To AKRONOS Main Page
To the top of Anti-Wikipedia 2: The Rise of the Latrines
Nature to the rescue of Wikipedia & the future of (pseudo)scienceAfter long years of fighting the ubiquitous organs of Official Science in so many and varied fields of scientific investigation (from HIV and the supposed 'AIDS syndrome' to the hoax of 'Global Warming' and the repressive and malicious politics of Maddox relating to Aether Physics and room-temperature nuclear fusion), most of the lone and lucid voices in the world of eccentric science have either passed away or, tired of futile combat, quieted down. One feels everywhere a palpable resignation to the fact that dissent in thought and in science is a disappearing phenomenon, and that science will henceforth be dictated by media institutions like Science and Nature with the help of their minion operations (Scientific American, Wikipedia, etc) - and will be kept at the mercy of contrived statistical and modelling methods of polling and 'voting', beginning with the pathological notion that a market of speculative perception should be the guiding force for future science. Debility of mind is now glorified.
This is the end of Big Science, the near point-zero of nihilism and an avowal of its impotence to understand nature and life. A grave has been dug, and it is all the deeper as it has to accommodate an immense demographic influx of pubescent technocrats - scientists, engineers, technical and managerial cadres - which will apply the new social techniques of control over the production of science, technology and information. The peoples of this planet are about to be completely deprived of actual knowledge and the freedom to think differently, all in the name of culture for the masses.
Here is an example that will give you a measure of the abysmal level of the magazine Nature and its sister publications. It's bad enough that so many judicial systems have come to rely on polygraph tests as some form of evidence - since the possibility of erroneously failing or passing them is so substantial, and the role played by the examiner is so great that, while the interpretation of these tests may studied as a curious art, it is certainly not a science. So what is one to say about the new policial enthusiasm of Nature for the supposed ability of science to determine who is or is not a liar (no uncertainty here, guys)? Here is an ostensibly objective technique - the visualization of the lie - that is supposed to resolve the subjectivity of meaning inherent to answers and the way questions are posed...:
News: Liar liar
Brain-imaging techniques that reveal when a person is lying are now reliable enough to be used to detect terrorists and other criminals, say researchers.
The introductory section of the paper by Langleben et al (Telling Truth From Lie in Individual Subjects With Fast Event-Related fMRI) - fMRI being the technique that the above piece of 'news' refers to - opens with a bit of upbeat marketing hype: "Recent changes in the defense priorities of the industrialized nations have increased an already strong demand for an objective means of detecting concealed information." Nothing more than a thinly-veiled, opportunistic and pseudoscientific effort to cash in on the war on terrorism, this paper only gets worse as one reads on. If this is what the Patriot Act is good for, and if for a moment one forgets how insidious such 'research' is, one can only laugh at the mousiness of the mountain and what it 'reveals' with so much bombast. Will anyone feel safer with these bogus microfascist techniques? Does anyone actually imagine that this is the way to stop terrorism? Epsilons perhaps. But Nature has no compunction about marketing this irresponsible crap:
In an exclusive news article in this week's Nature, Jennifer Wild reveals how scientists are using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track patterns of brain activity when people lie and tell the truth. Analysing brain activity during both scenarios, they've produced a formula that can detect lies from truth for each person with 99% accuracy.
Imagine that! 99% accuracy with no error margin, and never mind any statistical measures either. Pure sales-pitch, unadulterated ad hoc modelling hype.
[...] researchers in the field have previously admitted that the approach needs more work.
Amazing! It needs more work? How could 99% accuracy require more work? It's practically perfect. But wait, this is where it gets even more interesting, for it turns out that this 99% 'certainty' comes from a special breed of scientists - not just any "researchers in the field", but neuroscientists (read: modellers) "from the [sic]":
But neuroscientists from the [sic] have told Nature they believe their test is ready for real-life scenarios. "We can't say if this person will one day use a bomb," says Daniel Langleben, one of the study's co-investigators. "But we can use fMRI to find concealed information. We can ask is X involved in terrorist organisation Y?" The main technical advance is that researchers can now distinguish lies from truthful statements for a given person; previously, scientists could see how the brain lit up when people lied, but their results were based on the averaged brain activity of a group of people.
