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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the why-not-just-petition-with-auras? dept.

Medicine 517

Barence (1228440) writes with this excerpt from PC Pro: "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has issued a sharp response to petitioners calling for his site to "allow for true scientific discourse" on holistic healing. The petition, currently running on the Change.org site, claims that much of the information on Wikipedia relating to holistic approaches to healing is "biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong". It has attracted almost 8,000 supporters at the time of publication. Wales's response to the petition, posted on the same page, is far from conciliatory: 'No, you have to be kidding me,' he writes. 'Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful. What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'. It isn't.'"

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Wikipedia ruined the internet (-1, Troll)

hessian (467078) | about 6 months ago | (#46573185)

much of the information on Wikipedia relating to holistic approaches to healing is "biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong"

Most of the information on Wikipedia is "biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong."

Even worse, most of it is plagiarized, drawing eyes away from the books, smaller sites and other sources that produced it.

Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter et al. have concentrated the internet from a decentralized system of peers to a system not unlike old school TV, but participatory: a few big centralized forces control everything, and we participate out of fear that we would miss out otherwise.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573277)

Well at least you can still use the internet to whine about the internet. So stand proud that the big bad sites haven't taken that away from you yet!

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (5, Insightful)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 6 months ago | (#46573281)

The wiki and the internet in general is by nature susceptible to plagarism , misinformation and the etc. The balancing factor is the presence of a relatively few knowledgeable individuals who keep check on malicious activity. Any open forum is and will be susceptible to manipulation for and by vested interests.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573421)

The wiki and the internet in general is by nature susceptible to plagarism , misinformation and the etc. The balancing factor is the presence of competing vested interests. Any open forum is and will be susceptible to manipulation for and by vested interests.

FTFY

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (4, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | about 6 months ago | (#46573481)

Dear AC, people really believe things. Really. They have values.

The holistic "healers" really believe that they have science on their side, or that they are being scientific. It is just like Ken Ham, and Lord Monckton.

That is what makes the situation sad. Not everything is about money.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573585)

Considering the quality of the articles being used to debunk some of those techniques, I think they're well within their rights to point out the hypocracy of the situation. Just beause people don't believe in holistic healing, doesn't mean that the standards should be lower.

Yes, there is a burden of proof on the holistic healers to prove their case, but that doesn't make it OK to misrepresent and generaly put up information that's known to be inaccurate as a method of debunking it. Debunking should be done on the basis of science, not on the basis of misleading, out of date or incorrect information. Give them the best platform you can and let them fail on their own lack of merit. Doing anything else just reinforces the notion that there's a conspiracy against them.

Re: Wikipedia ruined the internet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573805)

The burden of proof is on the challengers to the status quo. Debunking is an inherently inefficient way to spend our research resources.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (2)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 6 months ago | (#46573623)

Err, do you know how many books Ken Ham sold, and how much $$ the stupid creationist museum raised and how much it is still sponsored by the state?

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 6 months ago | (#46573853)

That doesn't demonstrate that it's all about the money. Some preachers know that they're selling BS, others actually believe their derp. I think Ham is an emotional thinker, and actually believes the nonsense he spouts.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (0)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 months ago | (#46573821)

How many of the articles posted on Wikipedia do you think Jimmy Wales confirmed through experimentation?

Not to say I believe in the "Emotional Freedom Technique", but all his protests amount to is an appeal to authority, and the authority he's appealing to doesn't seem too authoritative these days.

There's still an article about String Theory on his site, despite the fact that the LHC has pretty much confirmed that the theory is a bunch of navel gazing bullshit...

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573295)

All of the information on Wikipedia is "plagiarized" by design; it's not a place for original research it's an encyclopedia.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (5, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | about 6 months ago | (#46573495)

All of the information on Wikipedia is "plagiarized" by design; it's not a place for original research it's an encyclopedia.[1] [slashdot.org]

1. ^a [slashdot.org] Anonymous Coward

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (5, Insightful)

rujasu (3450319) | about 6 months ago | (#46573297)

Most of the information on Wikipedia is "biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong."

[citation needed]

Even worse, most of it is plagiarized, drawing eyes away from the books, smaller sites and other sources that produced it.

Evidently, you do not understand what "plagiarism" means.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573299)

Idiot.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 6 months ago | (#46573319)

Most of the information on Wikipedia is "biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong."

