Why We Should Be Wary of Wikipedia

If you’re like me, and pretty much the rest of humanity, when you want to know something, you Google it. Invariably, at or near the top of the results, is a Wikipedia finding with your answer. 

That is an astounding amount of power and influence for Wikipedia. 

Wikipedia claims to be the place for us to understand… everything, quickly and simply. 

Apparently we trust Wikipedia… why? 

For one thing, Wikipedia is a nonprofit

And it says that: 

Wikipedia is a place to learn, free from bias or agenda… Show the world that access to independent and unbiased information matters to you.” — The Wikimedia Foundation

How does Wikipedia provide this “independent and unbiased” information?

Wikimedia, the foundation that hosts Wikipedia, allows anonymous individuals whose identity it does not know — and whose expertise or agenda it has not vetted — to create its content. 

Some of these anonymous editors are relentless about creating negative perceptions of certain individuals and entities — and they are experts at it, rendering their subjects powerless to correct false or slanted information. 

This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and widely discussed. But is it? Not that I can see. I searched Google to see how much this has come out in major media.  

I found a 2021 article in The Washington Post, written by Samuel Baltz, “a PhD candidate in political science and scientific computing and an MS student in applied mathematics at the University of Michigan.” He asserted: 

Wikipedia is one of the few socially driven websites where, even though anyone can contribute information about breaking news, misinformation is largely suppressed. And Wikipedia’s coverage of current events often directs attention to its pages about ideas in political science, giving readers context for the news…

Wikipedia has developed an impressive record of political and ideological neutrality.

He then goes on to state that it “has serious biases in its coverage.” But what strikes me is that those biases are in the interests of the establishment media like The Washington Post. And, like the fox in the hen house, those media serve as the actual arbiters for whether information on Wikipedia should be trusted. Baltz writes:

From the gender gap in its biographies of scientists to its disproportionate focus on politicians from wealthy countries, Wikipedia’s coverage of people is particularly skewed. And these biases are rampant on the pages that people visit to understand political events.

But because anyone can become a Wikipedia editor, these biases can be corrected.

In other words, the problem with Wikipedia is that it is not politically correct enough, from a kind of establishment liberal perspective. This means women, minorities, and non-Americans are underrepresented — which, as we all know, is hardly a problem limited to Wikipedia alone. The Washington Post has its own problems around this issue

Keep reading

The CDC Puts Itself In Charge Of Language Too

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has come out with a guide for how we are all to speak and write. This can be found on the website titled, “Preferred Terms for Select Population Groups & Communities.” It is clear that this list is being read and distributed broadly – from medical institutions, hospitals, scientific communications, doctor’s offices, schools and universities, as well as other US Government agencies and institutes.

The CDC is the arm of the US Government tasked with disease control and prevention. It is not tasked with correcting wrong-speak.

Now, how exactly this guide fits in with the CDC mission is beyond me.

Keep reading

Internews President to WEF: “Gendered disinformation” is “terrifying,” online platforms need to keep people safe

It’s entirely unsurprising that Brian Stelter, once of CNN, has gotten the gig of moderating a panel at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos conference.

And it’s no shocker that stuff like the apparently extremely dangerous problem of “gendered disinformation” was what he got to discuss.

Stelter – a self-styled technology and “misinformation” expert, whose sometimes astonishing takes in support of censorship were given air on the cable channel during the worst days of the pandemic-and-elections-induced free speech crises of the past years – hosted a Davos event called, “Clear and Present Danger of Disinformation.”

Panelists included EU Commissioner Vera Jourova, New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, US Democrat Congressman Seth Moulton, and Jeanne Bourgault, CEO of Internews.

And Stelter wanted to know how the discussion related to “everything else” that was happening in the world elites’ stomping ground of Davos.

In response, Sulzberger voiced a dramatic warning: whatever he defines as disinformation is “the most existential problem” in the world, the publisher said – it is “attacking trust” and causing societies to “fracture.”