Aside from the fact that this news feature seems to be written by a real-life zombie, can you imagine these slaphappy marketeers deciding whether you, or someone you care for, is a terrorist - based on the claptrap of these neurobiology modellers ("Hey Joe, look, his brain lit up!")? Or deciding whether a cloning technique works, on the basis of fMRI tests on its inventors? Or whether a cancer therapy helps terminal patients, by administering to them fMRI interviews on their deathbed? You might say that with the level of 'mental effort' that presently goes into a great deal of 'scientific research' and into science publications, mainstream and otherwise, this won't make an iota of difference: what is getting published by these journals is already mostly aspiring marketing crap, though maybe henceforth it will at least be just random crap. But the fact is, even aleatory crap is corrosive - to thought, to freedom in research, to the responsibility of researchers, to scientific dissent and its role in science, and above all to the real distinctions between what is, and what is not, science. It's a corrosive acid that can be easily manipulated by those in power to ensure that the truth and value of facts and the possibility of justice be systematically voided - and this voidance, somehow, identified with the liberation of the many too many. Yet here, under the guise of war on terrorism, another rancid sausage is being peddled with Nature's stamp of approval.
Just for laughs, here is the last paragraph of the Langleben et al neurobiology group's abstract:
Salience of the task cues is a potential confounding factor in the fMRI pattern attributed to deception in forced choice deception paradigms.
It simply boggles the (sane) mind to realize that governments and universities spend resources on such technohillbilly pseudo-research and drivel. The powers that be may as well return to financing Jack Sarfatti or the mind-control experiments of Ewen Cameron or the megalomanias of Joe Firmage. The point of all this, however, is still somewhere else. The same miserable rag Nature has now seen fit to hasten to the rescue of Che Wales' Wikipedia and its ruling pseudoscience gang of Global Warming fanatics - led by the 'notable' modeller William Michael Connolley. For - surprise, surprise! - in the middle of a war exploding on multiple fronts, threatening to terminally expose Wikipedia's ludicrous claims to 'encyclopedic' reliability, who but a young neuroscience modeller, Jim Giles, Nature's News & Features Editor and an Oxfordian just like Connolley, rushes in to provide his climate-modeller friends at Wikipedia with free pro-Wikipedia advertising right on the pages of Nature? It is all wrapped in the guise of an article sportily titled "Internet encyclopaedias go head to head", and aimed to provide a bogus certification that Wikipedia is as reliable a source for scientific information as Britannica. While choosing to entirely ignore our anti-Wikipedia exposé - of the techniques of falsification and manipulation employed by Che Wales' cyber-maoist stormtroopers - and doing so strategically so that they could perform damage-control without addressing our criticism head-on, the Wikipedia science-purification squad employed yet another indirect manipulation, this time enlisting the help of its buddies in Nature. The so-called 'expert study' described by Giles arrives at an endorsement of the 'scientific authority' of Wikipedia by counting the number of errors (whatever that means) in some number of Wikipedia entries categorized as "science" and comparing them with the error count in the corresponding entries of the Britannica. It's hardly surprising to see Wikipedians, in the wake of this 'expert study', furiously 'improving' upon its the results by trying to calculate the number of errors per byte in both encyclopedias. So much for Wikipedia's, and Nature's, notion of what constitutes 'information superiority'. You can get your fill of Nature's 'expert study', with our commentary, in Appendix 1. And for a grimly hilarious lambasting of it, published by Andrew Orlowski in The Register, see Appendix 4. As Orlowski remarks:
The McDonalds-ization of street food means you can go anywhere on the planet on get a terrible, bland meal of unhealthy junk food. Is the same thing happening to knowledge?
Also in connection with Giles' Wikipedia commercial, one of Connolley's friends wrote on Connolley's User page :
You know, if only it was always that easy to get my figures into Nature... Dragons flight, 23:07, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
One cannot help being curious. Just how easy was it?
But back to Jim Giles himself. A 'betting man', it would seem - since he apparently has no grasp whatsoever of what does or does not constitute science - Giles has to his credit, among other things, an article published in 2002 called "Wanna Bet" (see Appendix 3) in which he introduced readers of Nature to the practice of 'bidding' on the potential marketability sucess of indistinguishable pseudoscientific quantities, and suggested that wagers may be a legitimate method for 'framing' and 'clarifying' important scientific issues. Perfect. An a-scientific populist approach to allocating research funds that has a distinctly Wikipedian ring of mob-rule to it.
"That precisely is the deadliness of second-handers. They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. (...) They don't ask: Is this true? They ask: 'Is this what others think is true? (...) Not to do but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. (...) Not merit but pull." Who said that? Not Giles, that's for sure.
