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Did an Anti-ID Wikipedia Editor Shut Down a Darwin-Dissenter?

Casey Luskin

It’s hardly news to observe that Wikipedia is biased against intelligent design (ID). Michael Egnor recently exposed how Wikipedians removed statements discussing how biological machines can be reverse-engineered, like human machines (an observation which has strong pro-ID implications). Errors persist from the very beginning of Wikipedia’s entry on ID, with very first paragraph stating, “ID’s primary proponents, all of whom are associated with the Discovery Institute, believe the designer to be the Abrahamic God.” I’m pretty sure that notable ID-friendly scientists like Mike Gene would ardently dispute that statement on many levels. The critics’ viewpoint dominates the ID page, with over 50% of the references presently containing citations to critics (like the ACLU-scripted Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling, the testimony of anti-ID witnesses, TalkOrigins, NCSE’s website, PandasThumb, The Skeptical Inquirer, Barbara Forrest’s writings, and so on).

Moreover, when pro-ID viewpoints are given, they are nearly always rebutted by the writings of critics (unless they deal with religion). So what’s the purpose of the “encyclopedia” page? Is it intended to inform people about what intelligent design actually says or simply to publicize to the world what some critics want it to be, and what they think is wrong with it? It appears the primary aim is the latter. But Wikipedia’s bias is sometimes made more explicit.

I recently received an email from someone who was concerned about how an anti-ID Wikipedia editor banned a Wikipedia user “for stating that evolution is a THEORY.” (Note: As I stated recently, I don’t endorse that argument, and I’ve only made one edit on Wikipedia in my entire life, and I had nothing to do with this exchange.) After the user was then blocked, the user stated, “You can block me all you want, but I’ve done nothing wrong, and you can’t change that.” A notorious anti-ID Wikipedia editor denied the user’s request to be reinstated by citing a “Fundamental lack of understanding of the meaning of ‘theory’ as used in science” on the part of the user. Incredibly, the editor that banned this Darwin-dissenter justified the act by complaining user engaged in “repeated POV [point of view] edits.” Promoting a “Point of view”? Their hypocrisy is incredible! The editor is clearly banning people because they disagree with his “point of view.” It seems clear that only certain “points of view” are acceptable on Wikipedia when it comes to intelligent design.

Past editors have been exposed as not being the blameless, objective scholars they claim to be: Remember when the story broke on how “one of [Wikipedia’s] most trusted and prolific editors, who claimed to be a professor of religion, was exposed as a 24-year-old from Kentucky”? (See “Editor scandal rocks Wikipedia.”) Without commenting on the semantics debate over the proper use of the word “theory,” I’ll let readers decide for themselves if a Darwin-dissenter’s viewpoint was unfairly quashed by Wikipedia editors. The exchange can be viewed here.


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.