I pointed out that their article on ‘ropen’ was biased mush from a crank, and lo! The article is now flagged.
This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia’s deletion policy.
Please share your thoughts on the matter at this article’s entry on the Articles for deletion page.
Feel free to edit the article, but the article must not be blanked, and this notice must not be removed, until the discussion is closed. For more information, particularly on merging or moving the article during the discussion, read the Guide to deletion.
This article may present fringe theories, without giving appropriate weight to the mainstream view, and explaining the responses to the fringe theories. Please improve the article or discuss the issue on the talk page. (August 2014)
Good on the wiki editors!
Jonathan Whitcomb is not happy. Why, he merely tried to quotemine a paleontologist who thinks the ropen story is bullshit, by putting in a tiny excerpt from said paleontologist’s words that said cryptozoologists have to look in remote corners of the world for their subjects. Twice. Undone both times by an alert editor, with a warning given that that kind of misrepresentation is unacceptable.
I also see a note that “Websites by the author of the book are given undue weight as sources, and the article is largely acting simply to regurgitate their contents. Unsourced statements outright clipped.”
It must be an unending battle as kooks try to exercise their right to corrupt Wikipedia, and others struggle to undo the damage.
A refreshing look at the tip of the iceberg: rationality and logical inquiry trying to stem woo-woo (of any flavor). Said woo-woo surrounds us, but these days seems to thrive on the internet.
David Marjanović says
How many Wikipedia editors do you think read your blog? 100? 200? 1000?
I’m one of them, and – for the record – I’ve never touched or even read that article.
David Marjanović says
What I was trying to say… was that I’m not at all surprised the article has been improved now that you’ve blogged about it.
This could be my fault. I put a note about it on Wiki’s fringe theory noticeboard. Usually it’s the best place to get problems like this addressed.
Heh. I love how Whitcomb’s book has to point out its genre on the cover:
“Searching for Ropens and Finding God
-cover photo that so far as I can tell shows Whitcomb staring at a canal, but omits evidence of both ropens and gods-
Jonathan David Whitcomb”
He must have had problems with the first edition being mis-shelved.
What happens when the kooks run thier own encyclopedia you get something like Conservapedia.
James Stuby says
David Marjanović asks a good question. I’m a wikipedia editor too, so that makes 3 between us and Hatchetfish, at least.
I’m sure this blog and many others on FtB cause ripples of good editing to spread across wikipedia.
I use wikipedia a lot (mostly for mathematics and physics, which are typically a little easier to verify), but I haven’t really edited much in a long time. I did go look at the ropen article after PZ mentioned it, but I didn’t bother trying to fix anything, I figured more serious wikipedia editors would get to it with the additional attention it would receive from here.
Conservapedia is mind-boggling. It consistently manages to reach unbelievable depths of ignorance and delusion.
I tried to argue with Whitcomb years ago when he claimed that he had led an expedition to PNG that got within several hundred feet of a ropen nesting ground yet had no video or photos to show for it. At the time he was raising money to go back to PNG and get a little closer. I think I know why he never answered me and I definately know he never went back and got any evidence.
I have seen a number of instances where people have sneered at Wikipedia by pointing to a problematic entry and then smirkingly discuss the open editing policy as ‘proof’ that Wikipedia is entirely untrustworthy. In every single instance I’ve seen, the error has been fixed within a day.
No one should “trust” Wikipedia, but no one should “trust” Encyclopedia Britannica either. I think Wiki is a very good starting point for learning something, but one should always strive for confirmation from other sources. And if your sources don’t confirm what you found in Wiki, speak up on the Talk page!
Desert Son, OM says
moarscienceplz at #10:
Thank you for making this point. I was a teaching assistant for a professor who was furious that students were looking at Wikipedia when composing essays. When I would meet with the students, I would say, “It’s o.k. to start at Wikipedia, especially to see what Wikipedia’s list of references for the subject is. Then start digging into those references (and others) to get at the content.”