In the summer of 2005, Giles reported on an off-track-betting event brokered by James Annan, a professional buddy of Wikipedia 'notable' William Connolley:
James Annan, who is based at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology in Yokohama, has agreed a US$10,000 bet with Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev, two solar physicists who argue that global temperatures are driven by changes in the Sun’s activity and will fall over the next decade. [...] Both sides have agreed to compare the average global surface temperature between 1998 and 2003 with that between 2012 and 2017, as defined by the records of the US National Climatic Data Center. If the temperature drops, Annan will pay Mashnich and Bashkirtsev $10,000 in 2018, with the same sum going the other way if the temperature rises.
Annan commented about this bet in his blog:
It really is as simple as that. (...) At the moment, this bet is essentially a "gentleman's agreement". B+M (M, in particular, CCed to B) expressed their acceptance of the bet over 2 emails to me, and also confirmed this directly with Jim Giles. I suppose it would make sense to actually exchanged [sic] signed bits of paper about it (and will try to arrange this), but I suspect that in the event of a default, chasing such a modest gambling debt internationally through the courts would be effectively impossible anyway. I'm also confident that B+M are honourable and honest people who will not try to wriggle out of paying up if they lose.
Obviously, for a proper futures market, it would be necessary to pay up-front to a recognised market, where the money would have to be invested in a sensible (interest-bearing) place and controlled by a trusted third party who would eventually also judge the bets. At the moment, none of the obvious on-line betting markets seem interested due to the time scales involved, but I haven't given up hope.
This is how these young technocrats spends their hours of 'scientific' study. Dreaming of money-making in futures markets, deciding the future of science by a loaded roulette mechanism. Are they paid for these clowneries or for being such show-offs? What do you think? These are the people - the Annans, Connolleys and Giles' - that the institutions of the Neues Europa, and of the Neue Welt, employ to do science (in). But perhaps in all truth these institutions are not as thoroughly neu as their Web 2.0 packaging makes them appear. When their surface is scratched, one frequently finds in their upper echelons the same kind of people who destroyed 6 million Jews to make space for 60 million Muslims ghettoized in post-modern lunar skyscapes. Do you know, for example, who publishes Nature? Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a 'global division' of Macmillan Publishers Ltd, owned by a German concern, the Georg von Holtzbrinck Verlagsgruppe - one of the world's main consumer of forests. Nature is their flagship magazine, and another asset is Scientific American (how ironic - neither American nor particularly scientific...). Here is what was reported about the von Holtzbrinck concern in http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/10347/edition_id/198/format/html/displaystory.html:
Friday January 15, 1999
New owner of Random House under scrutiny for wartime past
MARILYN H. KARFELD
The Cleveland Jewish News
Bertelsmann A.G., the German media empire that bought Random House last March and is a partner with Barnes & Noble in its Internet bookstore, has joined the ever-lengthening list of corporations being confronted with their wartime past.
Although Bertelsmann has said it was closed by the Nazis for refusing to go along with the Third Reich, just the opposite is true, a German sociologist and researcher has reported.
The company published Nazi propaganda before and during the war, issued anti-Semitic works and produced special lightweight editions for German soldiers at the front, he charges. [...]
A rival German media empire, the family-owned Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, has in the last decade purchased several American publishers, including Henry Holt, St. Martin's Press and Farrar, Straus & Giroux [The publishers originally chosen by Mary Higgins to publish some atrocious translations of Wilhelm Reich's works].
Holtzbrinck, like Bertelsmann, is proud of its history. Holtzbrinck claimed it was "almost a member of the Resistance" and was stripped by the Nazis of its license to publish, according to an article published in the June 1998 issue of Vanity Fair.
The magazine reported, however, that Georg von Holtzbrinck was a member of the Nazi Party since 1933, and throughout the war operated several profitable publishing companies and published Nazi-sanctioned magazines
The 'almost members of the Resistance', eternal fascist bobbing corks, yesterday's and today's purveyors of 'culture' and 'science' for the masses. Only the content detail of the mainstream line changes - today one no longer exterminates schizos or Gypsies or Jews, one places them in neuroleptic straightjackets, turns them into guinea-pigs for the new quetiapines and ziprasidoneones, makes their lives impossible, and instructs the world - via globalized mob-pleasers like Wikipedia - how to think and what to believe in, so that one can be a successful player in the futures market of ideas about, say, the nature of schizophrenia. Even Voyer and all the other situs didn't anticipate this one. A randomistic approach to the thought of Capital, to Capital as aleatory 'thought'. Bando di castrati tutti.
