Home » Intelligent Design » Ummm….I think Wikipedia has the Wellses confused.

Ummm….I think Wikipedia has the Wellses confused.

At least I hope it’s just confusion. If not, then it looks an awful lot like persecution of a man for his personal views. To see what I’m talking about, go here. It’s stuff like this that makes me glad to see that a rival to Wikipedia is “days away from launching” and is supposed to be “more orderly” in the management of its entries. We’ll see.

Update: It looks like the incriminating part of the “Criticism” section has been promptly removed–after having been up for at least four days! Luckily for you, dear readers, I anticipated this move and saved it:

Wells is sometimes criticized for a lack of tact. For example, he will sometimes speculate on which players are using steroids- a topic that many players consider to be taboo. He is also an intelligent design advocate and denies the explanatory power and evidence of evolution, thus Wells’ opinions of evolutionary theory conflict the views of the vast majority of biologists as most scientists deem intelligent design as pseudoscience. [emphasis added]

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21 Responses to Ummm….I think Wikipedia has the Wellses confused.

  1. I expect everyone is familiar with this Wikipedia critique of creationists. Apparently, “quote mining” is a uniquely creationist sin:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quote_mining

  2. In their article on “Of Pandas and People” Wikipedia claims that the Dover school board mandated the teaching of ID in their school system. Anyone even remotely familiar with the case knows that isn’t true:

    Wiki on P & P

    Amid an international controversy, the board also became the first in the US to mandate the teaching of ID in the classroom, sparking a lawsuit, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, by the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs.

  3. Actually, that’s pretty funny. Be funnier if they put in oil well.
    Of course, if they put that in the H.G. entry you’d really see the evos through a fit.

  4. Joseph:

    Yes Wiki articles can be a joke….I edited the article about the Kansas case which also stated that ID was required to be taught in the science classroom. After about 20 edits and it getting changed back every time, even when I presented them with the text of the actual science standards, they still kept returning it to what it was. Bring on “Citizendium”!! and lets hope it can be a little more neutral.

  5. “Bring on ‘Citizendium’!! and lets hope it can be a little more neutral.” – Citizendium

    Joseph, I really like this from the Citizendium site:
    “…we will begin with all of Wikipedia’s articles, so that the Citizendium will begin as, simply, a mirror of Wikipedia. Then people start making changes to articles in the Citizendium. On a very regular basis, we will refresh our copies of Wikipedia articles. If an entry in the Citizendium has never changed since being copied from Wikipedia, but the Wikipedia version has, then we upload the most recent Wikipedia article. But if the Citizendium has changed an article, then it is not refreshed. Tools will no doubt be written that will allow users to compare the differences between the Wikipedia article and the Citizendium article side-by-side.”

  6. I wrote “joseph”, I meant “iDoc21″

  7. “Luckily for you, dear readers, I anticipated this move and saved it:”

    Um, you do realize Wikipedia does that for you. All you have to do is check the history log. The line, “He is also a creationist” was added September 15th. It was modified over the course of the next month, until it read:
    He is also an intelligent design advocate and denies the explanatory power and evidence of evolution, thus Wells’ opinions of evolutionary theory conflict the views of the vast majority of biologists as most scientists deem intelligent design as pseudoscience.
    It was removed October 21st.

    ———

    “Update: It looks like the incriminating part of the “Criticism” section has been promptly removed–after having been up for at least four days!”

    I’m always perplexed when people complain about an inaccuracy in Wikipedia, but let it stand.

  8. CC,

    Um, you do realize Wikipedia does that for you. All you have to do is check the history log.

    Not being one to edit or contribute to Wikipedia, I had temporarily forgotten about the history log when I added the update.

    I’m always perplexed when people complain about an inaccuracy in Wikipedia, but let it stand.

    How did that section find its way into Wells’ biography in the first place? Was he mistaken for Jonathan? Why is it included as a criticism? Doesn’t this look like a demonization of Wells simply for a position he (supposedly) takes? Don’t you find it curious that the offending section was allowed to stand for so long and was then removed about an hour after my post went up without any fanfare–as if it were being brushed under the carpet?