Now, those who might think “Internews” is a news organization would be mistaken; it is a nonprofit with as many as 30 offices around the world, where it supports “independent media” in 100 countries.

Keep reading

Woke Stars Shine: Colorado College Astrophysics Prof Claims the Study of Space Is Racist, Sexist

Colorado College astrophysics professor Natalie Gosnell says her field is engrossed in “white supremacy” and sexism, adding that language used to describe the cosmos is “very violent and hyper-masculine.”

Gosnell, who is dismayed over society separating “math” and “creativity” into two categories, says dichotomizing these two characteristics is rooted in systemic racism and sexism, according to a report by Colorado College News.

“As an astrophysicist, I’m a product of institutions that are steeped in systemic racism and white supremacy,” Gosnell told the student newspaper.

“The tenets of white supremacy that show up [in physics] of individualism and exceptionalism and perfectionism… it’s either-or thinking, and there’s no subtlety, there’s no gray area,” the professor added. “All of this manifests in the way that we think about our research, and what counts as good research, what counts as important research?”

Colorado College News concurred, adding that “most of Gosnell’s career has been dictated by the hyper-masculine world of astrophysics.”

When a star transfers its mass to an orbiting star, for example, this process is discussed “through a violent, hyper-masculine lens,” the student newspaper said, noting that the phenomenon has been referred to as a “Vampire star” or “Cannibal star,” with Gosnell adding that these stars are also viewed as the “bad boys” of the universe.

“I think because science and art have been so separated, and there’s — systemic issues within science, the metaphors that are often chosen [to discuss science] are very violent and hyper-masculine,” the professor said.

Keep reading

German Justice Minister Replaced For Being a White Male

The German Green Party has fired Justice Minister Dirk Adams, ostensibly for no other reason than him being male and white, and replaced him with an unqualified woman of African heritage.

Yes, really.

Adams was dismissed from his role in the German state of Thuringia, not because he had been caught engaged in any wrongdoing, but because of his gender and skin color.

“Adams will now be replaced by Afro-German Doreen Denstädt. Thuringia’s Minister-President Bodo Ramelow, of the Left Party, fired Adams, who was the Minister for Migration, Justice and Consumer Protection. The dismissal came about after the Green party directly requested him to be replaced by Denstädt, who has no law degree or political experience,” reports Remix News.

“Denstädt only served as a clerk in the police trust office in the Thuringian Ministry of the Interior. Her lack of experience in any real substantive role means her improbable career leap to her new position as justice minister for an entire German state appears to have been due to her skin color and gender.”

Adams had been in his position since March 2020 and expressed no desire to leave the role, but was asked to resign by party leadership so he could be replaced by a non-white person.

“In the current situation, out of responsibility to my ministry, I cannot comply with this request,” Adams wrote, adding that his department was in the middle of handling serious work and that party leaders would have to ask the state prime minister to fire him if they wanted him gone.

That duly happened and Adams was replaced for being pale, stale and male.

“When a minister has to go because he is a white man to be replaced by a black woman, that is open racism and gender discrimination,” said AfD politician, Beatrix von Storch.

The Greens celebrated ousting Adams by heralding it as a sign of the “importance that the topics of integration and migration have for us Alliance Greens.”

Keep reading

Language Police: USC Removes ‘Field’ from ‘Field Work’ Because It May Be ‘Anti-Black or Anti-Immigrant’

USC’s School of Social Work is removing the word “field” from its curriculum and practice, arguing that it “could be considered anti-black or anti-immigrant” to say someone is “going into the field” or conducting “field work.” The university explains, “our goal is not just to change language but to honor and acknowledge inclusion and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies.”

“We have decided to remove the term ‘field’ from our curriculum and practice and replace it with ‘practicum.’ This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that could be considered anti-black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language,” a letter from the Practicum Education Department read.

The letter was shared by Houman David Hemmati, a board-certified MD Ophthalmologist and Ph.D. research scientist, who said the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work “will no longer use the word ‘field’ (as in ‘conducting field work’) because it’s perceived as racist.”