Idiot cadres - mostly teachers, modellers and technobimbos rather than scientists - consume rags like Nature and Science. There's hardly a point in calling for a boycott of these two perverse organizations of Official Pseudoscience, since anyone with enough intelligence to listen to such a call has long ago ceased reading them, except for occasional laughs and scorn. They are designed for the consumption by the average mediocre civil-servant academician. And those who consume them surely deserve the following rousing appeal from - who else? - Jim Giles. Claiming in its title a categorical imperative - to the effect that researchers "should enthusiastically" participate in Wikipedia - the Giles promotional feature manages to lie about the treatment of original research in Wikipedia and the ongoing vilification of researchers:
Published online: 14 December 2005
Wiki's wild world
Researchers should read Wikipedia cautiously and amend it enthusiastically.
Sometimes the stupid-sounding ideas turn out to be the ones that take off. Almost five years ago, a free online encyclopaedia known as Wikipedia was launched. To those familiar with the peer-review process, the premise behind the new publication seemed crazy: any user, regardless of expertise, can edit the entries. It sounded like a method for creating garbled and inaccurate articles, and many critics said so.
Fast-forward to 2005, and some of that criticism is looking misplaced. Wikipedia is now a huge reference source, with something approaching a million articles in the English version alone. It's true that many of its entries are confusing and badly structured; some of them are badly wrong, and sometimes the errors are deliberate. After the discovery of an outrageously false description of John Seigenthaler, a former editor of The Tennessean newspaper, Wikipedia's publishers introduced registration in an attempt to discourage (though it cannot prevent) "impulsive vandalism".
But as an investigation on page 900 of this issue shows, the accuracy of science in Wikipedia is surprisingly good: the number of errors in a typical Wikipedia science article is not substantially more than in Encyclopaedia Britannica, often considered the gold-standard entry-level reference work. That crazy idea is starting to look anything but stupid.
So can Wikipedia move up a gear and match the quality of rival reference works? Imagine the result if it did: a comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date reference work that can be accessed free from Manhattan to rural Mongolia. To achieve this, Wikipedia's administrators will have to tackle everything from future funding problems - the site is maintained by public donations - to doubts about whether enough new contributors can be found to increase the quality of the mushrooming number of entries. That latter point is critical, and here scientists can make a difference.
Judging by a survey of Nature authors, conducted in parallel with the accuracy investigation, only a small percentage of scientists currently contribute to Wikipedia. Yet when they do, they can make a significant difference. Wikipedia's non-expert contributors are, by and large, dedicated to getting things right on the site. But scientists can bring a critical eye to entries on subjects they study, often highlighting errors and misunderstandings that others have unintentionally introduced. They can also start entries on topics that other users may not want to tackle. It is no surprise, for example, that the entry on 'spin density wave' was originated by a physicist.
Scientists can bring a critical eye to entries on subjects they study, highlighting errors that others have unintentionally introduced. Editing pages is not always straightforward, as some users may disagree with changes. In politically sensitive areas such as climate change, researchers have had to do battle with sceptics pushing an editorial line that is out of kilter with mainstream scientific thinking. But this usually requires no more than a little patience. Wikipedia's users are generally interested in the reasoning behind proposed changes to articles. Backing up a claim with a peer-reviewed reference, for example, makes a world of difference.
Nature would like to encourage its readers to help. The idea is not to seek a replacement for established sources such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, but to push forward the grand experiment that is Wikipedia, and to see how much it can improve. Select a topic close to your work and look it up on Wikipedia. If the entry contains errors or important omissions, dive in and help fix them. It need not take too long. And imagine the pay-off: you could be one of the people who helped turn an apparently stupid idea into a free, high-quality global resource.
Let's dissect this just a bit. It begins by telling us that when stupid ideas like Wikipedia "take off", they somehow cease to be stupid and have to be called, instead, "stupid-sounding". We fail to see why this would be so. For it is indeed stupid, and will forever remain stupid, to imagine that a horde of people who have no knowledge of a subject could, by banding together, produce a meritorious encyclopedic entry on the subject. But dumb just gets dumber. For the virtue Jim Giles extolls next is the amazing quantity of entries that Wikipedia has amassed. What matters most is quantity, not quality, is the implicit assumption: how many billions of hamburgers were sold, not what they were made of. (By the way, Nature charges 30 bucks for access to the "investigation on page 900" referenced above - i.e. Giles' infommercial about error counts in Wikipedia and Britannica - and another 30 bucks for access to the "article" quoted above! So much for the Wikipedian 'freedom' peddlers of this doomed planet, the William Connolleys and Theresa Knotts with their incensed demands that Akronos Publishing should offer all of its scientific monographs for free...)
