Our distinguished paleontologist colleague Günter Bechly was erased from Wikipedia after he came out as a proponent of the theory of intelligent design. That, in turn, was after he had already been pushed out of his curator role at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, for the same reason. The editors at Wikipedia obscured their treatment of Günter, a world-class expert on dragonflies, by claiming his heresy on ID had nothing to do with the decision to excise him. Instead, they innocently proclaimed that it was due to the realization that he isn’t “notable” enough for the online encyclopedia.
I’ve already pointed out the problems with this contention, and noted that the editors of Bechly’s page and of the grossly distorted Intelligent Design page itself make little effort to hide the ideological axes they grind. There’s little mystery about what happened to Dr. Bechly, or to another ID advocate, Walter Bradley at Baylor University, whose Wiki entry was shredded to near nothing. This is one way the scientific consensus on evolution is maintained, by threatening dissenters. For a scientist, having your accomplishments erased is the ultimate punishment. Wiki editors meanwhile indulge atheist nobodies with extensive biography entries.
All this we knew, but it’s still satisfying to see it affirmed by Darwinists themselves. Israel’s best-known newspaper, the secular, left-leaning Haaretz, picked up on the Bechly story. The headline from what’s often called the New York Times of Israel says, “A Respected Scientist Comes Out Against Evolution – and Loses His Wikipedia Page.” And that is pretty close to the truth, though I would say that to support ID isn’t to “come out against evolution” but rather to affirm an alternative to the Darwinian explanation of what drives evolution. But never mind.
The translation from Hebrew in the English edition of Haaretz leaves something to be desired, with Günter’s last name misspelled repeatedly as “Blechy” or “Blechly.” Naturally, there’s a spray of the standard vacuous insults directed ID as a “pseudoscience rehash of creationism.”
On the other hand, in a welcome move, they embed a clip from the recent documentary Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machine in which Dr. Bechly gets to tell some of his own story (shades of the New York Times and its recent Retro Report on intelligent design).
That’s a remarkable thing coming from the media’s usual suspects, who more typically call upon Darwinists to speak for us. Reporter Omer Benjakob concludes:
“Accusations of anti-creationism bias are not germane to the purpose of [the article-for-deletion debate], and we don’t consider the stances of an article subject on a contentious topic in judging notability,” the deleting editor wrote, explaining that, “On balance, it seems like the case that the sources do not establish [Blechy’s] notability is more thoroughly argued than the case that they do, and there is no indication that any other notability criteria is met.”
But then the reporter seemingly can’t help himself, and tells the truth about why “Blechly” was erased. Looking past the ritual attribution of “creationism,” Benjakob nails it:
If Blechly’s article was originally introduced due to his scientific work, it was deleted due to his having become a poster child for the creationist movement.
Again, disregarding the “creationism” reference, that is right. Bechly was indeed erased because he had gone over to the ID side of the evolution debate, not because he isn’t “notable” enough. Oh, and look, the Haaretz reporter isn’t alone in stating what should have been obvious. Even writer Matt Young at the Darwinist group blogging site Panda’s Thumb has to admit we’re probably right about this.
David Klinghoffer wrote a piece at Evolution News a month or so ago, in which he charged that Wikipedia had removed the entry for the paleontologist Günter Bechly because Dr. Bechly had “converted” to creationism. I think he may have a point.
Whoa! I’m trying to remember the last time a Darwinist conceded that I “may have a point.” It’s a good day. He goes on:
Mr. Klinghoffer claims that Dr. Bechly was fired from the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany. In a comment on a blog entry, Michael Fugate quotes Dr. Bechly to the effect, “After resigning from my job at SMNS in December 2016 I am still actively working as a paleontologist and publish my research in peer-reviewed scientific journals.” I do not have a source for this statement, but it gives no indication that Dr. Bechly was fired.
By “pushed out,” I did not mean “fired.” If I’d meant to say “fired,” I would have said “fired.” I meant he was pushed into resigning, and so he was.
Dr. Bechly has a long and impressive list of publications (not to mention a handful of species named after him, which Wikipedia deems irrelevant). I looked him up on Google Scholar and found tens to hundreds of citations to the first 10 articles listed. He has appeared on German TV, and he organized what appears to have been a major Darwin celebration in 2009. I am not at all familiar with how Wikipedia applies its guidelines, but I would have guessed that Dr. Bechly would qualify as being generally notable. Indeed, I kind of agree with one commenter, who noted that he should be of interest precisely because of his conversion to creationism.
I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that, had Dr. Bechly not converted to creationism, then he would have flown beneath the radar and his Wikipedia entry would have been safe. Unfortunately, he flew above the radar for a while, and some Wikipedia editor decided to have a closer look and ultimately decided to delete the entry. The editor claims that the creationism issue was irrelevant.
So they claim, but the claim is bogus. And there you have it.
Matt Young gets it, too. There is all but zero question about it in my mind. This is not an “ID” view, or a case of special pleading. Had Dr. Bechly not gone off the Darwinist reservation, there’s no way he would have been deleted by Wikipedia, and thereby from the record that the public, interested in the origins debate, is unfortunately most likely to consult. It’s a telling illustration of how what readers can learn about the evolution controversy is deceptively manipulated, again and again and again.