Based on.. what? Your comment seems biased and misleading and could possibly be just plain wrong. Is your comment just based on your personal impression? Have you actually gone through and examined most of all the content available on Wikipedia? No? Well, gee.

Even worse, most of it is plagiarized, drawing eyes away from the books, smaller sites and other sources that produced it.

And yet, while doing that it makes it much more easier to find both the sources and relevant information. If Wikipedia didn't exist finding all that information would be a major hassle, especially considering a lot of the sources mentioned are behind various paywalls, only available in physical forms or whatnot.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573331)

To be fair, most information is biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong. this is not an online only issue, and certainly not a new issue.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573347)

No, most of it is correct. Do me a favour and check the release date for Pink Floyd's "The Wall".

The majority of information is easily obtained and easily checked. What you're referring to is a comparatively small number of specialist areas, and perhaps the occasional unimportant hearsay on a page about a person or product.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573477)

Not at all. How are you going to verify that the release date for Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is correct? Which authoritative source will you use? Now maybe that source had it wrong, and maybe it got transcribed into the 'paedia incorrectly. But damned straight the 'paedia is plagiarising the source, and reducing sales of the source (because who would buy a book of record release dates when it's all on Wikipedia?)

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46573567)

Decentralized information is extremely hard to access quickly. Wikipedia not only makes it incredibly easy to get a 20,000 ft view of just about any topic, but they cite a lot of their sources so that if you want the deep down on the topic you can access the sources for more info.

And the claim that Wikipedia "controls" anything except for their little piece of the playground is absurd. You're free to start an alternative wiki-- there are already zillions-- just dont think you're entitled to be popular.

Re:Wikipedia ruined the internet (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46573825)

"Most of the information on Wikipedia is "biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong.""
False.
"Even worse, most of it is plagiarized"
no it isn't, and when it is it is removed.

"Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter et al. have concentrated the internet from a decentralized system of peers to a system not unlike old school TV, but participatory: a few big centralized forces control everything, and we participate out of fear that we would miss out otherwise."

Don't confuse you inability to think beyond those source for no one being able to think past those sources.

Tapas Acupressure Technique (3, Funny)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | about 6 months ago | (#46573197)

Mmmm... Tapas!

You know what they call alternative medicine... (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 months ago | (#46573201)

Once it's been proven to work?
Medicine.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573245)

Well plagiarised from Tim Minchin.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573287)

I'm pretty sure Tim would care more about spreading the idea than getting the credit for this really obvious joke.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 6 months ago | (#46573591)

yeah, and Dara Ó Briain did it before Tim Minchin.

who cares?

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (5, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 6 months ago | (#46573269)

You know what they call it when it's proven NOT to work?

Alternative medicine.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (4, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about 6 months ago | (#46573369)

i would use the shorter, yet better term of "Bullshit" but for the sake of political correctness, your denomination would have to do.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573417)

According to the summarry, the also call it "the work of lunatic charlatans".

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1, Informative)

microbox (704317) | about 6 months ago | (#46573507)

Not all alternative medicine is proven not to work. Plenty is, but not all.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (4, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 6 months ago | (#46573541)

Good examples you gave there.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (4, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 6 months ago | (#46573565)

Then prove it. Show one piece of holistic/homeopathic medicine which does the equivalent of real medicine.

So far, not one has been shown to do anything because it's all the placebo effect which has been demonstrated in numerous studies.

As is always said in these situations, find at least one scientifically rigorous study showing any alternative medicine works. Not what some charlatan like Kevin Trudeau says, not Montel Williams in an informercial, a true scientific study using standardized methods to show any effectiveness of alternative medicine.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573667)

So far, not one has been shown to do anything because it's all the placebo effect which has been demonstrated in numerous studies.

Talk about hoist by your own petard. The placebo effect has been proven to work, so if alternative medicines rely on it, then they are scientifically proven to work.

Given that the placebo effect exists, don't you think it would it make sense that we'd have a branch of medicine which attempted to trigger it, especially when all other interventions have failed?

That branch is called alternative medicine and by your own admission it works as well as a real placebo. If we had a proven medicine for all known diseases and conditions, there would be no need for this branch of medicine, but we don't.