This is as good an occasion as ever to remark how scientifically bankrupt and morally corrupt the institutions of mainstream science are. They now require the help of the ignorant and the dumb to write their articles, preferably for free. They found a new method for voluntary servitude in the marketing of misinformation (after all, what expertise is needed for that?): contributors to an encyclopedia need not know the subject any more than its consumers do. Content, Houston, is not a factor. What matters is the marketing appeal of equality, equality in ignorance, equality in googling. The equal right to gurgle. And to give this equality the proper finishing touch of "authority", they need to recruit more 'notable scientists' (like Connolley), since right now only a "small percentage" (Jim Giles reveals) make contributions. Why? And of that "small percentage", we'd be curious to know how many are actually scientists and not pseudoscientific modellers or political or corporate plants who have never gone near an experimental bench. We ourselves haven't yet come across any scientists in Wikipedia. And we doubt we ever will.
Giles moves on to make a 'tasteful' (as Jimmy Wales would call it) mention of 'politically sensitive areas'... like (what else?) the hoax of Global Warming, a subject so dear to his buddies, the climate model fudgers, real estate developers and futures traders over at Wikipedia. Giles' hilarious line about " pushing an editorial line that is out of kilter with mainstream scientific thinking" could have been a direct quote from William M. Connolley or one of his hangers-on. As though scientific thinking were an indisputable monolith and anyone 'sceptical' of a mainstream claim must be 'pushing an editorial line'. But the question is - what in science or technology is not politically sensitive? And what's behind this marmish posturing towards the 'politically sensitive', this infantilized correctness in which vacuity of mind masquerades as propriety? Science has political consequences, period. So does technology. Live with it! The magazine Nature is no less political, and no less an entreprise of falsification, when it publishes glowing articles about the 'goodness' of Wikipedia, as when it extolls the new improved Gestapo technology for the detection of liars, or passes as 'science' the falsified research on HIV and AIDS, the junk mathematics of an incorrect but accepted law of electrodynamics, or the hysteria surrounding avian flu. It's all crass consumerism of the same kind, brutish, degrading, and eminently political.
And equally crass and political is the consummate lie that Giles perpetrates next: "Wikipedia's users are generally interested in the reasoning behind proposed changes to articles." This is so blatantly untrue and propagandistic, it boggles the mind. The truth is that in Wikipedia one is in fact prevented from any real discussion or any honest exposition of one's reasoning with respect to any topic that seriously proposes alternative viewpoints to mainstream dogma, and nobody is the least bit interested in learning about such viewpoints. The sole "interest" is in suppressing them, distorting, falsifying and belittling them, or labelling them as "crackpot" with no basis whatsoever, legal or scientific. This is amply illustrated by the history of the Aetherometry entry alone, but a plethora of other topics will do just as well - for example: Neutrino, Hydrino Theory, Autodynamics, Plasma Cosmology, Black Hole, Big Bang, Wilhelm Reich, Gilles Deleuze, Halton Arp, Singapore, Schizophrenia, Anti-psychiatry, etc, etc.
Where is the place for sane discussion on Wikipedia? It's a sea of false facts, of promotional 'content', of administrator repression, of suppression of records and interventions, of manipulation by ensconced cabals, a veritable warfare of lies. Giles is paid to write these falsities for Nature, just as it pays Nature to make such ad hoc 'studies' with carefully selected, innocuous entries. Someone asked on Wikipedia what it is that the anti-Wikipedia movement wants. We can only speak for ourselves - a denunciation and boycott of Wikipedia are in order, just as they are for Nature. These are despicable institutions that should be terminated with extreme prejudice. Who would want to be 'endorsed' by the likes of Jimbo Wales or Jimbo Giles? Only fools.
If you are one of those pinheads who believe in helping turn a stupid idea into an inept resource from which others can make millions at the cost of your free labor, then you're just the kind of sucker who deserves the 'science' that is being ushered in by Nature and the 'knowledge' shaped by the grand cyberlooting experiments of Che Wales and his likes. Just remember, whatever future is coming your way, you won't be able to say you didn't deserve it.
Now, in the original release of Giles' "Internet Encyclopedias go Head to Head" (before it started costing $30) there was a hyperlink which, when clicked, would bring up in a pop-up box yet another gem, also by Jim Giles, called "Challenges of being a Wikipedian" (see Appendix 2). Perhaps now that the article itself costs $30, the pop-up no longer pops up unless one pays for it, too. In any case, in this Giles creation we read:
Challenges of being a Wikipedian
Vaughan Bell, a neuropsychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, UK, has reworked Wikipedia's entry on schizophrenia over the past two years. Around five others regularly contribute to the reworking, most of whom have not revealed whether they have academic backgrounds. Bell says that is not a problem, as disputes are settled through the discussion page linked to the entry, often by citing academic articles. "It's about the quality of what you do, not who you are," he explains.
