Monday, June 22, 2015

Even Wikipedia's Neil Tyson Talk Page Was Being Actively Censored Last Fall

Do you remember the story of Neil Tyson's fake George W Bush quote? The real story rapidly became how Wikipedia's liberals sprang into defense mode, with the encyclopedia's Neil Tyson Truthers aka its Pravda heirs going out and about to defend their hero and his (and their) — self-serving — viewpoint of conservatives like Dubya as clueless country bumpkins.
Wikipedia, you see, is run by editors who love facts, reason, evidence, and science. Boy do they love science. And facts. And also evidence. They LOVE those things. But they don’t adore anything as much as they adore Neil Tyson, their high priest, and unsavory facts about their shaman of science will not be tolerated.
Here is my humble (and short-lived) part (rather, a cameo) in that story.

Below are two screen shots I took on September 19, 2014 (9:26 pm).

On that evening, I attempted to add a little tidbit to the discussion on the encyclopedia itself — in vain, as we shall see: I added what I considered a rather objective comment quoting what The Federalist was saying about the Wikipedia debacle — something which, you know, might eventually be of some interest to somebody (not least if they were people who saw The Federalist as the enemy — "So that's what our enemy is thinking, and saying!") or someone concerned (or simply curious) about the website giant's reputation (Jimmy Wales, call your office). I wrote my piece (details on the content below), added a few hyperlinks (internal as well as external), and hit the "Save page" button.

What do you think is about to happen? The post will be removed the following day? After a couple of hours? After a few minutes?

No, my comment never appeared! Someone had been monitoring, actively monitoring, that page all along. (A Mr swordfish, presumably, who proceeded to trash blogs, although my blog was never mentioned, the only one mentioned — if blog is indeed the correct word for the Federalist — being the Sean Davis post). My comment was destined to blow up upon takeoff.

But here is the zinger: the censorship did not occur on Neil deGrasse Tyson's wikipedia entry. (Editorializing on an entry, for reasons good or otherwise, is entirely appropriate, after all.) The censorship occurred on Neil deGrasse Tyson's entry's talk page! Yes: his talk page! (aka )

Talk, as in debate! Talk, as in discussion! (Remember how the left loves to tell everybody, we are so open, we are so tolerant, we are always willing to participate in debate and discussion?)

Incidentally, all talk of the fake George W Bush quote (Our God is the God who named the stars) on the talk page has been archived away. While the only mention of the word Bush on the Neil deGrasse Tyson entry has nothing to do with Tyson's mistake and failure ('In 2001, US President George W. Bush appointed Tyson to serve on the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry and in 2004 to serve on the President's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, the latter better known as the "Moon, Mars, and Beyond" commission.')

So what was it that I wrote on the talk page that was so galling? Again, I consider it to be rather neutral: first a lengthy Sean Davis quote, followed by the following description thereof (see screenshot at bottom, with cream-colored letters in left margin):
FYI, the fact that this Wiki thread exists at all has become a story of its own (or a sub-Tyson-story of its own on (guess where) The Federalist: "Religious fanatics have an odd habit of overreacting when people have the audacity to question their fanaticism," writes Sean Davis (that would refer, fairly or otherwise, to the majority of people, editors or other, on this thread); "You will bow to the religious zealots, or you will pay the price."
This was preceded by the following, lengthier quote from Sean Davis's article, Why Is Wikipedia Deleting All References To Neil Tyson’s Fabrication? (see screenshot above, with cream-colored letters in left margin):
The fact-loving, evidence-weighing, ever-objective editors of the online encyclopedia did not appreciate the inclusion of the evidence of Tyson’s fabrication. Not at all. … These lovers of science don’t actually love science, because science requires you to go where the evidence takes you, even if it goes against your original hypothesis. What many of Tyson’s cultists really like is the notion that one can become more intelligent via osmosis — that you can become as smart and as credentialed as Tyson by merely clapping like a seal at whatever he says, as long as what he says fits the political worldview of your average progressive liberal. Neil Tyson is adored by people who want the sweet feeling of smug, intellectual superiority without all the baggage of actually being intellectually superior in any way.

[Hemant] Mehta is right: if a right-wing conservative — if a skeptic of climate alarmism, for example — were accused of wholesale fabrication of evidence, he would have already been run out of town. But not Tyson. Why the disparity? That’s easy: because Tyson’s sins were committed out of a pure desire to further the common good. He believes the “right” things, which means his rather serious iniquities can be forgiven. A little fabrication can be swept under the rug so long as it’s in service of a higher agenda.
(FYI, that was the second time that a Talk comment of mine was deleted on Wikipedia.)

As Sean Davis concludes,
the censorship campaign is important because it highlights how the progressive Left acts when challenged. Revise, don’t report. Erase, don’t acknowledge. Delete, don’t debate.