipedia reform hopeless

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Further to Wikipedia is a reliable source. – yrs, Easter Bunny (“Controversial,” we repeatedly find, means only that some powerful lobby doesn’t like the information presented. It often has nothing to do with whether the information was accurately or adequately sourced),

From ScienceDaily:

On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage

As society turns to Wikipedia for answers, students, educators, and citizens should understand its limitations when researching scientific topics that are politically charged. On entries subject to edit-wars, like acid rain, evolution, and global change, one can obtain — within seconds — diametrically different information on the same topic, say authors of a new report.

Thank lazy students and lazier teachers.

The authors note that as Wikipedia matures, there is evidence that the breadth of its scientific content is increasingly based on source material from established scientific journals. They also note that Wikipedia employs algorithms to help identify and correct blatantly malicious edits, such as profanity. But in their view, it remains to be seen how Wikipedia will manage the dynamic, changing content that typifies politically-charged science topics.

To help readers critically evaluate Wikipedia content, Likens and Wilson suggest identifying entries that are known to have significant controversy or edit wars. They also recommend quantifying the reputation of individual editors. In the meantime, users are urged to cast a critical eye on Wikipedia source material, which is found at the bottom of each entry. More.

Unfortunately, while these are constructive suggestions in principle, they aren’t going to help that much. For one thing, anyone familiar with the scandals currently dogging peer reviewed journals will suspect, as does a commenter here, that the fundamental problem today is the lack of respect for fact in general. A lack of respect that results in ongoing scandals at the journals.

As a result, consensus science is not the answer Likens and Wilson hope it will be.

These days, on some topics, one would be better off searching at Retraction Watch than Wikipedia.

See also:

Peer review works! 64 Springer papers retracted (Is this, like, click farms for science? Anyone remember “skeptic” Michael Shermer’s defense of peer review?)


If peer review is working, why all the retractions?

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5 Replies to “Without respect for fact, Wikipedia reform hopeless

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Dr. Eddy M. del Rio has a good article up on RTBs website

    Dead Reckoning in Human Beings: An Example of Excellent Design – August 24, 2015 By Dr. Eddy M. del Rio
    Excerpt: the Apollo spacecraft needed a navigation system that could dead reckon without a compass. The task to create one was awarded to the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory of Dr. Charles Stark Draper, remembered as “the father of inertial navigation.”
    Through careful research and experimentation, Draper’s laboratory developed inertial measurement units (IMUs) that used gyroscopes to measure rotation in each of the three orthogonal axes. Additionally, accelerometers were developed to measure translation through space in the same three axes. With three gyros to detect rotation in the three axes, plus accelerometers to detect linear acceleration (translation) along the same axes, and devices to quantify these measurements, you have an IMU. With these IMUs (redundant systems) integrated with the spacecraft’s flight computer, thrusters, engines, and data on the known positions of Earth and the Moon, you have a complete inertial navigation system (INS).
    What is remarkable is that the same functional parts described above for the INS have biological counterparts in the human ear.1

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:


    podcast – Dr. Cornelius Hunter: False Predictions of Darwinian Evolution, pt. 2

    Here is part one for those who missed it:

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is Paul Giem’s new video

    The First Cause Argument (Part 1) 8-22-2015 by Paul Giem

  4. 4
    Ray Martinez says:

    Wikipedia is very easy to explain. It is a secular website with a fanatical pro-Atheism bias. This means Bible, Christianity, Church, Theism, Creationism, and any individual perceived as a real Christian will be slandered under a false guise and/or pretext.

    This is why Google grants Wikipedia the number one search slot: hatred of God.

  5. 5
    ringo says:

    I have been teaching in the public school system for 25 years now. My students understand that if they ever use Wikipedia as a source they will get a low grade. If they use a low grade source then they deserve a low grade no matter what the research is about. However, I do allow them to go back and fix the problem by finding a more reliable source of information. I do not know of many teachers who allow Wikipedia to be used as a source. Thank goodness for that!

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