God, nerds can be so dumb sometimes.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (5, Funny)

crashcy (2839507) | about 6 months ago | (#46573785)

So the best argument in favor of your treatment is that it works as well as nothing, which is totally proven to work, sometimes?

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573703)

Placebos are "real" medicine.
We just don't know how they work.
Using placebos gives better results than not using placebos.
Thus placebos are medicine. QED

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573771)

Excellent, so the placebo effect works.

The alternative medicines do not.

Glad you cleared that up for us.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573589)

Of course not. Some of it hasn't even been tested yet.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46573851)

Such as...? what? nothing? I see.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573607)

You know what they call it when it's proven NOT to work?

Alternative medicine [wikipedia.org] .

FTFY.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (5, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46573619)

I dont know that thats 100% accurate, there are a couple of "legit" "alternative" medicines that we just havent finished studying, but may be proven to be effective. Theyre just generally the minority.

For example, I believe its generally accepted that acupuncture [nih.gov] does something, we're just not sure how and what.
If you're really interested in a discussion on it, the NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [nih.gov] might be a good place to start:

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 6 months ago | (#46573691)

1 out of every 100,000+ quacks doesn't seem like a profitable line of research.

RIGHT. Read My Lips... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573325)

"Proven. To. Work." Period.
Wales is entirely correct to try and protect the integrity of information presented on his site. I would feel exactly the same way.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573339)

Fine, but the 'proven' part can't be skipped, otherwise it's just being a charlatan...

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 months ago | (#46573445)

Besides Medicine, there is a huge debate and misconceptions about diets.

We got Vegetarian, Vegan then we go the other ways with diets with a lot of meat.
GMO food is either harmless just a quicker form of breading, or it is actually bad. Beyond GMO we got Organic vs traditional farming. Some people say to drink more water, others say we are drinking too much.

Alternative medicines and Diets debates is about justifying to yourself the extra money you are paying. And make you feel special because it seems like you hold some special knowledge that the rest of the mindless masses doesn't.

What I want is some real science.
Because if I go with my own personal bias observations I find the following.
Vegetarian and Vegans: Tend to look more aged then more omnivorous peers. They seems to look worn down, while thin they are not skinny. All fat no mussel.
People who eat a lot of meat: Seem to be much heavier, and have particular health issues in digestion.
     

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1)

microbox (704317) | about 6 months ago | (#46573519)

Alternative medicines and Diets debates is about justifying to yourself the extra money you are paying.

Mixing cause and effect.

And make you feel special because it seems like you hold some special knowledge that the rest of the mindless masses doesn't.

Now that hits the nail on the head.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1)

zarthrag (650912) | about 6 months ago | (#46573531)

All fat no mussel.

Not trying to be a grammar nazi or anything, but that made me smile.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (5, Interesting)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#46573525)

Once it's been proven to work?
Medicine.

Meh. That's not really true. There's a reason there's an entire field called evidence-based medicine [wikipedia.org] , which from its very name makes it distinct from just plain-old normal "medicine."

There's plenty of hokum peddled by physicians, too. Lots of clinical decisions are based on "gut feelings" and tradition. And let's not even get into the multitude of embarrassing medical debates where various new drugs or foods or practices were widely accepted and then shown to be even more harmful than the things they replaced (which were originally thought to be harmful or unhealthy).

Spend some time sifting through all of the research on some medical topic at some point, and it quickly becomes clear that lots of medical conclusions are based on studies with serious flaws (either methodological or statistical), which is why you end up getting the "X is bad for you! Don't do/eat/use X!" one year and "X is good for you! Do it all the time!" the next year crap.

Don't get me wrong -- medical research is hard. Human bodies are very complex systems. And the kind of blind randomized studies necessary to evaluate medical practices (particularly "accepted" practices, which are assumed to already work) are often (1) expensive, (2) potentially unethical, since they might involve denying someone treatment that is assumed to be necessary for good health and/or exposing people to dangerous practices, (3) really difficult to control for all potential variables. And even if you managed to construct some sort of artificial laboratory situation where you could really isolate a variable, it may have questionable real-world applicability once the subjects head back out into the messiness of real life.

It doesn't mean we should throw up our hands and give up, but there is significant room for improvement in everyday "medicine," based on things that are ACTUALLY proven to work, hence "evidence-based" medicine.

Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 6 months ago | (#46573537)

Yup . No alternative medicine has been scientifically proven to work. Till date. We hence call it "Alternative medicine"

Finally a good fundraiser (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573209)

Despite all of Wales' attempts to raise funds for Wikipedia, this is (by far) the best one.

Re:Finally a good fundraiser (1)

DavidHumus (725117) | about 6 months ago | (#46573601)

You're right as far as I'm concerned but we may not be in the majority.

Stupidity strikes again (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573219)

Good response from Wales.

There are a lot of dumb motherfuckers out there, stay vigilant in making sure they don't put dumb things on Wikipedia.

Re:Stupidity strikes again (2)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 6 months ago | (#46573359)

There is already a lot of dumb shit on wikipedia. Wales is right to try and keep even more of those assholes off his site.

Re:Stupidity strikes again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573435)

There are a lot of dumb motherfuckers out there

Here is a picture [twimgs.com] of their leader. Yeah, how's that holistic approach to healing cancer working out there, Mr. "genius"?

Seems like a fine line (0)

Akratist (1080775) | about 6 months ago | (#46573221)

On one hand, you have people pushing crap that's not even in the realm of plausible pseudoscience (like that pressure cooker doodad which was supposed to change the molecular arrangement of water molecules). On the other hand, you have the realm of vitamins and other alternative treatments which may not necessarily be shown to be effective in FDA-approved studies, but seem to offer genuine anecdotal evidence to their benefits. It seems like the happy medium would be to just stick these things in the category of "Unproven Quackery" and be done with it.

Re:Seems like a fine line (2, Funny)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 6 months ago | (#46573279)

Anecdote, n.: An observation that supports the other guy's hypothesis.

Re:Seems like a fine line (3, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 6 months ago | (#46573379)

Anecdotes are useful as a startig poiny if you're looking for some new phenomenon. That's all, nothing more.

If the effects are real, you can discern them through repeatable tests.

The vast majority of alternative claims have been disproven, shown to have no effect.

Re:Seems like a fine line (2)

EvilSS (557649) | about 6 months ago | (#46573317)

On the other hand, you have the realm of vitamins and other alternative treatments which may not necessarily be shown to be effective in FDA-approved studies, but seem to offer genuine anecdotal evidence to their benefits. .

Internet science at its best!

Re:Seems like a fine line (5, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | about 6 months ago | (#46573323)

"genuine anecdotal evidence"

I'm not quite sure you understand the meaning of "genuine" here. Or "evidence"...

Re:Seems like a fine line (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46573401)

No, technically speaking an anecdote is evidence. For establishing a one time event, like "did this person go here this day?" like might be used in a court of law, it's even frequently sufficient evidence. But, we're talking evidence of a property or consistent behavior. It can still be evidence there, but it's poorly structured, nigh-unusable, easily contradicted, and subjective evidence. And being crappy evidence is enough reason to dismiss in the realm of medicine, since there are dangers inherent to the field.

Re:Seems like a fine line (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573687)

And being crappy evidence is enough reason to dismiss in the realm of medicine, since there are dangers inherent to the field.

You haven't been paying attention to the scope of medical research recently have you? While there are some useful studies, much of medical science recently has been about either overdosing rats on something to 'prove' that it's dangerous, or data mining through previous records of patient information to try to assert universal truths from the 4 subjects that fit whatever detail is relevant. The biggest source of actual testing is done by pharmaceutical companies trying to prove that their new random chemical is not significantly more dangerous than a placebo and also makes an actual difference to patients.

Nutritional science is a really strong example of this kind of bad study techniques. In my lifetime I've seen every type of meat (mammal, fish, bird, invertebrate, etc.) and about half of commonly eaten plants cycle between 'healthy', 'will kill you', 'not as bad as we thought', 'surprisingly beneficial', and 'overhyped.' I've seen the same cycle with alcohol and caffeine as well. At this point, I can only believe that 'nutritional science' is guided by efforts to manipulate food purchasing behavior more than any actual evidence.

Re:Seems like a fine line (1)

microbox (704317) | about 6 months ago | (#46573549)

Well... and anecdote isn't statistical evidence... it's anecdotal which implies infinite variance in interpretation.

Re:Seems like a fine line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573357)

If you think anecdotes mean anything, you are a part of the problem.

The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data' (2)

sirwired (27582) | about 6 months ago | (#46573561)

An anecdote serves, at best, a rough start in forming a hypothesis. But an anecdote is utterly useless outside of that context.

