Wikipedia definitively rejects unsubstantiated woo

The “Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology” put up this petition at Change.org, demanding  that Wikipedia loosen its criteria for posting about alternative medicine. The petition argues that areas like acupuncture, energy psychology and other such mishigass “are being controlled by a few self-appointed ‘skeptics’ who serve as de facto censors for Wikipedia.”

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I’m not sure what “comprehensive energy psychology” is, but its website describes it, in part, like this (my emphasis):

Energy psychology (EP) is a family of integrative approaches to psychotherapy, coaching and healthcare treatment rooted in mind-body healing traditions that are up to 5,000 years old. EP methods blend the bio-energetic insights of these traditions with the best of contemporary psychological practice, and have been refined through 35 years of modern clinical experience with millions of clients throughout the world.
Energy psychology gently and swiftly release traumatic events that are frozen in time in the body-mind system. These events can negatively influence how a person sees the world, experiences and regulates emotion and relates to other people.

Embracing what modern physicists and ancient wisdom traditions know, energy psychology acknowledges the role of bio-energetic systems within and between people as important determinants of health and well-being, illness and pathology.

Energy psychology theory suggests that psychological problems are a reflection of disturbed bio-energetic patterns within the mind-body system—a system that involves complex communication between a person’s neurobiology and their cognitive-behavioral-emotional patterns.

And that sounds like classic woo to me—a combination of Scientology and past-life regression. In fact, it’s just a fancy description, in “bio-energetic terms” of the fact that mental problems may result from bad social interactions as well as their biology. But the part about “gently and swiftly releasing traumatic events” is very woo-ish.

Regardless, if the field has claims, and those claims, like all scientific claims, are to appear on Wikipedia, they must be documented with results from peer-reviewed journals. For that is the policy of Wikipedia, and it’s a good one, too—preventing people like Rupert Sheldrake from dominating the pages with unsubstantiated woo. (Remember, these woo-meisters have legions of rabid followers eager to “sit on” their Wiki pages.)

Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia, a group headed by Susan Gerbic, and one I like a lot, has taken up the cudgels to ensure that “wooish” claims are documented scientifically. Their agenda is only that extraordinary claims be supported by solid evidence, yet they’ve been excoriated by the likes of Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra, neither of whose pages they’ve touched.  So they’ll be please by the announcement that Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, will have none of this nonsense,  and he’s responded  to the petition as follows: 

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That is what is know in the trade as a “pwn”.  Indeed, look at how he characterizes some of these people: as “lunatic charlatans.” It’s rare, but refreshing, to see such no-nonsense language used by such a powerful person.

Over at Skeptical Software Tools, Tim Farley describes the kerfuffle:

In the last year or so, the success of Susan’s project has gotten many paranormal and alternative medicine advocates riled up. They’ve repeatedly floated conspiracy theories that skeptics are somehow rigging the game on Wikipedia, or even bullying opponents off the site. Even personalities like Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra have gotten involved. None of these accusations have been supported by facts, and both Sheldrake and Chopra have been subsequently embarrassed by their own supporters’ rule-breaking behavior on the service.

With this response, Wales makes clear what I have been saying all along – the rules of evidence on Wikipedia are pro-skeptic and pro-science. If you are pushing an idea that science rejects, Wikipedia will reject it too. . . Paranormalists and pseudoscientists take note: skeptics are not bullying you off Wikipedia. We are only enforcing the rules of evidence as clearly stated on the service. If you cannot provide adequate evidence for your ideas, they will not be accepted. So says Jimmy Wales, so say we all.

. . . This petition has dribbled along for several months since it was posted, failing to reach the 10,000 signatures that were sought.  (And, as some have pointed out on Twitter, the wording of this petition was not well chosen. By quoting Larry Sanger, who famously disagreed with Wales early in Wikipedia’s life and quit the project, they were almost sure to antagonize Wales. This tone-deafness and lack of research is not unusual, as skeptics know). [JAC: by this morning it had accrued 7875 signatures out of the required 10,000.]