Keep reading

French ‘Anti-Hate’ Site Lists Mainstream Catholic Symbols Alongside Nazi Devices

A French “anti-hate” website claiming to catalogue far-right symbols has listed several mainstream Roman Catholic symbols, including crosses and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, alongside well-known Nazi devices.

The French “anti-hate” website Indextreme claims that it is looking to “observe, catalogue and publicize the graphic symbols used by the far right in France,” and places various mainstream Roman Catholic symbols alongside those of Nazism and other far-right ideologies.

The project, which was created by graphic designer Geoffrey Dorne and photojournalist Ricardo Parreira and has been promoted by the leftist French website StreetPress, lists many symbols broken up into various categories from phrases to animals, flags, gestures, numbers, and crosses.

Keep reading

Jordan Peterson ordered to enter ‘re-education’ program in Canada over his comments, speech that ‘may cause harm.’ He’s refusing to comply.

Jordan Peterson has been ordered by a Canadian psychology governing body to enter what Peterson called a “re-education” program reportedly over his past comments and speech that “may cause harm.”

Not surprisingly, Peterson said Wednesday he “formally indicated” his “refusal to comply” with the demands of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

What are the details?

Peterson posted to Twitter parts of a document from the College of Psychologists of Ontario that outlined its concern over his “public statements made on social media and during a January 25, 2022, podcast appearance” that “may have lacked professionalism.”

The document indicates that Peterson is to work with another professional to “review, reflect on, and ameliorate [his] professionalism in public statements” and complete a “Coaching Program.”

Keep reading

The rise of Archaeologists Anonymous

In a quiet group chat in an obscure part of the internet, a small number of anonymous accounts are swapping references from academic publications and feverishly poring over complex graphs of DNA analysis. These are not your average trolls, but scholars, researchers and students who have come together online to discuss the latest findings in archaeology. Why would established academics not be having these conversations in a conference hall or a lecture theatre? The answer might surprise you.

The equation of anonymity on the internet with deviance, mischief and hate has become a central plank in the global war on “misinformation”. But for many of us, anonymity has allowed us to pursue our passion for scholarly research in a way that is simply impossible within the censorious confines of modern academia. And so, in these hidden places, professional geneticists, bioarchaeologists and physical anthropologists have created a network of counter-research. Using home-made software, spreadsheets and private servers, detailed and rigorous work is conducted away from prying eyes and hectoring voices.

Many, like myself, are “junior researchers” or PhD drop-outs — people with one foot in the door but who recognise how precarious academic jobs are. Anonymity comes naturally to a younger generation of internet users, reared on forums and different social media platforms. They exploit the benefits and protections of not having every public statement forever attached to your person. I chose to start an anonymous profile during lockdown, a period which saw many professionals adopt a pseudonym as eyes turned to the internet and political positions emerged in relation to Covid, the presidential election and public demonstrations in the West.

Archaeology has always been a battleground, since it helps define and legitimise crucial subjects about the past, human nature and the history of particular nations and peoples. Most humanities disciplines veer to the Left today, explicitly and implicitly, but archaeology is the outlier. Instead, it is in the middle of an upheaval — one which will have deeply troubling consequences for many researchers who suddenly see decades of carefully managed theories crumble before their eyes.

In the absence of genetic data, it was once possible to argue that changes in the material record (objects and artefacts such as pottery, stone and metal tools, craft objects, clothing and so on) reflected some kind of passive or diffuse spread of technologies and fashions, but this is no longer the case. For instance, for many years students and the public were told that “pots are not people” — that new styles of pottery suddenly appearing in the record does not mean that new people had arrived with them  and the appearance of the so-called “Bell Beaker” pottery in the British Bronze Age showed how imitation and trade allowed new styles of ceramics to spread from the continent.

