HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/01/04

A correspondent who shares my interests in cosmology and in the suppression of novel ideas alerted me to the manner in which Wikipedia has been censoring and denigrating suggestions about the influence of electromagnetic forces on large-scale phenomena in the universe: see “Wikipedia Woes — Pending crisis as editors leave in droves” (by Dave Smith, 2009/12/26).

Wikipedia’s dogmatic defense of a mainstream scientific belief, together with character assassination of those who point to defects in that belief, will be familiar enough to AIDS Rethinkers (Beware the Internet: Amazon.com “reviews”, Wikipedia, and other sources of misinformation, 11 April 2009). It takes only one dedicated fanatic to dominate any given Wikipedia entry or topic, and arbitration on Wikipedia is controlled by sometimes anonymous individuals whose credentials are thereby unknown. What I found most interesting about this described censorship was the persistent “contributor”, “ScienceApologist”, who boasts of being absolutely determined to keep out of Wikipedia everything not presently sanctioned by the high Pooh-Bahs of mainstream science.

ScienceApologist gives a self-description that raises the suspicion that he, she, or they is or are in reality a Trojan Horse designed to discredit all who claim to defend science. I could not reach a conclusion as to whether or not this self-description was written satirically, because it is so perfect a send-up of the most extreme scientism — “scientism” being the quasi-religious belief that contemporary science is the place to get true answers to everything. For example:

“Wikipedia is inherently a non-innovative reference work: it stifles creativity and free-thought. If Wikipedia had been around at the time of Galileo, his ideas would have been subject to my incisive commentary and editorial braggadocio — even if I agreed with him. I am a status quo promoter.”

Surely this gives the game away! Only a self-satirist, a person of unsound mind, or a fifth columnist would write something like that.
But ScienceApologist was so assiduous in his harassment of Eric Lerner over concepts about an “Electric Universe”, leading even to Lerner being barred from contributing to Wikipedia on subjects on which he is expert, that the fifth-columnist possibility doesn’t seem applicable — unless ScienceApologist is an anarchist or terrorist who accepts “collateral damage” in the pursuit of his cause and feels no guilt about causing collateral damage.
The self-satirist possibility seems to fail on similar grounds.
One is then left with the possible explanation that ScienceApologist is of unsound mind. Within that explanation there is a more specific, albeit extremely farfetched scenario: ScienceApologist is actually the pseudonym of a proponent of a non-mainstream theory about electromagnetism in the universe that competes with Lerner’s ideas, and ScienceApologist is trying to kill two birds with a single approach: discrediting mainstream science by impersonating the extremity of scientism while at the same time preventing Wikipedia from giving a fair account of Lerner’s ideas.

Leave aside, though, what could motivate ScienceApologist, and note merely that he wants progress to stop. He boasts of wanting to suppress Galileo’s insights even knowing their value and basic truth, and brags about helping Wikipedia stifle creativity and free-thought! He is in some ways like the Luddites who rioted against the Industrial Revolution, yet ScienceApologist is even more extreme, because he wants to stop not merely material change but the advance of human understating. In the name of science, of course!

*******************************

ScienceApologist’s self-portrait contains a number of references to Wikipedia “principles” that helped me realize that Wikipedia is best described as a cult, defined as:
“Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing. . . . An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest” (American Heritage Dictionary).

ScienceApologist asserts:
“I act to mitigate, redesign, and occasionally destroy the offerings of users who think that a particular ‘breakthrough’ or ‘notable idea’ deserves more consideration than it has gotten in the academic world. Such grandstanding is forbidden by a variety of Wikipedia policies and guidelines (WP:V, WP:SOAP, WP:NOR, WP:FRINGE, WP:WEIGHT, WP:NOT, and WP:REDFLAG to name just a few).”

Here’s an immediate clue to a diagnosis of cultism: pseudo-technical insider jargon. Compare, for example, Scientology’s MEST (matter, energy, space, time), 8 dynamics, “engrams”, “clears”, “thetans”, etc.

In the cold light of rational day, these Wikipedia policies and guidelines can be seen as some combination of wishful thinking, childish naivety, megalomania, and the like — divorce from reality. “WP:V” stands for “Verifiability”: “Material challenged or likely to be challenged, and all quotations, must be attributed to a reliable, published source.”
The rub, of course, is in who is to judge “reliable”?

