I was fumbling through the Wikipedia arbitration requests for pseudoscience, going back to 2006. Mainly the case handled the issues between scienceapologist and Ian Tresmen.
What I found interesting coming up in the hearing are similar issues and problems that are still occurring in 2014, yet at least discussed with a bit more reasonably, with Wikipedia admins weighing in against scienceapologist.
But even more interesting was the comment made by ‘Good Cop‘, a wikipedia editor who was banned indefinitely in 2006 in what looks like a similar case of an editor believing themselves to be harassed, addressing it in appropriate channels, and then being labeled a troll or disruptive for addressing behavioral issues on the encyclopedia.
Below is Good Cop’s statement, quite lengthy but interesting for historical record, especially in light of what is still happening in 2014 on Wikipedia.
tldr; ‘skeptic activism’ on Wikipedia is not new, and many skeptic activists hold extreme views relative to their POV. Yet ‘fringe’ activism likely produces a similar response. They might be both necessary in keeping each other in check on Wikipedia (which seems like the appropriate way to handle) but when one side has a strong history of personal attacks, reputation destruction and admins approve – I believe Wikipedia will sink further and further away from a truly neutral point of view without even realizing it.
Generalities of pseudoscience (written by Good Cop)
I have some expertise in the area of the psychology of both the belief in pseudoscience and pseudoskepticism, which may be of use here.
There are different causes of belief in various pseudosciences, by which those pseudosciences can be classified. There are some quasi-scientific fanatical religious beliefs that could be classified as pseudoscience rather than religion. There is spiritual pseudoscience, such as astrology, palmistry, divination, and homeopathy. There is pseudoscience that is caused by an affinity for excitement. There is pseudoscience that is caused not by psychological factors, but by a lack of information, such as the flat earth belief and phrenology, and such pseudosciences typically cease once they are disproven. Some pseudosciences are the result of multiple causes. The different pseudosciences should be distinguished from each other by the aforementioned causes. A person that makes an accusation of pseudoscience should describe it as having one or more of the aforementioned causes.
Pseudoskepticism is the willfully blind deprecation of viable, and often truthful, scientific beliefs. Pseudoskepticism derives from a generally authoritarian ideology, and the scientific beliefs that pseudoskeptics blindly dismiss are consequentially usually the ones that are not supported by the current majority of academic authorities. Such authoritarian thinking is illogical though, as the scientific authorities once exhibited pseudoskepticism toward many minority scientific beliefs that we now know to be true. Without open-mindedness, there can not be scientific progress. The authoritarian thinking of pseudoskeptics in turn results from testosterone, the hormone of intimidating aggression, and that is why there are far more male pseudoskeptics than female pseudoskeptics, and why pseudoskeptics often exhibit aggressive behavior, such as discreditting the opposition, as has been demonstrated in this very dispute (such as by ScienceApologist), among countless other places. It is therefore evident that pseudoskepticism is a personality disorder, which is similar to antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders.
I have noticed that on wikipedia, pseudoskeptics, some of which are politically motivated, have chronically abused the pseudoscience category, putting it on such articles as eugenics, cold fusion, and static universe. I personally am a rather skeptical person; I am a non-spiritual atheist materialist that does not believe in an afterlife, psychic ability, current extraterrestrial visitation (unless I see better proof, because it is technically possible), the big bang, continuous creation / quasi-steady state, the electric universe model, etcetera, or even free will …and even I recognize the strong scientific support for eugenics, the static universe model, and cold fusion (in the case of eugenics, the proof of it’s efficacy is so overwhelming that it is surprising that anyone would even dare call it pseudoscience).
Pseudoskeptics, particularly ScienceApologist, have argued that much of the information about minority beliefs should be removed from all articles due to the undue weight policy. That is a gross perversion of the rule, and ScienceApologist knows it, because the rule applies to the proportional coverage of different subjects within an article, not the coverage of the subject of the article itself.
more evidence of abuse by ScienceApologist
I too have witnessed the grossly disruptive POV-pushing of ScienceApologist’s edits. Look at his edits to the article static universe, in which he deleted all of the astrophysical information, twice (which was written by one user, then restored by a different user), and in the text of the article, he libellously accused the static universe proponents as doing the exact same thing as the big bang proponents (the main opponents of the static universe model)- falsification (see http://cosmologystatement.org for a description of the falsification of the big bang). That demonstrates a tendency in ScienceApologist to state the opposite of the truth, which is a common behavior among people that desire to disrupt truth, including pseudoskeptics. His behavior reminds me much of the banned user Paul Vogel. Look also at his recent edit to the cosmology article. I changed the wording from a POV-biased state to an objective state, and then only 3 minutes later, ScienceApologist changed it back to a POV-biased version that was slightly different from the original. It is therefore evident that ScienceApologist is constantly policing a wide range of articles (via his watchlist, I assume), so as to POV-dominate them.
I noticed that on the static universe article, ScienceApologist entered a large number of links to other physical-cosmology-related articles at the top; I suspect that those are all of the articles that ScienceApologist and/or his wikiclique allies POV-dominate. Also, look at ScienceApologist’s user page; he was given a barnstar by many people. Many of those people are ScienceApologist’s POV allies. I have been studying that wikiclique, and I have identified many members thereof, some of which are admins. ScienceApologist himself also ran for admin, but did not get sufficient votes. Whether or not every one of those members is POV-biased on the big bang issue and other pseudoskepticism-related issues I do not know. The wikiclique members are:
ScienceApologist (of course),
Joke137 (an admin) has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility specifically on the big bang issue,
Ems57fcva has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility specifically on the big bang issue,
Dragons flight the person that nominated Joke137 for admin,
Duncharris (an admin) has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility,
Pjacobi has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility,
Guettarda (an admin),
KillerChihuahua (an admin) pseudoskeptic,
William M. Connolley (an admin) has demonstrated POV-pushing and incivility
Those are the main ones that I know of. From the looks of this RfAr page, it looks like there may be others. However, some of those people may also be responsible for holding back the creationist POV-pushers. It is an unfortunate truth that often, the only people holding back certain POV-pushers are other POV-pushers, much like how the sunnis and the shi’ites hold each other in check. I should note, by the way, that even the clique member Dragons flight criticized ScienceApologist for being uncivil (on ScienceApologist’s RfA).
For evidence of the POV wikiclique alliances, look at RfA votes, barnstar signatures (on user pages), article discussions, and edit histories. For example, go to:
There is also the fact that the very username ‘ScienceApologist’ is misrepresentative, as he is precisely the type of person that embarrasses scientific materialism with blind authoritarian pseudoskepticism.
With such vast proof of abuse by ScienceApologist presented by multiple users, why have the arbitrators not yet blocked him from editing all science-related articles? They should not delay any longer in doing so.
You might be wondering why I have conducted such extensive investigation, despite having little involvement in the disputes. It is largely because wikipedia presents itself as an encyclopedia, and yet it is infested with relentless POV-pushers such as ScienceApologist and his POV wikiclique allies, who alter wikipedia to make it not an encyclopedia, but a proselytism platform. Thus, wikipedia is being misrepresented by those POV-pushers and by the power-holding people (such as Jimbo Wales, and thus far the arbitrators) that do not take action to stop them, and furthermore, wikipedia is a donation-soliciting organization. That is of concern to me, and many others as well. I suppose that you can call me an unrealistic optimist for trying to convince you to change. I like wikipedia; it has a great deal of important information, and I have looked up information in wikipedia many times. GoodCop 01:47, 30 October 2006 (UTC)