And Farley adds a list of useful links:

Some additional reactions to this from around the skeptic blogosphere:

I’d love to see what Orac says, but I am flying out of Chicago soon. Do post any further developments below.

It might be very informative to see the names of those who have signed that petitition, as I believe some of them are public. At the bottom of the petition are a list of reasons why people have signed it, including gems like these:

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h/t: Grania, Don

65 Comments

  1. Sable Courtois
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    This sort of thing always brings to mind one of my favorite quotes:

    “And try as I like,
    A small crack appears
    In my diplomacy dike.
    ‘By definition,’ I begin
    ‘Alternative Medicine,’ I continue
    ‘Has either not been proved to work,
    Or been proved not to work.
    Do you know what they call ‘alternative medicine’
    That’s been proved to work?
    Medicine.”

    - Tim Minchin

    Good on Wikipedia for putting their down.

    • Sable Courtois
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:26 am | Permalink

      *putting their foot down

      I know when I start dropping words that it’s time for a nap.

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:38 am | Permalink

        No worries, if that was the criteria for napping I should be sleeping all day…

        OT: Wikipedia effin rocks!

  2. wtf1962
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    I would have thought that the term “Self Appointed” would have been one that the petitioners would have sought to avoid.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      =D

  3. Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    It’s nice to finally have a victory over the woo-meisters for a change.

    I have a question though for anyone reading this who thinks creationism/ID, alternative medicine, or quantum woo is supported by science and should be allowed to be presented as such on Wikipedia: Should Wikipedia also allow the fair presentation of Holocaust denial as history? Or how about discredited “race” theories like white superiority? Should Wikipedia really “censor” these views? For some, these are scientific “facts”.

    I’m sure neo-Nazis have the same problem you have with Wikipedia, but if you want to make common cause with them to soften scientific standards, be my guest, but be careful what you wish for!

  4. Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    There also comes a time when we must “gently and swiftly” push aside anecdotal healing traditions that rely on inventive marketing techniques, manipulative bullshit, equal-opportunity gullibility, and the fallacy of ancient wisdom.

  5. Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Awesome!

    /@

    • Kevin
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      I think Dawkins does not like that word, but yeah, Awesome! Wy to go Wales and Wikipedia!

      • Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

        And we care about Richard’s likes and dislikes because… “;-)

        /@

  6. Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Good to see that Wikipedia does not allow it to become an unfiltered proliferation board for woo meisters and their scams.

  7. gbjames
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Good for Jimmy Wales.

  8. Trophy
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    This made me both very happy and also depressed. It was really awesome to read Jimmy Wales response but there’s also my own personal story to it.

    My aunt is seriously into woo. Her whole life depends on woo: on “energy” crap, alternative medicine, natural crap (e.g. advocating raw food diet for all maladies, inclulde cancer), homeopathy, meditation for out of body experiences and so on. And my mom, my sister, and my dad have gotten into them a little bit as well. It’s pretty much impossible to have any sort of real and meaningful chat about any aspect of life anymore. If I talk about cooking (something that I like to do; and I try to cook healthy), I get lectured on how all meat have wooy toxins, on how GMO food is poison, and then on benefits of raw food diet and etc. If I’m sick, if I have pain somehwere, or if someon that I know is sick, or if grandmother of someone that I know is sick, then again I get lectured and advertised about beneefits of all this bullshit and they lecture me how science doesn’t know everything and how I shouldn’t be closed minded and all the other crap. Sometimes they just begint to evangalise me out of blue just beucase there is a pause in the conversation.

    I think I kind of know why they do it. I can feel that my parents are afraid of death and I know that my aunt has had a lot of difficulties in her life; she has not had a real job in a long time and she has depended on these things to deal with some depgression that she had. So I know that she finds meaning in life through friends and groups who are also into mass delucions such as remote energy therapy.

    But I can’t stop myself from getting pissed off when they mention all these charlatans or fradulant institutes that advertise their silly and harmful ideaologies. They are really into this institute where they advertise a raw food diet. I don’t necessarily mind the diet and in fact the diet could be an improvement when compared to what they used to eat before but it pisses me off when I hear that the institute is also advertising it a cure for pretty much any malady and also advices the participants to not take any drugs perscribed by doctors (their ideaology is that drugs are poison and you need the diet to “purge” those toxins).

