“Rationalist” Popery of Perversity:
How to Classify a Field's Most Scientifically Reliable Journal as “Unreliable”.
How to Pretend World Class Scholars Aren't Scholarly.
How to Bar Citing the Humor of Science's Only Jokewriter.
How Avoid ANY Mention of the Discovery of Neptune in WPbio of Neptune Controversy's Prime Investigator.
How to religiously censor almost all references to a top academic journal — from its own publisher's WP biography.
Whether the case of the repeated strangely-supervised hounding and trashing of the Dennis Rawlins (DR) Wikipedia biography (WPbio) is comparable in vileness to the prior John Seigenthaler WPaffair must be judged by others. But the DR case's ugly side has certainly been more persistent, as the evidence in (and link-attachments to) this document will show.
harassment in this case is more significant in that DR&co have been
the subject of organized (is there any other kind?)
as acknowledged even by DIO-opposition
Journal for the History of Astronomy
(see, e.g., Sky&Telescope 2002 Feb p.40 or
JHA 21:364f ).
Shunning is a practice that cannot be efficacious
without coherent intimidation and smear.
[Unless one believes in ESP. (Irony: the vandals in this case have been rightly opposing belief in the ESP nonsense for years.)
So, anyone who supposes that the incidents detailed below are just random is beyond naïve.
The clash between DIO's enragingly high scholarship and its stuffed-shirt enemies is based upon one immovable element (which has enlighteningly little to do with the goals which academe is supposed to be about): once an institutional archon has decreed a heretic's banishment, said excommunication has to stick — or the exiling clique is left looking intolerably impotent. (In the lexicon of other organized crime: DR has “Disrespected” Hoskin-Gingerich, so the ENTIRE FIELD's scholars must be terrorized into noncommunication-shunnery for DECADES — all to shore-up-bailout archons' swelled-head bubble? And archons with such priorities & sense of proportion call other people crazy?]
DR has written several HTML pages (of differing emphases)
covering details of the WPbio-hounding.
These are not in final form for publication
(and he hopes such will not be necessary),
but they are here linked-to anyhow, since (despite too much overlap)
they provide much of the raw history of the disgrace
(as well as numerous links to the actual Wikipedia edits discussed).
These DIO pages are:
DR publishes out of Baltimore the top US journal of astronomical history, DIO: the International Journal of Scientific History. DIO is easily the most technically competent history of astronomy journal in the world. It has a pristine record of scientific accuracy throughout its 1/4 century of publication. Its boards include international leaders from a spectrum of fields, e.g., E.M.Standish (CalTech), senior author of the orbits that have guided a 1/4 century of NASA spacecraft; Christopher Walker (British Museum); the leading translator and curator of Babylonian astronomical cuneiform texts; internationally prominent polar scholar Rob't Headland (University of Cambridge). (Longtime boardmember: the recently-deceased legendary discoverer of Chiron, Charles Kowal, Palomar→Space Tel Inst→Johns Hopkins APL.) Contrary to the pump-primed lie that DIO publishes just DR: the majority of these excellent scholars have published in DIO, among other major-leaguers, e.g., David Dicks (U.London; author of Early Greek Astronomy to Aristotle [Cornell Univ; partly accomplished at the Princeton Institute]); Curtis Wilson (General History of Astronomy); Hugh Thurston (Early Astronomy, Springer).
DIO has been publishing the most eminent scholars for two decades (as revealed by a moment's consultation of the journal's website-posted index) and is taken by subscription at major academic libraries the world over (partial list: see any DIO back cover, or DR WP Talk 2008/9/10 or Sagan talk the previous Summer).
Despite this reality, a clique of Wikipedia vandals — assisted by Wikipedia Administraitor “Vsmith”— have been promoting the evidence-defying lie that DIO is an insignificant, “disreputable”, unReliable journal whose articles are all or almost all written by the publisher. The cause of this systematic and distractive (i.e., irrelevant to the central issue of accuracy) slander is simple and revealing: for decades, cults smarting from DR's exposés tried to attack him on facts and science — and got less than nowhere by that route. (See, e.g. DIO 12 .) So, as DIO-admirer Brad Washburn (longtime head of the Boston Science Museum) warned DIO: when gangs are losing on the evidence, they just throw mud.
DR's own academic researches have largely involved scientific and historical
discoveries, which have been independently vindicated
dozens of times.
But he is more generally known to the public
for having successfully exposed
in scholarly detail more historical science fakes than anyone.
This has made him few friends among academe's politicians but a slew of
powerful academic-pol enemies who are obviously surrounded and
catered-to by cultist sycophants of like devotion to principle.
[In a conflict between a tight, elite enterprise and a large group of mediocrities, the latter has an inherent advantage in unregulated WP-space both from numbers and from willingness to dedicate serious time to the crud-wrestling of fierce WikiWars.]
Thanks to the limitations of the “mainstream” media, it is less well known that DR has also exposed occasional instances of misbehavior by contemporary academic institutions. Those who have repeatedly slashed at the DR WP bio are evidently determined to keep it that way, since their cementors fear that Wikipedia may be [we shall see] not so easily intimidated as Mainstreamers.
Given the political centrality of some of the forums who loathe DIO (mainly the ever-fumbling Journal for the History of Astronomy and its sycups), the DR WPbio presents a clear test of whether Wikipedia is loyal to scientific competence & blunt truth-telling or to pseudo-Authority.