    The reason I didn’t say anything over there is that the section was so grossly out of place that I thought anybody with a lick of sense would remove it as soon as they noticed it. Instead, what we see is that it had not only been there for over a month, but it had also undergone alterations and changes! I wanted to see what kind of response my post over here would elicit. Well, you can see what happened.

  9. Don’t you find it curious that the offending section was allowed to stand for so long and was then removed about an hour after my post went up without any fanfare–as if it were being brushed under the carpet?

    What fanfare could have accompanied it? The person who fixed the article listed the reason: “Removed anti-evolution comment. Wrong Wells (Jonathan Wells))”

    Should he have left a comment in the Criticisms section, like, “He is not, as this article has stated for a month, related to the Intelligent Design movement–that’s Jonathan Wells”? That would be unnecessary clutter in an article that’s supposed to be about a baseball player.

    Didn’t this happen precisely the way all editing of Wikipedia is done? Once someone noticed it–probably when they read this blog entry–they fixed it.

    Seriously, how else would you want the article to be fixed? What should be done to give it sufficient “fanfare”?

  10. Jugulum,

    Didn’t this happen precisely the way all editing of Wikipedia is done?

    No. At least not in my experience. Is it my imagination, or are changes to entries usually first discussed on the discussion page before they are actually made? This is precisely the sort of fanfare I’m talking about and, save one remark added way back on the fourth of this month, was conspicuously absent.

    It is important that I should note that I don’t accuse anybody at Wikipedia of willful wrondoing–despite their suspicious manner of handling the situation. Maybe they *did* simply get the Wellses confused. (I haven’t heard of David Wells’ support of ID from any other source.) If simple confusion is to blame, however, then this is merely one instantiation of editorial sloppiness which seems to pervade all of Wikipedia.

  11. crandaddy,

    Let me see if I can get this straight.

    You’re saying that you found the misinformation in the article, then, rather than doing anything about it, you sat back and wondered when someone else would notice and fix the mistake. Sure, you made a post about the mistake on this site, but you didn’t seem to do much more than that.

    With people like you in the world, why are you surprised that the misinformation stayed in the article for so long? Wikipedia content depends on people with knowledge (like you) to not only recognize mistakes in articles but also FIX THEM.

    The whole point of Wikipedia is that you (as in crandaddy) are also part of the potential editing process. By choosing to sit back and do essentially nothing despite the glaringly obvious mistake you recognized in front of you, you became part of the big mass of people who you criticize as being biased/ignorant/confused/whatever.

    Is there editorial sloppiness in Wikipedia? Yes. But you (as a potential editor) sure are contributing to it by letting such sloppiness slide by.

  12. Monimonika,

    I distinguish flagrant errors. Vandalism, grossly misplaced information, and egregiously offensive passages are examples of flagrant errors. The passage which is the topic of this thread is to be subsumed under either of the two latter categories. My experience at Wikipedia had been that flagrant errors are either removed or altered in less than 24 hours or are vigorouosly discussed in the discussion section (and are subsequently removed or altered). Neither happened in this case. I silently observed in order to see what would happen. After four days and due to its relevance to ID, I thought (and still think) it was blogworthy. Now, it just so happened that the offending section was very quickly removed after my post went up, but if that had not been the case, you better believe that I would have left my mark over there!

    BTW, I don’t care too much for your tone. I suggest you work on improving it lest you be removed from this blog.

  13. Hmm, they must have mixed up Wells with Carl Everett, who doesn’t believe in dinosaurs.

  14. I would apologize for the tone, but your logic on how you can blog about the misinformation and foist the responsibility of correcting the matter onto others while you claim righteous indignation is just… (I’ll stop here lest I type something that’ll be too negative for you.)