    And finally, most recently, my aunt again delivered her usual rant. She often asks why there are no studies on alternative medicine and why the mainstream medicines gets all the attention, funding and all research. She said they should also try to investigate alternative medicine and then give the paients the option and the freedome to choose. So I told her about NCCAM and complete and utter lack of evidence for Homoeopathy despite the fact that the studies come from a sympathetic center. Her reply was that she actually changed her mind and that she thinks the whole scientific procedure is corrupt. So she said she takes back her demand for more studies because those studies will not disprove what she believes works on her.

    But anyways, sorry for the rant. It just depresses me to realize that a lot of these believers are truly and honestly are deluded and there is no way to talk them out of their delusions.

    • gbjames
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      I hear ya. My mom was deep into it, too. Drove me crazy. In her particular case, it didn’t do any non-intellectual harm and she lived to be 95. She got a lucky set of genes, ate well, and avoided bad habits. So you can be credulous and still survive a very long time. Lucky for us kids that she when we were young she hadn’t fallen into the woo-trap yet and we got proper medical treatment when we needed it, appropriate vaccinations, etc.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      I have relatives and friends who are either deeply or somewhat into the pseudo medicines or woo.

      Every time they mention their woo, I tell them how wrong they are. I even tell my 63 year old brother-in-law holistic chiropractor that it is time for him to grow up and become an adult.

      To counter the ‘be open minded’ comments, I can give them a dozen examples of where their acceptance of woo fails when there is no evidence, such as faith healing that kill children due to neglect.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      I don’t have near the troubles you do with this, but it is really depressing to me that some close family members of mine have also been taken in by this kind of crap. They don’t evangalize me like they do you though.

      When they comment about something their “doctor” has enlightened them about I don’t usually say anything. Sometimes I try to counter obliquely. Maybe I should be more vocal and direct, but I doubt it would do any good, and it would likely hurt them and therefore me. As far as I know they have never forgone real medical care in favor of alternative medicine. I’d feel even worse if they did, there were serious negative consequences, and I had not tried to change their minds.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Yeah I have woo followers in my family too. This is why I pretty much don’t see most of them (and they are far away). I often had a hard time understanding how I fit into a family that was either religious or wooish. I figure I’m some sort of throw back but my dad was adopted and we don’t know much about his biological family because the records are sealed so maybe that’s where it comes from.

    • Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      “She often asks why there are no studies on alternative medicine”

      That’s actually not a bad question even though it has a simple, and telling, answer:

      The producers of alternative medicine don’t WANT it to be studied or tested.
      (There’s nothing that prevents a producer of, say, some homeopathic substance to start clinical trials and apply for ‘medicine’ status).
      Ask your aunt if she can think of a reason why producers of ‘alternative’ medicine prefer to keep it ‘alternative’ and not sell their products as approved (and tested) medicine?

      • Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        There are four kinds of “alternative medicine” study: one that shows it to work (the rare kind); the kind that shows it to not work (slightly more common); the bogus study (pretty common); the non existent (the most common of all).

    • Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I can relate, but in a different area. Among our closest and dearest friends is a really wonderful family who are also ardent YEC. We are very limited in what we can talk about, which is sad, and I wish they could exalt in the same amazing reality that I do,but I have to admit they are very happy in their ignorance.

    • Alektorophile
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      I can relate, too, although in our case it’s the original kind of woo, religion, that is poisoning the family on my in-laws’ side. It used to be a mere nuisance, what with anti-science rants and the like, but we just found out that my mother-in-law has advanced ovarian cancer, and of course refuses to do chemo, something she does not believe in, and will instead rely on prayer alone. Needless to say, my wife, a medical doctor and surgeon, is not happy with that decision, to put it euphemistically. If it weren’t for religion, she could have a real chance of spending at least a few more years with her family and grandkids.