Naturally, Wikipedia offers guidance:
“Reliable sources — This page documents an English Wikipedia content guideline. It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.”
One notices that this does not erase the original rub, given the failure, indeed the impossibility, of defining, “generally accepted”, “common sense”, and “consensus”, even without the “occasional exceptions”.

The other principles and guidelines cited by ScienceApologist are no less irrationally dogmatic and impossible to apply objectively:
WP:SOAP: “Wikipedia is not a soapbox, a battleground, or a vehicle for propaganda and advertising” — but ScienceApologist and HIV/AIDS vigilantes and untold others have used it and continue to use it precisely as soapbox and battleground, and Wikipedia’s supposed means of resolving disputes have not put a stop to that.
WP:NOR: “Wikipedia is not a place to publish your own thoughts and analyses or to publish new information” — but the mainstream-defending dogmatists are precisely publishing their own thoughts and analyses; and it is not obvious what “new” information is supposed to be excluded. What if it’s from “reliable sources”?
WP:FRINGE: “In order to be notable enough to appear in Wikipedia, an idea should be referenced extensively, and in a serious manner, in at least one major publication, or by a notable group or individual that is independent of the theory.
Even debunking or disparaging references are adequate, as they establish the notability of the theory outside of its group of adherents.”
— note first that a judgment is already implicit in the heading “Fringe”, and then of course there are the host of following imprecisions (“extensively”, “serious”, “major”, “notable”, “independent”). Worse perhaps is the apparent allowing of “debunking or disparaging”, as though adherents of a “fringe” matter ought to be honored to mentioned at all in Wikipedia.
“Coverage on Wikipedia should not make a fringe theory appear more notable than it actually is.[1] Since Wikipedia describes significant opinions in its articles, with representation in proportion to their prominence,[2] it is important that Wikipedia itself does not become the validating source for non-significant subjects”
— as though Wikipedia could or should ever be regarded as a “validating source”! Printed encyclopedias carried a certain imprimatur because the publisher’s reputation — and therefore livelihood — hinged on the validity of its entries, and often the individuals responsible for those entries were identified or identifiable. In Wikipedia, we have anonymous and pseudonymous contributors and editors, whose penchant for denigrating the views of others is evident on any matter where differing views on a particular subject exist.
WP:WEIGHT: “Neutrality requires that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each. Now an important qualification: In general, articles should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more widely held views; generally, the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all. For example, the article on the Earth does not mention modern support for the Flat Earth concept, the view of a distinct minority.
In articles specifically about a minority viewpoint, the views may receive more attention and space. However, such pages should make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint wherever relevant, and must not reflect an attempt to rewrite content strictly from the perspective of the minority view.”
— This of course underscores ScienceApologist’s declared ambition to keep out of Wikipedia even ideas like Galileo’s that turned out to be correct and that overturned an incorrect majority view.
WP:NOT:  specifies all the things that “Wikipedia is not” — even as many entries illustrate that in practice it is, for example, a soapbox and battleground.
WP:REDFLAG “Certain red flags should prompt editors to examine the sources for a given claim:
— surprising or apparently important claims not covered by mainstream sources;
–reports of a statement by someone that seems out of character, embarrassing, controversial, or against an interest they had previously defended;
— claims that are contradicted by the prevailing view within the relevant community, or which would significantly alter mainstream assumptions, especially in science, medicine, history, politics, and biographies of living persons. This is especially true when proponents consider that there is a conspiracy to silence them.
Exceptional claims in Wikipedia require high-quality sources.[5] If such sources are not available, the material should not be included. Also be sure to adhere to other policies, such as the policy for biographies of living persons and the undue weight provision of Wikipedia:Neutral point of view.”
— That last policy, principle, or guideline is perhaps the only one that actually needs to be cited, to show what Wikipedia really is (a fairy-tale cult) and is not (an objective, reliable source):
“Neutral point of view (NPOV) is a fundamental Wikimedia principle and a cornerstone of Wikipedia. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. This is non-negotiable and expected of all articles and all editors.”
— Right. Anonymous and pseudonymous contributors all have neutral points of view. Their strong motivation to contribute is a natural corollary of possessing a neutral point of view on all matters significant (“notable”) enough to be in Wikipedia. Non-negotiable!