Re:Seems like a fine line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573641)

Well, most of this stuff *is* on Wikipedia. What the petitioners are mad about is the articles usually call them Unproven Quackery (but perhaps with different wording). The bottom line is here is that Wikipedia does not want to be in the job of defining what is or isn't true. The ideal they're shooting for is to be a repository of generally-accepted human knowledge. It's up to the rest of the world to sort out what's generally-accepted, and it's up to Wikipedia to set policies that reflect that consensus (requiring citations backing up articles from other authoritative sources like peer-reviewed medical journals).

So the bottom line is: If you think your bullshit topic is actually newsworthy, don't waste your breath trying to convince Wikipedia that it's newsworthy. Get a major news outlet to carry it, and then cite that, and Wikipedia will believe you. If you think your quack medical idea is valid and needs more marketing and attention: get the medical establishment to publish you first, and then cite that, and Wikipedia will follow.

Wikipedia is not the place to prove new ideas or post original research (or non-original research, or original non-research!) of any kind. It's only a repository of what's already generally-proven and generally-recognized by public consensus elsewhere.

Re:Seems like a fine line (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46573745)

my pressure cooker can change the molecular arrangement of solid water

Re:Seems like a fine line (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46573767)

It seems like the happy medium would be...

...raking in wads of cash from gullible suckers.

Re:Seems like a fine line (1)

pregister (443318) | about 6 months ago | (#46573797)

There really isn't that fine a line between "stuff we have evidence for" and "stuff people believe without evidence".

Sometimes the latter becomes the former. Sometimes elements of the latter just slip away in the history. Lots of times, people just keep on believing.

Re:Seems like a fine line (4, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | about 6 months ago | (#46573799)

It seems like the happy medium would be to just stick these things in the category of "Unproven Quackery" and be done with it.

Wikipedia DOES already have topics like Energy Medicine [wikipedia.org] , from which I excerpt:

Early reviews of the scientific literature on energy healing were equivocal and recommended further research,[9][10] but more recent reviews have concluded that there is no evidence supporting clinical efficacy....

Edzard Ernst, lately Professor of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Exeter, has warned that "healing continues to be promoted despite the absence of biological plausibility or convincing clinical evidence ... that these methods work therapeutically and plenty to demonstrate that they do not."[13] Some claims of those purveying "energy medicine" devices are known to be fraudulent[29] and their marketing practices have drawn law-enforcement action in the U.S.[29]

So it's not like this stuff is taboo on Wikipedia. But the snake-oil salesman don't want wikipedia to say the truth about it. Think what a huge disservice wikipedia would be doing to people who might turn to it for information if wikipedia didn't stick to its guns.

Asimov quote. (5, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 6 months ago | (#46573267)

âoeAnti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'â

â Isaac Asimov

Re:Asimov quote. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573425)

I see that Isaac Asimov had trouble with Unicode too, just like Slashdot.

Re:Asimov quote. (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46573447)

While a true statement about how anti-intellectualism works, good ideas need to be challenged sometimes by bad ideas, to help find their weaknesses and become (or be replaced by) better ideas. This is the true fundamental value of free speech. Not every challenge needs to come from someone who is smarter and better informed than you. Never underestimate the value of being wrong in the right way at the right time and place.

Re:Asimov quote. (2)

microbox (704317) | about 6 months ago | (#46573573)

There is an excellent book [amazon.com] on this very topic. It goes into the history of American crankery, and explains how important it was, but that the situation is different now. Read it. It's funny, and sometimes rather disturbing.

Re:Asimov quote. (2)

symes (835608) | about 6 months ago | (#46573517)

I have a different view. I would argue that there is an increase in the quantity and quality of medical science. This is increasingly pushing old fashioned ideas, anecdotes and so forth, out of discussions. In turn making those that hold on to outdated ideas more obvious. My worry is that those involved with good science, rather than being stoical and professional, forever searching for truth also become hysterical and shouty. I don't think that would help anyone.

Too difficult to confirm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573271)

I'm betting their rebuttal goes no where, because frankly, it's too difficult to scientifically evaluate the methods in a controlled environment.

Even without a placebo effect, there are probably a few instances, statistically speaking, where scientifically, there are things going on that are beneficial to the 'patient'. I'm thinking more accupuncture and accupressure here, rather than energy stones, but when your purveyors likely have no interest in scientific methodology on any level, you're essentially dealing with a brick wall of rational thought.