    • Trophy
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for replies. I think we are definitely on the minority.

      Also something that I didn’t mention was that my dad has Parkinsons and a while ago he stopped taking Levodopa and instead began the alternate treatments.

    • gluonspring
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations. Now we’re all depressed. ;-)

      I suppose this is the experience of nearly everyone since woo is exceedingly popular. Even if everyone renounced all the major religions tomorrow, all our work would still be before us to counter the lingering woo.

      Here is a round about way that woo has bitten me. As it happens, I like the look of copper. So I have a few pieces of copper jewelry, mostly bracelets. I’ve worn these for years and never gave it any thought until I had a faculty member ask me, with an expression of surprise, “Do you think that does any good?” I didn’t know what he was talking about for a moment until finally my brain connected it up with some magnetic/copper bracelet woo thing I’d seen in the drug store. Oh, no! He thinks I’m wearing this because it’s got healing power! I was, and am, horrified to think of all of the people who have seen me wear copper bracelets and thought therefor that I was into copper healing woo. Woo has ruined my fashion!

      Of course this pales compared to the wounds my tongue has suffered over the years from biting it. I’m always interested in the various ways that more skeptical people deal with wooish people in their personal lives. I spend a lot of my own time biting my tongue, but I wonder about the merits of other approaches.

      One thing I find it interesting is how little my woo-infected friends and relatives argue with other woo-infected friends and relatives even when their woo is incompatible. One can promote some insane diet and the other can promote a completely incompatible insane diet in the same conversation and they each seem to accept the other’s diet without question. It really is as if they have wholly embraced the idea of personal reality, and so they just don’t question each other’s personal reality. There is no attempt to come up with a consistent view of the world. Anything and everything might be true at once and no one should question your ‘truth’. The only idea that they seem to find worth arguing with is the skeptical idea that a wide range of woo is bunk or that there is an objective reality that they can’t wish away.

      • Trophy
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        One thing I find it interesting is how little my woo-infected friends and relatives argue with other woo-infected friends and relatives even when their woo is incompatible.

        Same with me. My feeling is that a lot of people who are into woo are in it because of some psycholigical reasons, for example to have some hope. The standard reply that I hear is that if it works for you then it must be true. So they believe in it. Woo is basically the modern form of religion.

        • Chris Wallis
          Posted March 27, 2014 at 2:22 am | Permalink

          I think you’re on to something with that observation, Trophy. Here in the UK we have a senior member of government (Sayeeda Warsi) whose job it is to promote faith in general.
          I suppose that the original idea behind the creation of the post was to persuade the “faith communities” who hold wildly incompatible world views, to be nicer to each other.
          In practice the effect has been to provide a rallying-point for opposition to secularism- which is bizarre, considering that the point of secular politics is precisely to prevent one faith gaining advantage over another, through influence on government.

      • Richard Olson
        Posted March 27, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        A few people replying here on item #8 ask, in effect, how to reach and productively communicate with people who believe in unreal things. These sorts of things almost invariably reduce to either religion or woo based beliefs, or some combination of the two, and are highly subjectively emotional states with powerful protective shields switched on at an instant’s notice.

        Dr. Luke Galen at ReasonableDoubts is a psychologist who regularly reports on studies about the mental functions and personal traits of believers, conservative/progressive/theist/atheist/you-name-it, undertaken in his field. There are, of course, many sites one may choose to access that do the same thing Galen does. All his reports directly identify bias factor hazards and discuss how each study addresses the, so I regard him as a reliable source.

        The sad fact seems to be that presently a gap in knowledge exists about how to effectively counter motivated reasoning. Research results that profile all the factors that are known about human selection patterns, and can be tested, inform me that I am not able to recognize my own blind spots. And I consider myself to be rigorously reality oriented, particularly when compared with those in the religion/woo groups.

        It is possible for me to correct for bias and inherent predisposition, although not always easily or sans resistance. It is fairly highly unlikely for many in the religion/woo category to ever become aware of their bias, or permit themselve to acknowledge it exists when confronted. Quite the opposite — and this is true of each and every one of us — when confronted with evidence contrary to our present conclusion, opinion tends to become even more certain and solidified, and tolerance for contradiction shrinks or disappears entirely.