——————————————

These “principles and guidelines” reek of the belief that complex matters are really simple, just so long as everyone is as rational and intelligent as those who created Wikipedia; and the belief that human beings are able to behave ideally, namely, like rational robots programmed by straightforward formulas.
The assertions that Wikipedia actually “is” and “is not” these various things remind me of a present given to me when I left the University of Kentucky to become Dean of Arts & Sciences at Virginia Tech: a framed motto, “Saying so, makes it so”, referring to an old essay of mine that had struck a spark of recognition among many in academe.

Cults are characterized by the accepting on faith of unproven assertions (“Saying so, makes it so”), that emanate from the cult’s guru; examples that spring to mind are Objectivism and Ayn Rand, the Unification Church and Sun Myung Moon, Dianetics/Scientiology and L. Ron Hubbard. (Thanks to Richard Karpinski for correcting my “H. Ron…).
The fundamental  reason why Wikipedia is so cult-like may be that it too was founded by a guru, Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales, who “describes himself as an Objectivist and, with reservations, a libertarian”.
‘Nuff said?

Not quite. I enjoyed Ayn Rand’s books, especially “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”, probably as much as anyone; just as I’ve enjoyed Leslie Charteris’s “Saint” books, say, and many other works that are fundamentally fairy tales: they tailor characters and plots in a sufficiently simplistic manner that the moral of the story comes through plainly — because that’s the whole purpose of a fairy tale, to teach something about morality. But reality is not a morality tale, and the attempt to have real people live like those in such simple fairy tales has never had a happy ending. (Don’t ever forget that the recent disastrous financial bubble was largely nurtured by Alan Greenspan, devotee of Objectivism applied to free-market economics.)
Jimbo Wales describes himself as an Objectivist, and he too, like Greenspan, seems to have allowed wishful thinking to overwhelm rational empiricism. In “Atlas Shrugged”, it’s quite possible and even appropriate to have John Galt and the good guys win; it’s a fairly tale, after all!  In reality, though, it’s the Ellsworth Tooheys (see “The Fountainhead”) and the looters and moochers (see “Atlas Shrugged”) who will take over by sheer force of numbers and reduce their domain to its lowest possible denominators.
That’s what has happened with Wikipedia, on subjects where the mainstream consensus has outlived its validity and survives only by suppressing the waves of the future.

An obvious cure for the worst ills of Wikipedia would be a requirement that every contributor be named and post a CV. That would constitute no problem for anyone who abides by Wikipedia’s principles and guidelines.

**************************************

A more drastic remedy is suggested by Tom Bolen in a must-read piece.

23 Responses to “The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia”

  1. Philip said

    Amusing Anectode: I always tell students that when I want them to report on acupuncture or chinese medicine, I want their reports to be based on real sources and not just the internet. I didn’t mention Wikipedia specifically but I implied it.

    Lo and behold some freak of nature starts his slide presentation quoting in VERBATIM the first few sentences of the wikipedia entry of Chinese Medicine. I then stopped him and pointed out the fact.

    “How did you know, sir?”

    “Don’t you think I READ and try to edit articles on wikipedia? GET OUT AND GET SOME REAL BOOKS.”

    The least he could have done was paraphrase it.

  2. Clay Barham said

    America dissolved the two tier social structure that still exists in the rest of our world. It was the major deterrent to economic progress in the world, because it shut off adventure by the many ruled by the few. The two tier, elite and powerful few ruling the weak many in the social herd, meant no one should stand above their fellows in each tier. No one could safely challenge the accepted and established way things operated. There was no attraction to do so, no pulling a single individual forward into uncharted waters, only the fear of being punished. America, without an elite and powerful few ruling the herd, experienced what it was like for free men and women to think out of the social bubble and act out of the box, become pebble-droppers and try to fly in so many areas of interest, that progress was the unavoidable result. This is what the 19th century libertarian Democrats fought to retain for America that the 20th century Democrats are trying to destroy. This is what the libertarians, objectivists, Ayn Rand supporters and most knowledgeable conservatives are trying to retain today against a new two tier society where an elite and powerful few have gained political power and are exercising it now. Claysamerica.com shows these roots for those interested in easy learning.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Clay Barham: The two-tier elite at the moment is most of us at the bottom and CORPORATIONS at the top. Men and women are not free when the means of production, distribution and exchange are controlled by large commercial bureaucracies, which are just as dangerous as large non-commercial (government) bureaucracies. Moreover the financial needs for getting elected mean that the non-commercial (not-for-profit) bureaucracies are increasingly influenced by the commercial (for-profit) ones. We need term limits to break the “non-profit” bureaucracies and anti-trust enforcement to break the for-profit monopolies.