The immediate question for Wiki-arbitration is: should DR's exposés be suppressed on Wikipedia? (Smarting cults' fear of these is the entire cause of the DR WPbio's harassment.) Should an encyclopedia-of-the-people effectively connive in a vicious campaign (as will be evident) to prevent general awareness of the occasional shortcomings of certain popular and establishment forums? If, e.g., Scientific American doctors a contributor's letter and then doctors its own article's web-reprint bibliography to prevent readers from going to the source (DIO) that exposes such action, should Wikipedia readers (who might someday wish to write a letter to ScAm) be prevented from reading both sides of the matter? — due to an Administraitor's doctoring of the bio.
In spite of a superficially overdone preface (simply reflecting
how genuinely and defiantly appalled DR is at the behavior described),
DIO asks that arbitrators read to the end
general account of popular mainstream science journals'
behavior (when cornered) —
and see whether the account's content does not in fact
establish the truth of the preface's seemingly incredible protest —
a protest whose feistiness just signals DR's unbending contempt for
unscrupulous politicians whose decades of efforts at silencing
him continue to backfire.
[Should WP join the silencers? Or should DIO be encouraged or at least not prevented from protesting institutional coverups, since so few other forums are either free or willing to do so?]
(WP adjudicators might take the time to sample from DIO's menu of DR's writings, to get a fair idea of his pluses & minuses.) At the least: should not the factual content — as against the interpretational content — of a protestor against academic misbehavior be available to WP readers? And should those who resent it not be encouraged to answer the charges rather than stretching into even more decades their record of trying to suppress or run away from them?
The tactics used against the DR WPbio have included:
revenge, and (by far
the worst) threats,
vandalismscensorial attacks against DR's
and others' associates
— trashing them in response to dissent
in order to stifle it by holding their work (and his) hostage
to assure silence about causes or heroes of
the censors one of whom is already an Administraitor and another
who is plainly looking to become one by
Though the aim is information-murder not human-murder, such patterns are
nonetheless similarly chilling to freedom, in their
the notorious methods used by Sherman to make Georgia “howl”
for the Treason of secession from the US empire,
and by Himmler & Heydrich in Czechoslovakia to quell the Treason of
resistance to the privilege of inclusion in the German empire.
[If Confederate snipers shot Union troops who were invading their home town, Sherman ordered reprisal hangings of prisoners. (Southern slave-holders doubtless used similar methods to prevent their “property” from escaping north.) When in 1865, Booth shot the person most immediately responsible for the bloody War Between the States, the whole South was punished for years after. If Czech resistance killed a German officer, dozens of Czechs were executed. When Heydrich himself was killed in 1942, the entire village of Lidice was destroyed in retaliation — inspiring ex-pat Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's heartfelt Memorial to Lidice.]
By contrast one can see that the Baltimore edits to dozens of Wikipedia articles were tolerant, scholarly, and encouraged all sides to be heard. (These edits are accused [contra WP's rules] of being sockpuppetish, autobio, etc since they are openly out of Baltimore, where DR & circle reside.) It is appalling to find that a Wikipedia Administraitor has consistently sided against such priorities when it comes to the DR WPbio. To distractively (and then-WP-illegally) focus on edits' authorship instead of their expertness, accuracy, and fairness is disgracefully parallel to focusing on a journal's official Reliability instead of its actual reliability.
This is facilitated by WP's definition of “Reliability”
which appears effectively to define it as: establishment-periodical,
e.g., big circulation newspapers & shiny magazines.
(Does WP seriously believe that newspapers, etc,
are more reliable than expert-run academic journals?!!!)
So why not just replace the term Reliable with Establishment?
[Parallel to WPeditors' over-tendency to eliminate material by claiming non“RS” (Reliable Source) is doing so by claiming “COI” (conflict-of-interest) — as if anyone caring to place material on WP doesn't have an interest. (A point many others have raised.) COI and nonRS have the commonality of: LAZY CENSORSHIP.
Why find out whether a contribution is accurate when an editor or administrator (himself with a COI?) can eliminate it without investigating anything? — just by arguing from degree of authority (nonRS) or from a (perhaps paranoiac) presumption of bias (COI) regardless of the contribution's accuracy or evidence of actual bias in the contribution itself.]
It is almost humorous that, despite a succession of Wikipedia critics' attacks on the Baltimore edits to the bio, including defamatory claims that DIO is unReliable, “disreputable” (Sagan Talk 2008 July), etc, the naggers have been frustrated by their total inability to back their libels by revealing math errors or bad science in the journal. (Meanwhile, these very same Reliability-Adjudicators are not in the slightest perturbed by their fellow vandals' errors or about competing [to-them-Reliable] science-history journals' inexhaustible gushers of goofs and worse — many of them first revealed and even conveniently catalogued-by-the-dozen on several occasions by DIO.)
What can it do for Wikipedia's reputation, to have cascades of charges of unReliability allegedly justifying massive and everwatch-persistent censorship of and even vandalization of a bio — without the requirement of a single demonstration of actual (B-edit) unreliability? (One can be sure that if any such example had been spotted, it would have been posted immediately.)
If so many cultist deceivers are so anxious to kill or castrate the DR WP bio, that could be seen as a perverse measure of its usefulness towards academic and public enlightenment.
DR does not pretend to believe that his lifetime resistance to tyranny is likely to be successful. But he does believe in resisting because if no one does so, moguls will be effortlessly allowed to pretend to non-tyranny. So an independent, open, critical, maddeningly accurate and competent journal — which forces anti-progressive censorial cliques to bare their fangs and their unprincipledness — has public-educational value regardless of success.