Evolution in Wikipedia- December 2007
by Do-While Jones

Wikipedia’s Bias

Wikipedia tries to justify their one-sided coverage of evolution.

We have received two different classes of email about Wikipedia. Here are samples of both.

Subject: Wikipedia
From: Joel
Date: 7/18/2006 6:44 PM

Hi there,

I found something that may merit your attention. The Wikipedia article on Evolution seems to contain very little reference to arguments against evolution, and what little there is is listed as "misunderstandings." I browsed through the page's history a bit and found that basically all attempts to note inaccuracies of or problems with the theory were removed, with the edit being labled [sic] "vandalism." To me, this seems like a problem. However, I am not prepared or capable of dealing with it by myself. Perhaps there is a way to get readers to begin a "truth assault" on the page and fill in the missing information.

The following is typical of the second kind of email.

Subject: Not Science
From: Shadoom
Date: 10/4/2007 4:11 PM

If evolution is "no longer a respectable theory" then how come 98% of all scientists and 99% of scientists in the related fields (ie: biology) believe it?

We wondered where he got his facts, so we sent him an email saying, “We have tried very hard to get comfirmation that most scientists believe in evolution. Where did you get your facts? Please send us the reference.” We got an immediate response.

Subject: RE: Not Science
From: Shadoom
Date: 10/4/2007 7:08 PM

I got my facts from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Evolution/FAQ, check the references at the bottom of the page if you want to find the original source.

So, we followed the link. We were amazed by what we read.

One-Sided Admission

Wikipedia freely admitted that they are one-sided. There are no criticisms of the theory of evolution because they categorically reject them all. Here are excerpts from what their FAQ page said in October of 2007.

Why won't you add criticisms or objections to evolution in the Evolution article?

This is essentially mandated by Wikipedia's official neutral point of view policy. This policy requires that articles treat views on various subjects proportionally to those views' mainstream acceptance in the appropriate academic field. For example, if two contradictory views in physics are held by roughly an equal number of physicists, then Wikipedia should give those views "equal time". On the other hand, if one view is held by 99% of physicists and the other by 1%, then Wikipedia should favor the former view throughout its physics articles; the latter view should receive little, if any, coverage. To do otherwise would require, for example, that we treat belief in a Flat Earth as being equal to other viewpoints on the figure of the Earth.

Due to the enormous mainstream scientific consensus in support of modern evolutionary theory, and pursuant to Wikipedia's aforementioned policies, Evolution references evolution as an observable natural process and as the valid explanation for the diversity of life on earth. Although there are indeed opposing views to evolution, such as Creationism, none of these views have any support in the relevant field (biology), and therefore Wikipedia cannot, and should not, treat these opposing views as being significant to the science of evolution. On the other hand, they may be very significant to sociological articles on the effects of evolutionary theory on religious and cultural beliefs; this is why sociological and historical articles such as creation-evolution controversy give major coverage to these opposing views, while biological articles such as evolution do not. 1

Their “neutral point of view policy” mandates that they present only one side! We sure hope that Wikipedia still says this when you go to check the link because we swear we didn’t make this up!

The Survey Says …

The Wikipedia FAQ didn’t actually say that 99% of all scientists (including biologists) believe in evolution, but that was the inference Shadoom got from it. We have asked Gallop and Pew Research to do a survey to find out what percentage of scientists still do believe in evolution. They either have not done the survey, or won’t publish the results of the survey, or have published the results and we have not seen them. If anyone knows of a survey taken by a legitimate, unbiased organization, please send us the reference!

There was more on the Wikipedia FAQ page:

Evolution is controversial, so why won't you teach the controversy?

As noted above, evolution is at best only controversial in social areas like politics and religion. Evolutionary theory is not controversial in biology itself. Numerous respectable scientific societies, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences, have issued statements supporting evolution and denouncing creationism and/or ID. In 1987 only about 0.15% of American earth and life scientists supported creationism.

Thus, as a consequence of Wikipedia's policies, it is necessary to treat evolutionary theory as mainstream scientific consensus treats it: an uncontroversial, uncontested, enormously widely-accepted explanation with no scientifically supported "alternatives". 2

It is true that the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences, have issued statements supporting evolution. These are political lobbying groups whose purpose is to obtain funding for science projects. Do you really expect them to say, “Evolution is nonsense, so don’t waste your money funding evolutionary research!”? That’s like asking tobacco companies if they think cigarettes are harmful.

The tobacco analogy isn’t entirely frivolous. Suppose you make your fortune selling tobacco. Even if you knew deep down inside how harmful cigarettes are, wouldn’t you argue heatedly that smoking cigarettes doesn’t cause cancer? Aren’t many of the most vocal evolutionists in the same situation?