      • Philip said

        Ever heard of Distributivism? It’s an interesting alternative.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Philip: I hadn’t. But I’ve looked it up now, and it seems to me that the concept — of widespread ownership of industries and businesses presumably by widespread share-holding — doesn’t really meet the problem of how to organize a mass society. Decisions can’t be made by universal vote. Currently we have “representative” government with the representatives all too often NOT representing the wishes of their constituents, and huge corporations (and “non-profit” enterprises) run for the benefit of the managers rather than the shareholders. The problem remains, how to get accountability from those who are in management roles in government and business and industry and education…

      • Where we have term limits for legislators, we need both budget constraints and term limits for lobbyists since with ignorant new legislators, the lobbyists have undue influence even without money.

        In particular, I’m fond of the idea I think I heard from Larry Lessig and Change-Congress.org that all incumbent legislators be required to accept only public financial support for further political campaigns. This would let them spend more time and energy legislating since they would spend no time raising campaign funds. The lobbyists in turn would be comparably powerful as unfunded citizen groups to advance their own or their employer’s agendas.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Richard Karpinski: YES. With the emphasis that “The lobbyists in turn would be NO MORE THAN comparably powerful “. But I doubt that there’s any way short of armed revolution to bring about that sort of change 🙂

  3. realpc said

    I have noticed that Wikipedia is very often biased toward the mainstream scientific consensus. Since I am skeptical of the mainstream views in several areas, including HIV, reading Wikipedia is often a frustrating experience for me. I find very little helpful information on any areas of alternative science there.

    However, I do not have the sense that Wikipedia is a cult, or that their mainstream bias is abnormal. Consider the fact that respected science publishers, such as Nature, have the same kind of intolerant mainstream bias.

    If Wikipedia actually allowed an open and free exchange of ideas, it would quickly be overwhelmed by all kinds of insanity. Although I am very much into alternative science, I admit that most of it is probably wacky garbage.

    So there has to be some kind of screening method, if Wikipedia is to be considered a reliable source of scientific information. The easiest approach is to screen out non-mainstream ideas.

    Of course this is frustrating to anyone who parts from the mainstream consensus in any way. I want to know the real facts about HIV/AIDS, and I know I can’t get them from Wikipedia.

    But there are plenty of alternatives, such as this blog.

    Wikipedia is not objective, unbiased or tolerant of new ideas. But, as I said, that doesn’t make it a cult, and there are good reasons for its narrow-minded intolerance.

    It’s a question of where the lines are to be drawn. They can’t accept everything, and they can’t be expected to know which alternative ideas are promising and which are merely crazy.

    Yes we are an individualistic society that celebrates freedom of thought. But we can’t expect Wikipedia to reflect the free thought of an entire society. It reflects only, or mostly, what has been established or accepted by acknowledge experts.

    And acknowledged experts tend to be herd animals, since they have reputations and careers to maintain.

    • Henry Bauer said

      realpc: The difference between mainstream sources and Wikipedia is that with mainstream sources you know who you are dealing with and can look at their credentials as a guide to how qualified they might be to write about a given topic. Wikipedia is open to wannabees who have shown themselves in some cases to be individual fanatics and not proper reflections of the actual mainstream. Follow the links in my piece, and the links in those, for hair-raising instances of re-writing the global-warming story against the facts and in line with extremist propaganda.
      I agree entirely that conservatism is a useful safeguard of reliability; but suppression is something else again, most particularly in what claims to be an encyclopedic resource. If Wikipedia really practiced “neutral point of view”, minority views would be mentioned and some of their soundest references would be cited for those who want to pursue the matter. ScienceApologist would have to mention Galileo and what his views are and, in neutral tone, what the counter arguments are.
      One of the things that marks Wikipedia as a cult is the absolute control exercised by the insiders and the lack of accountability outside the cult.

      • realpc said

        Well maybe it is a cult. It does have a frightening degree of control over our culture’s knowledge and beliefs. However I think, hope, that people will gradually see through it, if the bias becomes obvious enough.

