Luskin on Wikipedia

This is amusing. Based on a Seattle Times article, Luskin is warning people that Wikipedia shouldn’t be used as a primary or secondary source. Apparently, Wikipedia sometimes contains inaccurate or misleading information. Anyone who has read Explore Evolution, for example, will understand the meaning of misleading and inaccurate information. I digress, Luskin’s epiphany strikes one as a little hollow given that he used an obsolete edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica as a source for his article in PCID (an obsolete journal that was supposed to be the flagship peer reviewed journal for ID). The idea that it is not acceptable to use as a source in schoolwork has been around for quite a while (see NPR story from 1005, for example). I guess Casey is just mad because he has one less source to cite…

6 Responses

  1. Well, the real reason Luskin is doing this is that the Wikipedia articles about intelligent design and related issues are well written and subject to Wikipedia policies about reliable sources and neutral point of view.
    In fact, the article on intelligent design- was recently featured on the mainpage, which only occurs with a lengthy review process. There is a long history of Discovery Institute fellows and less intelligent design proponents (such as DaveScott from UncommonDescent) trying to push their point of view (POV) and getting upset when they’ve failed.
    Contrast this for example with the behavior of Wesley Elsberry who has been a model Wikipedian and the general behavior of the NCSE who after having Wikipedia’s conflict of interest guidelines explained to them have been scrupulously careful about how they edit.
    My view of ID used to be much more neutral but to some extent it has become anti-ID simply out of emotional reaction to all the problems we have with IDers and creationists on Wikipedia. The example that stands out most in my mind is an arbitration case involving Jonathan Sarfati trying to sockpuppet and control his own article along with his wife editing see- .

  2. NPR has been around for longer than I thought….

  3. JoshuaZ:
    The example I remember best was Christopher Michael Langan and his wife. . .

  4. Actually, what makes this funny is if you search Google News for the phrase “Medved was named” you see that Luskin was originally complaining about Wikipedia referencing Michael Medved’s belief in Bigfoot. But, if you follow the link to the actual EVN article as it appears now, there is no mention of Medved or Bigfoot.

  5. Luskin is stupid. It’s an encyclopedia, it isn’t meant to be a primary source. It should reference primary sources and be a good starting point for learning about a topic.

  6. I’m a librarian, and I use Wikipedia for entrance-point research, factoid finding, and as a preliminary reference tool nearly every time I step behin the information desk. I would never cite a Wikipedia page in a bibliography, of course, but Wikipedia frequently has more up-to-date information than annually-published encyclopedias, with a list of links and references that library patrons can then build their search upon. As such, Wikipedia has less of a problem with obsolescence than print reference books. It’s as if someone has already done the leg work and listed important sources that you can then build on. Wikipedia has also been shown to have the same degree of facutal and spelling errors, and errors of omission, as Encyclopedia Americana, Brittanica, and other popular encyclopedias.
    Complain though you might, reference 2.0 is the way of the future, so you’d better all get used to it.

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