To their credit, Wikipedia gave a reference for only 0.15% of life scientists favoring creation. Here it is:

As reported in Newsweek magazine, 29 June 1987, Page 23: "By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science..." 3

This survey is more than 20 years old! We don’t know who did the counting, and what their criteria were for “respectable academic credentials.” All we know is that it was the result of “one count.” Does that mean there were twelve other counts that found lots of scientists who believe in creation (which by implication means they reject evolution)? If Wikipedia is so cutting-edge, why are they quoting dubious research that is 20 years old? Is it because so much scientific evidence against evolution has surfaced in the past 20 years that they can’t find modern research to support their prejudice?

We were pleasantly surprised that they at least admitted that there are hundreds of scientists “with respectable academic credentials” who rejected the theory of evolution 20 years ago. Evolutionists generally want you to believe that there aren’t any scientists at all who reject evolution. Today, there are more and more “real scientists” who are finding the courage to “come out of the closet” and admit that they reject evolution. That’s why the controversy has intensified in recent years.

Colossal Ignorance

The author of the Wikipedia FAQ is unknown. You are supposed to assume, however, that whoever wrote the FAQ is knowledgeable and has impeccable credentials. We can’t help but wonder about the credentials of whoever wrote the following FAQ, when they make such obviously ignorant (or intentionally misleading) statements as these:

Has evolution ever been observed?

Main article: Evidence of evolution

The process of evolution has been observed countless times in numerous situations. For example, evolution has been observed and tested in laboratories, particularly in organisms that breed rapidly, such as bacteria and fruit flies. Evolution has also been observed in the field, such as in the fish tilapia and the peppered moth. A new species of mosquito has evolved in the London Underground system since it opened.

However, while the process of evolution has been observed many times, not every aspect of evolutionary theory, and particularly of the evolutionary history of life, has been directly observed. For example, non-avian dinosaurs have never been observed; their existence has only been inferred from their remains, in the form of fossils. However, these inferences are extremely well-supported by the mountains of evidence testifying to them. Such inferences are also common to all fields of science. For example, the neutron has never been observed, but all the available data supports the neutron model. In the same way, although the entire evolutionary history of life has not been directly observed, all available data supports the evolutionary model. This is why scientists accept evolution even though it isn't 100% "proven". 4

Does the author not know the difference between variation and evolution? Is he or she intentionally confusing microevolution with macroevolution to be deceitful? or is he or she just terribly uninformed or ignorant?

The peppered moth study has been known to have been flawed (to put it delicately) for years. 5 The photographs were staged. The release-and-count methodology was unrealistic. There were dark and light moths at the beginning of the study, and there were dark and light moths at the end of the study. The moths didn’t evolve into anything else. Only the relative percentage of light- and dark-colored moths changed. Yet, the Wikipedia FAQ author cites peppered moths as evidence that one kind of creature can evolve into another. Is he or she still stuck back in the 20th century?

Illogical Logic

Yes, we can infer that dinosaurs existed because we have discovered lots of dinosaur bones; but that doesn’t mean that we can infer every species on Earth evolved from a common ancestor just because we have discovered lots of species.

In case you didn’t catch it, he or she said, “non-avian dinosaurs have never been observed.” That’s because avian dinosaurs (i.e. birds) have been observed. After all these years of evolutionists making fun of creationists for believing that dinosaurs and man lived contemporaneously, they now insist that dinosaurs are still alive and living among us today!

Some evolutionists define birds to be dinosaurs because they are assumed to have evolved from dinosaurs. Therefore, the “fact” that birds are dinosaurs should not be used as proof of evolution. That’s circular (invalid) logic.

Evolution Confusion

We don’t know how many people wrote the Wikipedia FAQ. It could all be the work of one ignorant mind. Perhaps the person who wrote the FAQ, “Has evolution ever been observed?” is the same person who wrote the following FAQ. If it was a different person, it shows that ignorance about microevolution and macroevolution is rampant at Wikipedia.

Why is microevolution equated with macroevolution?

Further information: Microevolution, Macroevolution

The article doesn't equate the two, but merely recognizes that they are largely or entirely the same process, just on different scales. The great majority of modern evolutionary biologists consider macroevolution to simply be microevolution on a larger timescale; all fields of science accept that small ("micro") changes can become large ("macro") ones, given enough time. Most of the topics covered in Evolution are basic enough to not require an appeal to the micro/macro distinction. Consequently, the two terms are not equated, but simply not dealt with much.

A more nuanced version of the claim that evolution has never been observed is that microevolution has been directly observed, while macroevolution has not. However, this is not the case, as speciations, which are generally seen as the benchmark for macroevolution, have been observed in a number of instances. 6

Microevolution and macroevolution are entirely different processes! Macroevolution isn’t just a lot of microevolution building up over time. Speciation has nothing to do with macroevolution. Can the person who wrote that FAQ really be that ignorant?

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Footnotes:

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Evolution/FAQ
2 ibid.
3 ibid.
4 ibid.
5 Disclosure, February 2002, “Horses and Peppered Moths
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Evolution/FAQ