        And I think that alternative ideas have always been hard to find, although anyone who wanted to could find them.

        Most people don’t want to know there are alternatives, because it’s too confusing. It’s easier to be satisfied with the majority opinions.

        Yes I have been dismayed at times at what I’ve found at wikipedia. But I am also not that surprised.

        And the truth comes out eventually. The internet promotes more than it hinders dissent and controversy.

      • Henry Bauer said

        realpc: But Internet and Wikipedia don’t promote HIGH-QUALITY DISCOURSE

  4. When you say H. Ron Hubbard, I think you mean L. Ron Hubbard.

  5. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, Yes, the Internet and Wikipedia both, few exceptions, engage in base rhetoric.

  6. realpc said

    “But Internet and Wikipedia don’t promote HIGH-QUALITY DISCOURSE”

    It would be hard to get anyone to agree on what discourse is high quality or not. Impossible. We have the respected mainstream journals, which reject anything that hints of alternative views. And we have the dissenters, and no easy way of determining which of them have something of scientific value to say.

    We have to figure it out for ourselves, and the internet at least provides huge mountains of information. But we have to sort through it.

    So the choices are: go with the mainstream consensus on everything and be smug and certain, or be a truth seeker and be confused.

    I don’t mind being confused, and to me it’s better than fooling myself into thinking I have the answers. But most people don’t care enough, or don’t have the time, to consider alternatives.

  7. When there is an argument, despite that some claim the issue is settled, I like to see the other sides. If I had my way, each Wikipedia page would have not only a talk page but any number of alternative article/talk page pairs with both signed and anonymous supporters for each alternative.

    I particularly like the IBIS form of argumentation. The Issue Based Information System was devised by Horst Rittel, a professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley. At that time, he had to invent a hypertext system on the Apple ][ to support it so that one could see the Questions, the Questions and Answers, or Questions, Answers, Pro and Con arguments for each answer, along with footnotes, references to supporting material, and links to related information directly available.

    The chief constraint of IBIS is that Answers must be linked to the Questions they answer and Arguments Pro and Con must be linked to the Answers they support or refute. It is amazing how much it clarifies an Answer (or Position, in the original) to see the exact Question (or Issue) it responds to. The most controversial Questions are of the “What should we do about …?” variety, but this is the best way I know to encompass multiple viewpoints in a single document. The list of top level Questions serves as an index into the discussion and reminds people that there might be different Questions that would get better Answers.

    I like to use outline form to get maximum content in a screen load of text, but many people prefer a graphical representation such as Compendium from the Open University in the United Kingdom. Jeff Conklin has a short video on YouTube showing why this form is better than a simple transcript of the discussion, and an expensive book on the subject called “Dialogue Mapping”. There are other argumentation systems which are also used in teaching critical thinking skills and in practicing them. Pretty much all of them are more effective than shouting or “tea bagging” in revealing the nature of the disputes involved.

    When (highly abbreviated) forms of this are used in real time and displayed on shared media, groups of a dozen or so discussants can explore some problem solution space in depth without having to have the same points brought up repeatedly to keep them from being lost. In effect the shared display extends the short term memory of the entire group. Such systems can be used to support the intriguing notion of deliberative democracy which has its own successes.

    Finally, to tie this back to Wikipedia on the World Wide Web, both SideWiki from Google and Reframe It from ReframeIt.com let anyone create a margin on the side of anyone’s web page in which to make marginal notes. Thus you don’t need permission from Wikipedia to add your comments and links to any page found there. Only those who subscribe to the free service you used will be able to see your comments, but it’s easy to share them via blogs, emails, and even tweets and social networking services. Thus endeth the suppression of alternative viewpoints in Wikipedia.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Richard Karpinski: “Thus endeth the suppression of alternative viewpoints in Wikipedia.”
      Only, unfortunately, if all the users were as scrupulous and interested in substance as you are :-)==

  8. Dave Smith said

    Giday Henry. First, thanks so much for expanding on my article with your own views and commentary on what is a very real problem with Wikipedia, especially when it involves ideas which challenge “consensus science” views.

    If I may be self-serving to some degree, please allow your readers to be directed to the Wikipedia Editing Environment Survey linked from my thunderblog, in case they didn’t go there and read it for themselves. You don’t need to be a Wikipedia editor to have your say, and the results will be published as available (probably updated weekly for a time) on the thunderbolts Survey Results Page.

