fortune or its reverse the seldom-updated lackaff.net blog

23Aug/060

Subverting Wikiscience?

So this story is interesting on a lot of levels. Biologist blogger PZ Myers points out this brief article about a psychology grad student who infiltrated a geeky fundamentalist Christian conspiracy. According to the article, a baker's dozen of Pentacostal techheads from Texas are making a coordinated effort to undermine articles on subjects like evolution. From the article:

Empowered by God, and led by a charismatic, MIT, computer science sophomore (who also plays lead guitar in a Christian rock band), this squad-size cohort of Christian soldiers is chipping away at Wikiscience, in subject areas entirely predictable. Clever they are too, in taking advantage of Wikiethics, specifically NPOV (i.e., Neutral Point of View), where all views must be represented, even if demonstrably incorrect; any fundamentalist worth his salt can drive a truck threw such a loop hole, and they have begun doing so. Intelligent design and biblical floods are being commingled with Darwin and DNA. The process is so far more apparent on the discussion pages than on actual pages, where God’s soldiers employ a Pentecostal version of good cop, bad cop. The bad cop is an apparent Christian trying to interject religion where science contradicts his worldview, and the good cop(s) is disguised as an atheist lending support by invoking the NPOV rule.

Is this legit? We'll have to wait until "Yellow Rose's" dissertation comes out. Seems like a challenging IRB proposal. I mostly hope there is no anti-science conspiracy at work on Wikipeda, but if there is, I can't wait to read the exposé. While the NPOV criticism isn't a new one for Wikipedia, I'm interested to see how PZ's readers will debate the issue...

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