How droll. It's precisely the schizos who get it in the head again, this time with the consensus of the Wikipedia-platformed club of neuropsychologists, psychiatrized, zombified contributors, the 'scientists' of schizophrenia. Forget Deleuze and Guattari, forget R.D. Laing (other than for one vacuous mention), forget anti-psychiatry (except when it is globbed together with surrealism, scientology, and "mental health system survivor groups"), forget François Tosquelles, forget any serious, alternative views whatsoever of the subject (mention not W. Reich!) - and say hello to Wikipedian neuropsychologist modellers under the capable leadership of Vaughan Bell. Wikipedia's article on Schizophrenia, you should know, is a 'featured' article, which means it has been 'identified' by Wikipedia to be one of it's 'best'... Schizophrenia, according to this "featured" Wikipedia entry is -
"a severe mental illness characterized by persistent defects in the perception or expression of reality".
And just in case you don't happen to know the meaning of 'reality' or of 'defect', they are both clickable links to Wikipedia entries. From the entry on Reality you learn that:
Reality in everyday usage means "everything that exists". The term "Reality," in its most liberal sense, includes everything that is, whether or not it is observable, accessible or understandable by science, philosophy, theology or any other system of analysis (...) and may include both being and nothingness.
Just try this on for size: you could be schizophrenic if you have a persistent defect in perceiving the reality of nothingness, in its most liberal sense. Got it? At least, that's the case according to these Wikipedian psychos, these Whackopods.
By the way, the Reality entry is largely a fruit of a mutually acrimonious "consensus building" between two consummate experts on reality, Larry Sanger and Fred Bauder. Larry Sanger - a philosophy Ph.D. whose thesis was titled Epistemic Circularity: An Essay on the Problem of Meta-Justification - was a co-founder of Wikipedia, in spite of Jimmy Wales' recent efforts to change history and retroactively eliminate Sanger from the co-foundership by appropriately editing the "Jimmy Wales" article in Wikipedia (in violation of Wikipedia's own explicit policy forbidding people from editing entries about themselves). Sanger's profound understanding of reality is demonstrated by the fact that he is now partnering with the Mormon-raised deep-pockets Internet evangelist Joe Firmage on a project called Digital Universe, which will be all things to all people and in particular proposes to be a better-moneyed competitor of Wikipedia. Fred Bauder, on the other hand, is a retired lawyer, a prominent member of the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, and a founder of a Wikipedia offshoot called Wikinfo, originally started as a result of Bauder's edit wars with several other Wikipedians, one of which was Larry Sanger (whom Bauder calls a "half-cocked academic"). Wikinfo differs from Wikipedia by dispensing with Wikipedia's banner ideas of "consensus" and "NPOV" and encouraging, instead, multiple articles - representing multiple points of view - on each subject. (However, since Wikinfo doesn't seem to be indexed by Goggle, almost nobody writes for it and what articles it contains tend to be simply copies of the corresponding Wikipedia entries). Wikinfo also allows "signed" articles, i.e. articles which specifically name someone as their author and are not supposed to be edited by others. Bauder's expertise in the area of reality is amply shown by the fact that, in order to get his permission to place a "signed" article on Wikinfo, one is required to provide him with either a copy of one's birth certificate or an identity certification from one's employer. Between them, these two reality experts have created a flagship article which, among other grotesqueries, features this one: while treating reality as something that needs to be explained, it treats Relativity as something that is inherent to the perception of reality and taken for granted. Here is its debile explanation of "Simple Reality":
In the simplest sense, our reality consists of our four-dimensional world: height, width, depth and time. What happens when we lose one of these dimensions from our reality? What if we lose depth, for instance? Most people would reply that we'd then have a cinematic effect, as in a movie. When we view a motion picture, what we are watching has height, width and time, but no depth. One dimension of our reality is missing.
What happens if we remove the fourth dimension? Here we have a photograph. A photo has height and width, but no time or depth. Lose one more dimension and we have a line. Lose another and we are left with a point. We have position but no longer have magnitude. People know these four dimensions well. For us they make up our simple reality: the space-time continuum.
