email - June 2017

Sources and Methods

George objected to our use of Wikipedia as a source.

George doesn’t think we should use Wikipedia as a source because it is biased and inaccurate.

I am writing because I noticed you use Wikipedia links as references sometimes.  I do not think it's a good source for an "encyclopedic" or "academic" reference.  I use it for the reference links below the article and for less academic subjects such as entertainment or sports.  Current events?  It depends how you like your "news."  I find it liberally biased.  …

Moreover, I almost spit out my coffee when I first heard the term "Wikipedia standards" in a news article, such as, “It's not up to Wikipedia standards.”  Anyone can change the content in it.

George brings up some valid points. We are certainly aware that Wikipedia is very liberally biased—that’s one of the reasons why we use it.

Rather than quoting what creationists say that evolutionists say, we quote what evolutionists say directly. Furthermore, rather than just providing you with the relevant snippets of what they say, we provide links to the source so you can read those comments in context, and see that we have not twisted their words.

It is true that anyone can edit a Wikipedia article. We have always been concerned about that. There is a danger that something we quote in a Wikipedia article might not still be there when you go to check it. That’s the reason we tried not to quote Wikipedia very much in our first ten or so years of publication. Instead, we quoted other evolutionists’ articles we found on the web. We discovered, however, that after a few years those articles were no longer there (either because the author took them down, or because they changed web servers) and the links simply return a “404 Page Not Found” error. Wikipedia doesn’t seem to be going away soon.

Of course, people do try to correct liberal lies on Wikipedia; but those corrections usually don’t last long. The corrections are termed “vandalism,” the corrections are removed, and the person making the correction is barred from making any future corrections.

When we quote Wikipedia, we aren’t quoting them as an authority. We are quoting them as a reflection of popular liberal opinion right now. The same is true of the science tabloids (Scientific American, National Geographic, Discover, Science News, etc.) we quote. They aren’t credible, either—but they, too, are an accurate reflection of the propaganda of the day, and have longer persistence on the Internet. (But the embarrassing link to the winner of Discover magazine’s “Evolution in Two Minutes” video contest, which we told you about when we entered the contest,1 is no longer active.)

In our Web Site of the Month column (which we started publishing when “website” was spelled as two words) we direct you to interesting sites regardless of whether we agree with them or not. We don’t endorse them, or cite the site as an authority. We present them to you simply so that you will be exposed to various points of view, which you can evaluate for yourself.

In our Email column, we usually don’t print the whole email because we want to address just the pertinent parts. For example, George’s email also contained examples of obvious liberal bias on Wikipedia, and links to some sources he considers to be more credible. We didn’t print that part of his email because an argument about which sources are most biased and least reliable is a distraction from the point we want to make, which is that we point you to sources which reflect current evolutionary thinking, even though that thinking is wrong.

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Footnotes:

1 Disclosure, January 2010, “Evolution Video Finalists”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v14i4f.htm