23 June 2011

The Other Wiki's Bias

You know, I know, and every sentient being in the universe knows that the other wiki is biased toward fundamaterialism. This topic has been written about before on the old Urban Mystic, and now it is being written about here.

But first, here's a bit of old news that really reminds me of the other wiki. On 7 February 2011, Muzzammil Syed Hassan, the founder of a Muslim-oriented television network, Bridges TV, behedded his wife inside the tv studio because she wanted a divorce. She filed for a divorce because he liked to beat her. Hassan believed he was in the right, as any good Muslim would beat and behead his wife, but he was convicted of second degree murder and is serving 25 years in prison (meaning he'll be out in 5, 10 tops, for making his bed and cleaning the toilet). The mission of the television network was to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims in the west after the 9/11 attacks.

On to the main story, Daily Grail writer Greg Taylor has posted a short piece on the bias of the other wiki in favor of fundamaterialism.

But first, here's a comment left on UD by someone writing as junkdnaforlife on the other wiki's bias (bold in original):

This is an expert from the talk page of the Shroud of Turin article. The problem here was that too many atheists were complaining that the Shroud article was too “pro-authentic”, and had to be changed. The re-butt to this claim was that all the “pro-authentic” info was from peer reviewed journals, and that if the scientific evidence pointed more towards authentic than not, than that is that. But the atheists would not have it. Scientific evidence is apparently only gospel if it fits with their dogma.

So what did the lead editor have to say about the weight of peer review articles vs. “skeptic websites”?

“Wikipedia does not work that way my friend. If the readers at large feel the article is too pro-authenticity, it does not matter what the academics think. At the moment there is just one IP complaining, the key is not to get to the point where 20 IPs complain. Then we will need a rewrite. And I must say the complaints of this IP are not all empty. He has some valid points. I do not see Joe Nickle as respectable, but he has 1,000 times more readers than all the other academics combined, so he can not be ignored and must be mentioned. Wikipedia is a “public” item, not an academic item.” History2007 (talk) 16:55, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Again: Wikipedia is a “public” item, not an academic item.”

Remember this is a response to the overwhelming peer reviewed papers that support the Shroud’s authenticity. So to combat the peer reviewed papers, the science and reason police simply state that the academics do not matter more or less than a popular writer. The number of “readers” someone has now apparently holds as much weight than a Phd in the field. Perez Hilton can therefore weigh in on string theory. As long as the evidence goes against their dogma, then any BS is apparently allowed to hold as much water as peer review. And not just allowed but mandatory.

Back on track, Mr. Taylor corrected an article on trance medium Leonora Piper, pointing out flaws in skep-dick Martin Gardner's debunking. These corrections were removed and the original garbage put back up because Taylor's work was "original research":

According to user LuckyLouie, the reason for this was that "Wikipedia has a very clear policy of avoiding primary sources and instead using secondary sources that are at least one step removed from an event", and "On Wikipedia we like our 'informations' to come from reliable sources...rather than an editor doing their own original research and coming to their own original conclusions."

As an historian I can say folks in my field value primary sources over anything else. Historians want to get at primary sources, to know what really happened, rather than rely on what someone wrote later on. I learned about the value of primary sources first hand, so I can say that the other wiki and myself are fundamentally different in our view of what is and is not important in assessing facts (like Indiana Jones said, historians deal with facts, philosophers deal with truth).

Mr. Taylor points out that the other wiki holds up arch-skep-dicks as bastions of information, even when they have not done any relevant research on a topic, whereas any conflicting experts, people who have spent decades doing actual research in a given field, are tossed aside.

Gardner's article should never, ever be cited by anyone as having any authority in the Piper case. This is not based on opinion, or belief in the paranormal - it's based simply on Gardner's inability to provide factual information.

What follows is a list of Gardner's either ignorance of the facts or a deliberate attempt to mislead people.

Michael Prescott gives his take on the issue here. It's also short and a good read.