But we digress, don't we? Back to the meritorious Vaughan Bell and his Schizophrenia article. It doesn't just start promisingly, it gets better. Hilarious even: tobacco and cannabis smoking are considered possible causes of schizophrenia. Yep, that must be it. Can one get any more pseudo-scientific than this? It's stunningly absurd. And at the time of this writing (Dec 26, 2005), the article is graced with the following immortally absurdist section (we quote in full):
Violence against people with schizophrenia
Research has shown that a person diagnosed with schizophrenia is more likely to be a victim of violence (4.3% in a one month period) than the perpetrator.
One of the most striking features of the Schizophrenia article is that what is purported to be "knowledge" is almost exclusively some statistically-phrased inanity. It is all about (mock) "trials", "studies" (like the one Nature did for Wikipedia), "reviews", meaningless percentages, and "likely" interpretations of 'things' that are "typical", no matter how off the wall they may be. Here are some random excerpts, including perfectly psychotic statements ("received wisdom"; "more schizophrenics born in winter and spring, at least in the northern hemisphere"...) and bogus research (purported determination of global rates of schizoid generation...), all in one neat, 'featured' package:
Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood. It is found approximately equally in men and women, though the onset tends to be later in women, who also tend to have a better course and outcome.
One particularly stable and replicable finding has been the association between living in an urban environment and risk of developing schizophrenia, even after factors such as drug use, ethnic group and size of social group have been controlled for. A recent study of 4.4 million men and women in Sweden found a 68%77% increased risk of psychosis for people living in the most urbanized environments, a significant proportion of which is likely to be accounted for by schizophrenia.
One curious finding is that people diagnosed with schizophrenia are more likely to have been born in winter or spring (at least in the northern hemisphere). However, the effect is not large [sic] and it is still [sic] not clear why this may occur [as if the "why" of anything else in the article was "clear"].
The lifetime prevalence of schizophrenia is commonly given at 1%; however, a recent review of studies from around the world estimated it to be 0.55%. The same study also found that prevalence may vary greatly from country to country, despite the received wisdom that schizophrenia occurs at the same rate throughout the world. It is worth noting however, that this may be in part due to differences in the way schizophrenia is diagnosed. The incidence of schizophrenia was given as a range of between 7.5 and 16.3 cases per year per 100,000 population.
Although the results of early trials with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) were inconclusive, more recent reviews suggest that CBT can be an effective treatment for the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia.
Fortunately, a 'defect' which prevents one from perceiving 'it' as defect, is readily remedied. The section on "treatment" is divided into two subsections: "Medication and hospitalization" and "Therapy and community support". We are told that the use of antipsychotic medications is usually the first line of treatment, and we are provided with a drug-addict's endorsement of clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, ziprasidone (all of which are described as having a "favorable side-effect profile") and aripiprazole (which the article suggests is "a safe and effective treatment", while omitting such gloriously restraining side-effects as frequent nausea and vomiting, dyspnea, incontinence, asthma, fever, muscular pain and cramping, tachycardia, anemia, depression and hallucination, even "frequent schizophrenia-induction", paranoia and suicide...). With such excellent pharmaceutical prospects we only need one paragraph about hospitalization - just enough to learn that involuntary hospitalization is called "civil", and to receive the subliminal suggestion that countries lacking "mental health legislation" which permits this "civility" are somehow less - well, civilized:
Hospitalization may occur with severe episodes. This can be voluntary or (if mental health legislation allows it) involuntary (called civil or involuntary commitment). Mental health legislation may also allow people to be treated against their will. However, in many countries such legislation does not exist, or does not have the power to enforce involuntary hospitalization or treatment.
So much for the "first line of treatment". All other lines are lumped together into the 15-sentence section "Therapy and community support". In addition to psychotherapy, self-help, and the informal methods used in non-Western countries, this section includes electroconvulsive therapy, which winds up being presented as a "support service", on a par with drop-in centers and visits from community members:
Electroconvulsive therapy (also known as ECT or 'electroshock therapy') may be used in countries where it is legal. It is not considered a first line treatment but may be prescribed in cases where other treatments have failed. Psychosurgery has now become a rare procedure and is not a recommended treatment for schizophrenia.
Other support services may also be available, such as drop-in centers, visits from members of a 'community mental health team', and patient-led support groups.
Notice how lobotomy has now become the much fancier and neutered 'psychosurgery'. All of this courtesy of Vaughan Bell and his thousand Wikipedian maniacs. What possible scientific arguments are left to be 'settled', now that the ideology of psychosis has, under the capable management of crypto-psychosociologists, jelly bean-counting statisticians, permanent beta modellers, molecular engineers and pharmaceutical designers, 'discovered' both the 'probable' genetic basis for schizophrenia and the right chemicals to 'manage' it - just as official Nazi psychiatry, not so long ago, attempted to do. The serpent has spawned its egg, its pseudoscientific egg.
