The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

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The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

Unread postby davesmith_au » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:55 am

January 22, 2010 ~ Guest Contribution - Henry H. Bauer

Wikipedia's dogmatic defense of a mainstream scientific belief, together with character assassination of those who point to defects in that belief, will be familiar enough to AIDS Rethinkers (Beware the Internet: Amazon.com "reviews", Wikipedia, and other sources of misinformation, 11 April 2009). It takes only one dedicated fanatic to dominate any given Wikipedia entry or topic, and arbitration on Wikipedia is controlled by sometimes anonymous individuals whose credentials are thereby unknown.[More...]
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Re: The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

Unread postby mharratsc » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:09 am

Wow, it is truly heartening to see those editors finally being held accountable! :D

I hope that someone pursues litigation against ScienceApologist and gets him/her/it barred from Wiki. Ol' Jimbo is getting a wake-up call to quit treating Wiki like a little private boys club, and start making people accountable for their ethics on the site.
Mike H.

"I have no fear to shout out my ignorance and let the Wise correct me, for every instance of such narrows the gulf between them and me." -- Michael A. Harrington
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Re: The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

Unread postby bboyer » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:18 am

Emphasis mine.

Henry H. Bauer wrote:
ScienceApologist wrote:Wikipedia is inherently a non-innovative reference work: it stifles creativity and free-thought. If Wikipedia had been around at the time of Galileo, his ideas would have been subject to my incisive commentary and editorial braggadocio — even if I agreed with him. I am a status quo promoter.


<snip> Leave aside, though, what could motivate ScienceApologist, and note merely that he wants progress to stop. He boasts of wanting to suppress Galileo's insights even knowing their value and basic truth, and brags about helping Wikipedia stifle creativity and free-thought! He is in some ways like the Luddites who rioted against the Industrial Revolution, yet ScienceApologist is even more extreme, because he wants to stop not merely material change but the advance of human understating. In the name of science, of course!

ScienceApologist's self-portrait contains a number of references to Wikipedia "principles" that helped me realize that Wikipedia is best described as a cult, defined as: “Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing. . . . An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest” (American Heritage Dictionary).

ScienceApologist asserts:

I act to mitigate, redesign, and occasionally destroy the offerings of users who think that a particular 'breakthrough' or 'notable idea' deserves more consideration than it has gotten in the academic world. Such grandstanding is forbidden by a variety of Wikipedia policies and guidelines (WP:V, WP:SOAP, WP:NOR, WP:FRINGE, WP:WEIGHT, WP:NOT, and WP:REDFLAG to name just a few).




Robert Jay Lifton, M.D. wrote:
The "Sacred Science"

The totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic dogma, holding it out as an ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence. This sacredness is evident in the prohibition (whether or not explicit) against the questioning of basic assumptions, and in the reverence which is demanded for the originators of the Word, the present bearers of the Word, and the Word itself. While thus transcending ordinary concerns of logic, however, the milieu at the same time makes an exaggerated claim of airtight logic, of absolute "scientific" precision. Thus the ultimate moral vision becomes an ultimate science; and the man who dares to criticize it, or to harbor even unspoken alternative ideas, becomes not only immoral and irreverent, but also "unscientific." In this way, the philosopher kings of modern ideological totalism reinforce their authority by claiming to share in the rich and respected heritage of natural science.

The assumption here is not so much that man can be God, but rather that man's ideas can be God: that an absolute science of ideas (and implicitly, an absolute science of man) exists, or is at least very close to being attained; that this science can be combined with an equally absolute body of moral principles; and that the resulting doctrine is true for all men at all times. Although no ideology goes quite this far in overt statement, such assumptions are implicit in totalist practice.

At the level of the individual, the totalist sacred science can offer much comfort and security. Its appeal lies in its seeming unification of the mystical and the logical modes of experience (in psychoanalytic terms, of the primary and secondary thought processes). For within the framework of the sacred science, and sweeping, non-rational "insights." Since the distinction between the logical and the mystical is, to begin with, artificial and man-made, an opportunity for transcending it can create an extremely intense feeling of truth. But the posture of unquestioning faith - both rationally and non-rationally derived - is not easy to sustain, especially if one discovers that the world of experience is not nearly as absolute as the sacred science claims it to be.

Yet so strong a hold can the sacred science achieve over his mental processes that if one begins to feel himself attracted to ideas which either contradict or ignore it, he may become guilty and afraid. His quest for knowledge is consequently hampered, since in the name of science he is prevented from engaging in the receptive search for truth which characterizes the genuinely scientific approach. And his position is made more difficult by the absence, in a totalist environment, of any distinction between the sacred and the profane: there is no thought or action which cannot be related to the sacred science. To be sure, one can usually find areas of experience outside its immediate authority; but during periods of maximum totalist activity (like thought reform) any such areas are cut off, and there is virtually no escape from the milieu's ever-pressing edicts and demands. Whatever combination of continued adherence, inner resistance, or compromise co-existence the individual person adopts toward this blend of counterfeit science and back-door religion, it represents another continuous pressure toward personal closure, toward avoiding, rather than grappling with, the kinds of knowledge and experience necessary for genuine self-expression and for creative development.

Excerpt from Chapter 22, "Ideological Totalism", of Robert Jay Lifton's book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of 'Brainwashing' in China. Lifton, a psychiatrist and distinguished professor at the City University of New York, has studied the psychology of extremism for decades. He testified at the 1976 bank robbery trial of Patty Hearst about the theory of "coercive persuasion." First published in 1961, his book was reprinted in 1989 by the University of North Carolina Press.

Read the rest of Chapter 22 here, http://www.rickross.com/reference/brain ... ing19.html

There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else. — Maitri Upanishad
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Re: The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:09 am

Thanks Arc-us, looks very interesting.
In a similar vein are John Ralston Saul's Voltaire's Bastards.
http://www.johnralstonsaul.com/SUM_Voltaires.html

and
Frank Furedi, Where Have All The Intellectuals Gone: Confronting 21st Century Philistinism
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hUlc ... ne&f=false
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but people delight in complexity.
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Re: The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:45 am

Just finished the article - most excellent. Highly recommended reading.
Thanks again, Arc-us.
If I have the least bit of knowledge
I will follow the great Way alone
and fear nothing but being sidetracked.
The great Way is simple
but people delight in complexity.
Tao Te Ching, 53.
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Re: The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

Unread postby bboyer » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:06 pm

My pleasure, GC. And thanks for your recommendations as well.
There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else. — Maitri Upanishad
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Re: The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia

Unread postby Barry » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:28 am

I think that this is the Joshua Schroeder (ScienceApologist) that everyone is referring to.
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