I was never able to convince the professor that using Wikipedia as a starting point is not a bad strategy, so long as the follow-up involves expansion by researching multiple sources.
@ Desert Son #11
And here is a case in point about how Brittanica is not holy scripture either. From Wikipedia’s entry on Lee DeForest concerning his invention of the triode vacuum tube:
You won’t find anything like this in Encyclopedia Brittanica because DeForest spent much of his later life writing essays about his invention which were used as the source material for almost all 20th century encyclopedia entries about him.
nice to see that what has been said about WIKI is turning out to be true that things get edited for truth.
It would be fine if the said article about ropen were not deleted but edited to show how much untruth it contains. The ropen does exist as a thing but not as a real creature.
back in the day I would have given good money to get what ever he was smoking to see some of them ropens!
Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says
99% of criticism of Wikipedia seems to follow the basic format of “think of the potential flaws in the model, project it through an amplifying lens of ‘HURR HURR ONLY STUPID TEENAGERS EVER DO THINGS ON THE ENTERNIT’, and just flatly assume no effort is being or could be made to counteract those flaws.”
also, the vast majority of articles there get placed by people trolling conservapedia for lulz.
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
What the hell is a “ropen”, anyway?
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
RE: myself @16
moarscienceplz, Desert Son:
I’ve never understood the animus toward encyclopedias, and particularly Wiki it seems, as starting points either. They’re the most efficient place to start getting a leg up on that learning threshold PZ discussed two posts after this one. For serious work you can’t stop there*, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting there. It would be downright stupid not to, really.
*Vs not serious work, like reading Star Trek TOS plot summaries, because you’re impatient and tired of seeing William Shatner’s nipples and just want to find out what happens with the big anthropomorphic lizard thing he keeps throwing rocks at and missing, so you can skip to the next episode on Netflix, where with any luck, or a merciful universe, he’ll keep his shirt on.
I don’t understand. Why would this guy think that proving pterosaurs still exist today would disprove evolution and prove YEC?
I mean… it’s very probably not true and what he uses as “evidence” is far from such, but…
Even if pterosaurs still existed, all that would mean is that somehow these creatures survived longer than we thought they did.
Nothing in evolution requires pterosaurs to be extinct, does it? I mean, we have animals like sharks around today that are also almost unchanged for many, many millions of years. So it’s not like some ancient organism might not have survived to this day in an almost unaltered state.
So… how would his lies even help with his actual intentions of “disproving” evolution?
saganite — Same thought occurred to me. Fishing up a Coelacanth in 1938 didn’t disprove evolution. I think its safe to conclude these folks looking for Ropen to disprove evolution aren’t the brightest, although they probably get significant donations to do their “research.”
It wouldn’t, except in the cartoon version of evolution that most creationists think we believe in. I imagine they think we think that evolution happens when a single baby is born with the equivalent of a superpower – such as a finch with a beak twice as strong as ordinary finches. This “superfinch” would be able to eat seeds the other finches can’t crack open, and so it becomes Lord of the Finches and all the ordinary finches die of an inferiority complex, or something.
But, if God individually created each species, then it is a perfect species, and no superfinch could possibly usurp its place in God’s divine plan. So, they think a species that we deluded people think lived unchanged for millions of years “proves” that evolution is wrong.
BTW, there is no reason to think that just because a living species looks a lot like a fossil species that it it unchanged. It would almost certainly have a very different immune system, for example, and probably has many other biochemical differences.
David Marjanović says
I’m an associate professor of history at a small college with a substandard library, and I always tell my students to start with Wikipedia for researching their papers. They’re going to use the Internet anyway, and the Wikipedia articles for the sorts of history I cover are just fine as places to begin, especially the ones with fine sources cited that encourage the students to follow the links and use interlibrary loan for printed materials. I can’t stop them from visiting worthless websites, and many students honestly cannot tell the good sites from the bad ones, but that’s another story.
this is a good place for this:
The Motherfuckin’ Pterodactyl