Re:Too difficult to confirm (1)

microbox (704317) | about 6 months ago | (#46573593)

I'm betting their rebuttal goes no where, because frankly, it's too difficult to scientifically evaluate the methods in a controlled environment.

No more or less difficult than testing any other medicine.

Even without a placebo effect, there are probably a few instances,

The placebo effect is robust. It really does help to give someone a sugar pill and tell them it is a pain killer. It makes sense when you realize that pain is experienced in the brain.

Re:Too difficult to confirm (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 6 months ago | (#46573781)

It really does help to give someone a sugar pill and tell them it is a pain killer.

Haven't some studies also shown that it helps even when you give someone a sugar pill and tell them it's just a sugar pill?

Like a boss. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573273)

If you have a crazy idea about feet rubbing, or magic water, or dream catchers, publish papers from research you do. once you can show your efficacy, and it can be repeated, you win. Until then, eat a big bag of jungly dicks, you dont get equal time. Its like creationism for modern liberals to believe that your favorite yogi can increase your chakra levels with crystals and that you should teach it in schools and have it sourced on equal footing in the encyclopedia of the world. Nope. Research, results, reproduce, or gtfo :)

Don't knock my favorite yogi (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573395)

My favorite yogi taught me that it ain't over until it's over, and that it's deja vu all over again.

Re:Don't knock my favorite yogi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573859)

Ah, that was a powerful yogi. But the most powerful yogi of all said, "hey hey booboo; let's get a pic-a-nic basket and have a pic-a-nic!"

Wikipedia...wrong? No! (3, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 6 months ago | (#46573291)

>> claims that much of the information on Wikipedia relating to (whatever) is "biased, misleading, out of date, or just plain wrong"

Er...no shit? Personally, I subscribe to this view: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... [wikipedia.org]

Work with a purpose (1)

Warma (1220342) | about 6 months ago | (#46573307)

It depresses me, that it is the full-time job (or equivalent) of some people just to continually undo the pseudoscientific hogwash these people vandalize Wikipedia with.

A grain of salt... (2)

MindPrison (864299) | about 6 months ago | (#46573313)

I always take what I find on Wikipedia with a grain of salt.

But mr. Wales attempt to raise the bar is welcome, it's just not very easy to do it. As long as Wikipedia is as open in its nature as it is now, it will always remain something of a rogue place for opinions vs real scientific facts.

Wikipedia has also been accused with moderators treating it like it was their private domain, and the older more established moderators reign superior over the wannabees, so much so - I've given up any attempt to add anything to the site, as it's usually futile, even if peer reviewed and fully documented (no, not talking about oogey boogey science with crystal healing and all that jazz), but down to earth - time proven, document-able peer reviewed facts.

I think the entire Wikipedia needs to be reviewed, cleaned up and get a better moderation system

Re:A grain of salt... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573469)

I've always found a grain of salt daily to do wonders for my health, much better than most of the essential essences and elixirs that I've tried.

Re:A grain of salt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573497)

You should be careful not to get salt poisoning.

Okay (2, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | about 6 months ago | (#46573399)

The placebo effect is well known in medicine.
By using common sense, Jimmy Wales is taking away placebos that were actually effective!
Hence, his actions are detrimental to medicine.

Re:Okay (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 6 months ago | (#46573463)

Not really. Placebo - effect, indeed, is well-known and it does have tangible effect, but these people are claiming their products or methods actually work, not that they have a working placebo - effect. I mean, it would be entirely different thing if these people just wanted their products and/or methods to be listed under things that are known to have a placebo - effect. Besides, almost anything can have such an effect if you just believe it to have an effect -- should we then allow anything and everything to be listed as medicine?

Re:Okay (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#46573845)

...should we then allow anything and everything to be listed as medicine?

Well that would be a good way raise the price by forcing you to need a prescription.

Re:Okay (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 6 months ago | (#46573571)

So by that logic you'd be fine with including articles on these 'alternative' treatments provided they had a big header at the top explaining that the ones that 'work' do so because of the placebo effect?

I could live with that.