The Wikipedia article on Schizophrenia is a pristine gem of useless and false information, and undoubtedly a perfect example of what Che Bimbo now proposes should be locked as a "stable" entry.
But back to Giles: we next learn that Vaughan is not the only 'scientist' who has experienced the 'challenge' of being a Wikipedian. For there is also - guess who? - yes, you've guessed it: that gallant fighter of sceptics, that martyred scientific 'notable', that professed enemy of the mere notion of Aetherometry, that dear William M. Connolley:
Others, particularly those who contribute to politically sensitive entries, have found the editing process more fraught. William Connolley, a climate researcher at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, has fought for two years with climate-change sceptics over the entry on global warming. When Connolley was insulted by one of the sceptics and the editing became a 'revert war' - where editors repeatedly undo each others' changes - the matter was referred to the encyclopaedia's administrators.
Two of Connolley's opponents were banned from editing any climate article for six months, but it was a bumpy process. The Wikipedia editors who oversaw the case took three months to reach a decision. They also punished Connolley for repeatedly changing the sceptics' edits, placing him on a six-month parole during which he is limited to one revert a day. Users who support Connolley have contested the decision.
"It takes a long time to deal with troublemakers," admits Jimmy Wales, the encyclopaedia's co-founder. "Connolley has done such amazing work and has had to deal with a fair amount of nonsense."
There it is: unabashed propaganda and support, on the pages of Nature, for Che Wales' entreprise of culture-demolition and vanguard revolution in science; for the notable jackass and pseudoscientist Connolley who has a vested interest in propping up the Global Warming hoax; for fascistic, zealous censorship, wanton alteration and abrogation of other people's texts, thoughts, and interventions; for the mockery of dialogue and the distortion of simple facts that characterizes the cyber-maoist line of Wikipedia; for Wikipedia's outright support for pseudoscience and the crap it contains on most of its entries, not just the ones on climate change and the myth of Global Warming; for being a sucker. Why did Giles feel compelled to use Nature as a mouthpiece for William M Connolley's version of what transpired on the climate-change pages? He makes no mention, of course, of similar barbaric attacks by the same jackass Connolley on other entries - where his competence is nil and his knowledge of the subject matter, non-existent. The whole matter of the Nature 'expert study' and supporting ads for Wikipedia is so transparent as to make it quite laughable. Were they really that threatened by Aetherometry and our exposé? In the long run, we suspect that rather than buoying up Wikipedia, this 'expert study' will only sink Nature a little further... In any case, Nature's attempt to rehabilitate Wikipedia seems to have been rapidly overtaken by a Times Online report on the surge in disinformation on Wikipedia (see Appendix 6). And a recent (Dec 7, 2005) memo from The New York Times Business Editor Larry Ingrassia to his staff finally instructs journalists to stay away from Wikipedia when "checking any information that goes into the newspaper". Better later than never, it is said.
The simple truth is that Wikipedia aims not at giving you access to knowledge, but at marketing 1-click falsehoods in ways that preclude any facts-based challenge. Its objective is to increase the manic dementia of an epoch. For that, it has ample means. You can thank Nature and all the foundations that support Wikipedia for this proliferation of "junk knowledge". And you can thank your ignorance, blindness or stupidity for allowing these institutions to thrive at your cost. You can thank the old Nazis and the new microfascists, and yourself, Mr. Klein. When all is said and done, the damage will be incalculable. But for those who hope to at last see nihilism brought to its end, this is indeed coming close to a zero-degree of intelligence. The end of culture, marked by the death of science. How fitting.
This nothingness of science is the characteristic quality of a Nature run by modellers and cyberaddicts. By the Jimbo Giles' who runs to the rescue of 'climatologists' (read 'believers in Global Warming') with the notion that doubt can be a sure thing. How is one to find a greater rigor in science? - asks Giles in his 'Wanna Bet' article? By turning scientists into "uncertainty cops", so that endeavours like genetically-modified crops, the global warming industry, seismology, etc, may be 'objectively' graded. The Giles Wanna Bet school of pseudoscience futures marketing.
There are those weak spirits who believe in conspiracies behind everything and anything. Rest assured, there's no need for conspiracy; as long as dementia reigns, these maniacs will rule. 'Complicity of the demented' will suffice.
Next: Who's Funding Wikipedia and Who Benefits from It?
Previous: What's mine is mine, what's yours is also mine