  9. Grania Spingies
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Wait, Nell’s vet has a dog nailed to his wall?

    Well if that doesn’t prove everything you want to know about holistic “care”, I don’t know what does. :p

    • davidintoronto
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      It’s an “acupuncture nail” – so not to worry.
      ;)

      • Grania Spingies
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Those things can kill you.

        Make it a homeopathic nail.

    • Merilee
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      I wondered that, too

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      The vet one was the funniest example for me.

      • Grania Spingies
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        This shall henceforth be known as The Argument From Vet’s Walls.

        “We stop all skeptics in their tracks. Well, dogs mostly.”

  10. Rikki_Tiiki_Taalik
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Nell Okie needs a new quote.

    First they ignore you because you merely hypothesize, then they ridicule you because you refuse to design an appropriate test, then they fight you because the observations don’t concur, and then you win by whining and petitioning rather than publishing your repeatable results in a respectable peer-reviewed journal.

    - Mahatma Gandhi Those who care if their beliefs are actually true.

  11. Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Whenever I hear the word ‘energy’, I reach for my revolver.

    • gbjames
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      I want to reach for your gun, too. And I’m an advocate for strong gun laws!

      • Kevin
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        In those situations, I use my imaginary laser pistol, with sound effects.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. – Han Solo

      • Mike in Barcelona
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        That was awesome. Made my day, Diana.

    • Kevin
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      You could not do that where I work, and people use “energy” in propositions daily. Of course they are referring to a different kind of energy (hv,kBT,0.5mv^2,mc^2,etc.) than…

      ‘the fire energy in my existential body gives me power over others.’

  12. Adam M.
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Hah. By calling Larry Sanger a “co-founder” of Wikipedia they were sure to rankle Jimmy Wales, since that’s a pet peeve of his and he’s repeatedly tried to get Larry Sanders’ role expunged from history.

    To its credit, the Wikipedia community is dedicated enough to the truth (most of the time) that it even rejects Wales’ own delusions.

  13. Frank Stabile
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Ugh, I hate the scientistic bias, too. It’s so annoying when claims have to be backed by evidence. Who has time for that?

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t one of the leading astrologists or ESP guys once say that they had given up on double-blind tests, as it never gave the results that they wanted?

      • Scote
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        At least one instance of that claim was chiropractors excusing why unblinded Applied kinesiology “worked” but the double blinded test didn’t.

        http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/ideomotor.html

      • Posted March 27, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Some cranks have also claimed something called the “skeptics effect” or the “decline effect” which is that their favourite delusion seems to decrease in efficacy when investigated. Gee.

  14. Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    “Wikipedia is widely used and trusted.”

    Right there, they undermine their own petition.

  15. D. Taylor
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the supporters of energy psychology and related pursuits are feeling the effects of the Wikipedia Initiative by the Association for Psychological Science (APS). With a membership of ~20,000 research psychologists, APS is engaged in an ongoing effort “to improve the quality and quantity of the information about psychological science presented in Wikipedia.”

  16. AD
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I’ve been meaning to donate to Wikipedia for ages and never got round to it despite using it almost daily for work and for personal interest.
    This story has pushed me into finally sending them a contribution.

  17. Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The woo-meisters are free to build their own woo-pedia web site. What should it be called?
    Sheldrake and Chopra and all the rest are free to publish whatever they like into it. In fact, I think they should do so. It would look good on their resume.

    • Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Woo-i-pedia? (Not be confused with Wookiepedia.)

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      The woo-meisters are free to build their own woo-pedia web site. What should it be called?

      Conservapedia.

  18. misskittex
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    The petition will probably grow some what due to the fact, yes it is a fact, that most do not read petitions. I am an animal welfare advocate. I sign petitions that urge for stronger laws against animal fighting, and other sensible legislation to protect animals. One example of not reading the full petition or following up to find if that petition is accurate is this; recently a petition was floating about to protect the health and welfare of animals by supporting legislation in Texas. The last paragraph then stated that animals are the property of the owners to with as they see fit. Making it then legal for dog fighting, or whatever the owner wishes.