Re:Okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573657)

There is no singular "placebo effect". There are a constellation of placebo effects that range from observational errors, researcher degrees of freedom, "belief" in the treatment, improper blinding, etc which together can drive a false positive in a study either intentionally or unintentionally. The very definition of placebo effect is that the treatment only appears effective, but actually isn't. There is no such thing as an effective placebo.

Re:Okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573681)

There's already a page for that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo
They don't need two.

Storm (-1, Redundant)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | about 6 months ago | (#46573423)

You know what they call alternative medicine that's been proved to work?

Medicine.

Tim Minchin - Storm [youtube.com]

It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573511)

Really? So now the Global Warming articles can finally include real science?

Reminds me of a character on a particular website (3, Insightful)

Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki (895364) | about 6 months ago | (#46573521)

On a Swedish now defunct website for political discussion there used to hang out a Crazy radical feminist woman who had a Universal Theory of science.

In her opinion, it was impossible to say what is science and what is not and as such nobody has the power to say that something is scientific and something else isn't. To her, everything is scientific and the people who disagree are proponents of "scientism".

This tied in with the radical feminist angle because she also argued that science as it currently exists has been overtaken by men and now serves only male and masculine purposes such as technology and weapons. She elaborates that male science is destructive because it picks things apart to understand how they work and it creates destructive inventions.

She says that female science, by contrast, does not pick anything apart. Instead it would look at things and examine them as a whole, and come to answers using hermeneutic analysis. (hint: it means you sit around and talk about it for a long time)

Her ultimate point is that she believes it is not right to call something non-scientific simply because it cannot be empirically tested.

She also got into weird and ultimately bizarre postmodernist arguments such as if someone believed a partcular treatment actually helped them, then the treatment was effective. She was strongly pro-homeopathy, crystal healing and whatever.

(she also drove everyone insane by writing in 50 word sentences)

Wikipedia is not a science journal (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573529)

The charlatans are taking the argument to the wrong place, on purpose. Wales comment is spot-on. Get your results published in scientific journals and they will be noted in Wikipedia. Regardless of your opinion about the management of Wikipedia, it is trying to be an encyclopedia, of sorts. As such, it is NOT the place where scientific discourse takes place. That is elsewhere. Once the scientific discourse happens and the scientists come up with some settled science, THEN the encyclopedia will summarize it.

Voodoo (4, Funny)

bradgoodman (964302) | about 6 months ago | (#46573581)

I often practice Voodoo to rid myself of evil spirits. Wikipedia has been very biased against all the scientific research of the efficacy of voodoo for such purposes. (I challenge you to scientifically prove that I have any evil spirits [anymore]).

Wake up Wikipedia!!

So what you're saying is... (4, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | about 6 months ago | (#46573603)

So what you're saying is ... "Citation Needed" ?

"Check your premises." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573609)

Nice to see the Objectivist pornographer quoting lunatic charlatan Ayn Rand.

THIS is what will destroy the human race (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about 6 months ago | (#46573621)

Asteroid strike, nuclear war, conventional war for that matter, rampant disease, runaway GMO's, global warming, etc.. these are not what will destroy the human race. Willful ignorance is what will, along with it's partners, superstition and religion. More and more it seems people are rejecting the last thousand years or so of progress and turning back to these things. The Human race is in danger of falling in a new Dark Age if this keeps up.

Free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46573719)

WHere are the people decrying Wales for "censorship"? I take it he's free to do with his data as he wants? Will that maxim apply for the next guy?

Wales full response (3, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 6 months ago | (#46573761)

"No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful.

Wikipedia's policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals - that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.

What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of "true scientific discourse". It isn't." - Wales

Personally, my father is a professor researching the effectiveness of 'alternative medicine', specifically massage & chiropractic techniques for back pain versus pain killers. His research has shown it's effective for back pain, but it's still called alternative medicine right now. What it won't do is cure cancer. And this petition is for 'energy work', which I find very unlikely to be any more successful than a placebo.

"allow true scientific discourse" (2)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#46573783)

What does this mean in this case?

I suspect it means is that alternative medicine proponents want to strip [citation needed] from statements of fact in AM-related articles and strip contradictory statements and refutations from AM-related articles so they read as more statements of truth than as unproven, questionable or in doubt.

I haven't read any AM articles, but given the wide variety of information in Wikipedia, it would seem unlikely they're just outright removing AM articles. I mean, the point of WP isn't that everything in it is verifiably true, but there is information about things even if the things themselves are false.

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