    If it were you who had corrected the entry, fine. You can be incredulous that no one else saw fit to fix it before and question why that was so. But you did the opposite. You decided to sit back and just mention it somewhere else where maybe someone would be interested enough to notice your post, follow the link, and do the work for you. I commend the person who corrected the mistake. I don’t commend you for purposely leaving it as is and then having the gall to blame others for letting it stand.

    Someone has to be the first to act, and you (for whatever reason) specifically chose NOT to be the first and instead quibbled about there not being anyone else taking the first step. How can you honestly expect me or anyone else to respect such thinking?

  15. moni

    Crandaddy was performing an experiment. He wanted to see how long it was before the flaming stupid liberal who didn’t know David Wells from Jonathan Wells was corrected. Wikipedia is notorious for liberal bias.

    What part of it being an experiment don’t you understand?

  16. I was thinking back to what I posted to you (crandaddy) and then remembered something from a psychology course I took. It was about a real story of how a woman was brutally beaten and murdered by a guy. What made it comment-worthy was that there had been over a dozen other people nearby who witnessed the attack but not a single one of them went to rescue the woman. The reason given for why none of the people even tried to help was because they all thought that somebody else would surely help the woman. The more people there are, the stronger this kind of thinking keeps people from acting. Given your knowledge that there are probably millions of people editing on Wikipedia, the same kind of thinking may have occurred in you. If that is the case, I apologize for my harsh words but do recommend that you (and the rest of us, too, including me) recognize when we are thinking this way and consciously go beyond it.

    Aaaand, having typed all that out I see DaveScot’s post and have to say that what I just typed still (somewhat) applies in a sense. Wonder how many other people there thought, “There’s a serious mistake in this article and it justifies my view that liberals are idiots. Let’s see how much longer this mistake will stay on here (the longer the better for my justification).”

    Thing is, it doesn’t really help distinguish people like crandaddy from the “dumb-liberals” who read the article without blinking an eye in confusion.

    Experiment? Did the intent (whether it’s from Anti-ID, Pro-ID, or just plain ignorance) matter at all in the fact that the mistake was left in the article (which is what crandaddy is complaining about, along with why it was there in the first place)? The result was the same until that one person decided to actually do something about it in the way that Wikipedia intended it to be done.

  17. Experiment?

    I guess that answers my question…

  18. To DaveScot,

    Also, what was the result of this “experiment”? That it took too long for the liberal-biased Wikipedia community to figure out and fix the problem? That was already a foregone conclusion even before this “experiment” was done due to the fact that the mistaken information had already been there for months. So, what was the point of this experiment if there was going to be only one conclusion (with varying degrees of “appropriateness” depending on the “fanfare” that accompanied the correction, but still the same conclusion that “Wikipedia’s editorial oversight sucks”)?

  19. due to the fact that the mistaken information had already been there for months

    Crandaddy only knew it had been there for four days. He stated that in the article. Did you read the whole thing or did your knee hit you in the chin before you were able to get past the first paragraph?

  20. * reads back*

    Oh, you’re right, DaveScot. crandaddy seemed to have not checked up on how long the mistake had been there before starting his “experiment”. He did imply that he wasn’t (or was no longer) familiar with how Wikipedia saved a log of changes made to each article, so I can’t really hold him totally responsible for the mistaken impression in how long the problem had persisted (and reality didturn out to be worse than he suspected).

    While I will rein back most of my anger (yes, I admit that it was anger fueling me here), I do still dispute crandaddy’s self-perceptionthat he came away with on this experiment, especially after knowing more of how Wikipedia works and having his own behavior (hoping someone else would correct the mistake) within the Wikipedia process pointed out.

    Ack! Got to go! Sorry, for leaving here.

  21. Speaking of anger, mine is growing fast. To compare my silence with regard to the Wikipedia article to a bystander watching a woman being murdered is a low blow, and you should know that. I believe I have sufficiently justified my course of action, and if you don’t like it, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I’ve never banned a commenter before, and really don’t want to start now. I fear that one more comment from you will be enough for me to give you the boot; it is for this reason that I’m closing this thread