But in 2018, a bombshell paper proved this was fundamentally incorrect. In fact, nearly 90% of the population of Britain was replaced in a short period, corresponding to the movement of the Bell Beaker people into Britain and the subsequent disappearance of the previous Neolithic inhabitants. We know this because careful genetic work, building from paper to paper, shows clearly that the new arrivals were different people, with different maternal and paternal DNA. Papers like this appear almost weekly now. Most recently, the confirmation that the Anglo-Saxons did indeed arrive from northern Europe has caused many academics a great headache, since for years the very idea of an invasion of Germanic peoples has been downplayed and even dismissed.

What seems obvious to the general public — that prehistory was a bloody mess of invasions, migrations, battles and conflict — is not always a commonplace view among researchers. Worse, the idea that ancient peoples organised themselves among clear ethnic and tribal lines is also taboo. Obvious statements of common sense, such as the existence of patriarchy in the past, are constantly challenged and the general tone of academia is one of refutation: both of established theories and thinkers and of disagreeable parts of the past itself.

Added to this is the ever-present fear that studies and results are being used by the wrong kind of people. In a 2019 journal article, entitled “Genetics, archaeology and the far-Right: An unholy trinity”, Susanne Hakenbeck expresses grave concern that recent genetics work on the early Bronze Age invasions of the Indo-European steppe are needlessly giving oxygen to dangerous ideas — namely that young men from one ethnic group might have migrated from the Pontic-Caspian grasslands and violently subdued their neighbours, passing on their paternal DNA at the expense of the native males. This narrative, fairly well-supported in the genetics literature, is for Hakenbeck deeply unpleasant and wrong:

“We see a return to notions of bounded ethnic groups equivalent to archaeological cultures and of a shared Indo-European social organisation based on common linguistic fragments. Both angles are essentialist and carry a deeply problematic ideological baggage. We are being offered an appealingly simple narrative of a past shaped by virile young men going out to conquer a continent, given apparent legitimacy by the scientific method.”

That war-like young men might have invaded a nearby settlement is apparently a troublesome statement, something that, again, most lay people simply wouldn’t find difficult to contemplate. Yet others have gone further still. Historian Wolf Liebeschuetz and archaeologist Sebastian Brather, to pick on just two, have both firmly insisted that archaeology must not, and cannot, be used to trace migrations or identify different ethnic groups in prehistory. To quote from Liebeschuetz’s 2015 book, East and West in Late Antiquity: “Archaeology can trace cultural diffusion, but it cannot be used to distinguish between peoples, and should not be used to trace migration. Arguments from language and etymology are irrelevant.”

Keep reading

Nationwide survey finds most medical schools have embedded DEI into their programs

A new survey completed by dozens of medical schools found they are committed to making DEI part of virtually every aspect of their programs, from promoting staff to treating patients.

More than 100 institutions took part in the Association of American Medical Colleges’ “Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, & Equity Inventory,” the first-ever report on DEI policies and practices at U.S. and Canadian medical schools, according to a November 10 AAMC news release.

“Major highlights” of the report include the finding that 100 percent of medical schools surveyed have admissions “that support a diverse class of students.”

Additional highlights are that 97 percent of schools have senior leaders “who show commitment to DEI in their personal actions” and communication, and 89 percent of medical schools say DEI is central to their school’s mission statement, the news release stated.

The AAMC is a nonprofit organization that lists as members 170 accredited medical schools, more than 400 teaching hospitals and health systems, and more than 70 faculty and academic societies, according to its website.

Report co-author and medical doctor Malika Fair stated the findings confirmed that existing DEI policies are effective and “doing well” and identified targets to integrate DEI deeper into the institutions, the group stated in its release.

However, Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, board chair of Do No Harm, an organization of medical professionals opposed to identity politics in medicine, criticized the AAMC’s priorities as “a real risk for the American people.”

“The AAMC has made it clear that they value diversity and the elements of critical race theory, including assuming that any deficits in educational attainment or disparities in health outcomes are the result of oppression of minorities,” Goldfarb told The College Fix in an email Wednesday.

“The public can now see how misguided the leadership of American medical education has become. Merit and complete commitment to caring for patients as individuals has given way to a focus on social justice, group identity, and diversity of the physician workforce. This emphasis poses a real risk for the American people,” he said.

Keep reading