    As the Thunderblogs are a collective effort (it’s not my own personal site) I restricted myself to an arm’s length description of the problems, but I first became aware of the environment at Wikipedia when attempting to update the biography of David Talbott, founder of the Thunderbolts site and proponent of the Electric Universe theory, about a year ago. I entered Wikipedia using my real name (I’m known fairly consitently online as “davesmith_au”) and declared a potential Conflict of Interest before doing any edits. I attempted to stay within the rules and guidelines and to keep my edits neutral, but it seems they only apply to some editors, and not to others. I’ve collated the results of this effort on a page I call Pig Wrestling, but it’s rather a long page. About a third of the way down is where I joined Wikipedia. The most telling part of the story is what happened when I attempted “conflict resolution”, catalogued near the bottom of the page.

    As you have correctly identified Henry, by far the biggest problem with Wikipedia is the anonymity issue, especially as Wikipedia has a strictly enforced policy of not “outing” (revealing the identity of) editors who use pseudonyms, even when clear conflicts of interest exist. As an example, the user Phaedrus7 is well-known to both yourself and I privately as an avid adversary of Dave Talbott, (among others) and his editing remarks and style will clearly indicate to you to whom it is I am referring. His own Wikipedia biography (which he is quick to link to in his personal emails) has been extensively embellished by himself, including his mundane current job! Yet both he and ScienceApologist (who has also had personal adversarial contact with both Talbott and myself) vehemently prevented me adding anything Talbott has done in the last 20 or more years, even though the Thunderbolts site is enjoying quite high visitation rates and his work is well-known within appropriate circles. And, they both denied any conflict of interest, which really would be laughable if it were not such a serious matter as a living person’s biography. Reading Talbott’s current Wikipedia biography, you could be forgiven for thinking he fell off the planet after 1980!

    There is so much more to this story which space here will not allow, enough to fill a small book! Hmm, that gives me an idea…

    Cheers, Dave Smith.

    • Dale Martin said

      Phaedrus7 is probably C. Leroy Ellenberger, as indicated by the “COIBot” report, in particular entries 42 and 43.

      • Dave Smith said

        Giday Dale, there is no doubt about that, he finally admitted as much in a semi-private email a few months ago. Of course, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to confirm that anyhow, just look at the history of Ellenberger’s biography, no surprizes who has added the most embellishing detail to the bio! And he still claims to have no conflict of interest. Of course, if you try to point that out on Wikipedia they’ll immediately block/ban you for “outing” someone. I never was a fan of secret societies…

  9. Not only the English Wikipedia is biased about everything ‘non-mainstream’.The Dutch Wikipedia is dominated by an offspring of CSICOP that seems to have a large say in the English Wikipedia when it comes to anything paranormal.
    For Wikipedia, English and Dutch and probably other countries as well, there is no such thing as scientific research in parapsychology (what doesn’t exist can’t be researched), alternative medicine, the broad spectrum of human experience, UFO’s, Forteana, cryptozoology, you name it.
    I remember a complaint of Dean Radin, senior scientist at the institute of Noetic Sciences and writer of several scientific books on parapsychology, who tried to rectify his personal data on Wikipedia, which was flatly denied. That’s pretty unbelievable, but that’s how far it goes. Do I detect lovely James Randi behind the scenes?

  10. Dale Martin said

    ScienceApologist has “outed” himself many times, identifying himself as graduate student Joshua Schroeder, now at Columbia University. See for example:
    * His presentation on Pseudoscience on Wikipedia
    * His change of username on Wikipedia.
    His behavior is well-known to many on Wikipedia. For example, he has:
    * Falsely claimed to be a professor (a claim which has resulted other editors to be banned, see the “Essjay controversy“)
    * Claimed to be a “mainstream expert
    * Tried to get a career scientist fired from their job
    * Used several sockpuppets abusively on Wikipedia
    * Been blocked on Wikipedia probably more than any other editor
    * Has trashed other people’s web sites
    I personally know several other professional scientists (Ph.D, professors), and professional writers, who have quit Wikipedia because of Josh Schroeder.

  11. Barry said

    The biography of ScienceApologist (AKA Joshua Schroeder) seems to leave no surprises.

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