    Some see holistic healing as a “spiritual healing” as a connection to the “healing powers” of all living things. Whatever that means. Once explained to me as all people within a large groups sending out positive energy. Positive energy is thinking about that person as healthy. I suppose that is another form of prayer, but hardly a replacement for medicine.

    The best alternative for good health and well being is to watch your diet, avoid high amounts of sugar and sugar replacements. There is in my opinion, too much reliance on pills to fix all ills. Pharmaceutical companies do have jazzy advertisement for expensive cure-alls that almost all have a side effect of suicide or an equally nasty side effect. Not everyone needs a psychotropic drug, some need “talk therapy” others need to find one focus for their lives, and get involved in that one thing. It sure would not hurt to befriend a cat or dog.

  19. Posted March 26, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    A response I often use to woo-ologists who say “science doesn’t know everything” is “when I run out of learning things it does know, then maybe I’ll worry about woo”

  20. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s an effing encyclopedia.* It’s supposed to be well referenced.

    *Or at least it is a social project that tries to produce one. One should criticize its efforts from tentative rules to product, but one must keep the intended frame in mind.

  21. papalinton
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with ‘holistic’ medicine is that there is a bloody great hole in the middle of it. No evidence.

  22. Mark Joseph
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    “Lunatic charlatans” is undoubtedly the great two-word pwn of pseudoscientific quackery since Judge Jones bestowed upon us the magnificent “breathtaking inanity”.

    Say, Boton is always trying to get us atheists to do religiousy things–how ’bout Jones, Gora and Wales as a holy trinity?

  23. Gareth Price
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Three cheers for Jimmy Wales!!

  24. Marella
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    I love Wikipedia.

  25. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    By quoting Larry Sanger, who famously disagreed with Wales early in Wikipedia’s life and quit the project, they were almost sure to antagonize Wales.

    Having had dealings with Sanger on his “Nupedia” project – which was effectively shown unworkable compared to the Wikipedia model – I suspect the Larry has grounds for libel in the opinions that they imply he has in their petition.
    Then again, I suspect that Larry’s response would be more polite than Wales’. More polite, but much nastier.

  26. Posted March 27, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Jerry for your kind words! This statement by Jimmy has kept me busy. I’ve had 5 new people sign up to help.

    I’ve read these comments above and am so sorry to hear how many of your readers have family members wrapped up in CAM and other pseudoscience.

    We at GSoW hold the opinion that there might come a time when someone starts to question their beliefs, and they will probably turn to the Internet for answers. Wikipedia is usually the number one hit for most topics, so we can assume they are going to end up there.

    What is waiting for them when they start to question. That is our responsibility, and by “our” I mean all of us. We editors do not work alone, we need people like you Jerry to continue publishing the info that we use as citations. And we need the support of others to help us improve WP. We need people willing to caption videos, translate, photograph, research and proofread. There is a lot to be done, Wikipedia is massive and we aren’t just focusing on English but all languages.

    And for those not able to help with GSoW, I do have another project called Skeptic Action that you can follow on Twitter, FB or G+. Once signed up it only takes minutes a day to help keep those people not so savvy, safe on the Internet. Look it up!

  27. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    It is great that Wales whaled on these idiots the way he did, but beyond that, everyone with a rational bent should go to change.org and flag that petition as malicious and worthy of being taken down.

    • Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      Did with the comment: This is a malicious, vindictive petition from people with a vested interest in obfuscating the fact that the ideas they espouse lack any scientific rigour or demonstrable medical efficacy.

      /@

  28. wtf1962
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Here’s a paper by Brandon Gaudiano and others confirming. more or less, what Jimmy Wales stated.

    http://rsw.sagepub.com/content/22/6/647.abstract?rss=1

    I have a full copy in PDF format if anybody wants a copy.

  29. Deborah
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The woo-meisters apparently see Wikipedia as a platform for free advertising.


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