Wikipedia Erases Record of Accomplished Catholic Scientist — ‘Censored’ for His Intelligent Design Position

Wikipedia Erases Record of Accomplished [Catholic] Scientist — ‘Censored’ for His Intelligent Design Position

[Don’t question the “orthodoxy” of evolution – or else …; hat-tip to Catholic World News: “A respected Catholic scientist comes out against evolution—and loses his Wikipedia page”]


Last month, Wikipedia removed the entry on German insect paleontologist Günter Bechly, seemingly due to his position on Intelligent Design (ID), the scientific movement considering evidence for design behind nature — a movement opposed to Darwinian evolution. While editors claimed Bechly was not “notable” enough to warrant an entry, others with fewer career accomplishments have long pages on Wikipedia, and Bechly has a distinguished career.

“What Wikipedia did is definitely an act of censorship and an effort to suppress the free flow of ideas and information,” John West, vice president of the Discovery Institute where Bechly works, told PJ Media in an interview Tuesday. He pointed out that Wikipedia has spread misinformation for evolution and undercut the respectability of other ID scientists.

Bechly’s page was deleted on Wikipedia on October 9, after editors raised “notability” concerns on the last day of September. One editor, David Eppstein, characterized Bechly’s views as “fringe,” writing, “His turn to fringe creationist views does not seem to be notable at all.”

West suggested that the combination of Bechly’s views on Intelligent Design and his solid academic credentials make him toxic to those intent on preserving a Darwinian orthodoxy.

“The issue here, I would argue, is precisely that he has such impeccable science credentials, that helps destroy the myth that they want preserved,” the Discovery Institute VP told PJ Media. “Günter Bechly is too dangerous to allow people to find out about.”

When Wikipedia editors discussed deleting Bechly’s page, the scientist posted his own credentials. He provided links to press, TV, and radio segments mentioning his work, exhibitions he designed, and a few articles from the BBC and Scientific American.

“Add to that three described new insect orders, more than 160 described species, and insect family Bechlyidae, a genus and 8 species named after me, 2 edited books and numerous book chapters, 1 book in German about me, and a ResearchGate score that is higher than 85% of ResearchGate members,” Bechly wrote.

Taking an aggressive tone, he concluded, “if this should not be sufficient to meet the arbitrary notability requirement for Wikipedia, please start with deleting the pages about atheist intellectual nobodies like Richard Carrier and Matt Dillahunty, who score much lower.”

Carrier, an atheist pro-evolution author and blogger, enjoys a lavish Wikipedia entry, running to more than 9,000 words. The entry even mentions that he is “polyamorous.” Despite criticizing the sources on Bechly as biased, the Wikipedia editors cited many biased sources in Dillahunty’s similarly long and in-depth article.

One editor in the discussion actually admitted that “determining notability, especially in borderline cases, can definitely be subjective. If it weren’t discussions like this wouldn’t be necessary.” Then again, this should not be a borderline case. Indeed, Bechly is arguably much more notable than Wikipedia editor David Eppstein.

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3 comments on “Wikipedia Erases Record of Accomplished Catholic Scientist — ‘Censored’ for His Intelligent Design Position

  1. Act of Censorship? Wikipedia Page for Scientist Who Supports Intelligent Design Deleted

    By Garrett Haley on November 20, 2017

    Proponents of Intelligent Design are crying foul after the Wikipedia page for a respected scientist who believes that God created the universe with a purpose was recently deleted.

    Günter Bechly is a paleo-entomologist in Germany whose areas of expertise include fossil history and insect origins. A Roman Catholic, Bechly says he grew up in a secular home but concluded later that the evidence for Darwinian evolution is weak and the data pointing to Intelligent Design is strong.

    “Many people think that somebody who comes to doubt the neo-Darminian process and embraces intelligent design probably was religious from the very beginning, probably is an evangelical Christian, and has his axes to grind—his religious axe to grind,” Bechly said in a documentary published recently on YouTube by the Discovery Institute. “I came via a totally different path…I’m coming from a family background which is totally secular, agnostic. [I] was not baptized, didn’t join any kind of religious education, never went to church, so I was completely irreligious.”

    Bechly says he rejects atheism, materialism, naturalism and scientism, and that his work as a scientist led him to believe in the hand of God in creation.

    “My conversion was based on a critical evaluation of empirical data and philosophical arguments, following the evidence wherever it leads,” he wrote on his personal blog. “I am skeptical of the neo-Darwinian theory of macro-evolution and support Intelligent Design theory for purely scientific reasons.”

    After first expressing his support for Intelligent Design in 2015, Bechly has repeatedly criticized Darwinian evolution and pointed out scientific evidence for a designer. When, as previously reported, a prominent biologist admitted the shortcomings of evolutionary theory at a recent meeting of the Royal Society in London, Bechly, who was in attendance at the event, took to Facebook to critique the “explanatory deficits” of evolution.

    “After this conference I am more assured than ever that evolutionary biology is an emperor without clothes, and Intelligent Design is the best explanation of biological complexity and diversity,” he stated.

    Although Bechly has written dozens of scientific papers and graduated summa cum laude with a Ph.D. in geosciences from the University of Tübingen in Germany, his Wikipedia page was recently deleted after several Wikipedia users agreed that his “notability” was insufficient.

    “[Bechly] lacks a strong enough citation level to pass academic notability guideline, nothing else to suggest notability,” wrote Wikipedia user John Pack Lambert in an online discussion board before the page was deleted.

    “His turn to fringe creationist views does not seem to be notable at all, and cannot be covered without mainstream sources giving it an adequately neutral point of view,” another proposed.

    David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute, where Bechly serves as a senior fellow, believes the deletion of Bechly’s Wikipedia page is an instance of censorship against ID.

    “This is a big deal, and a reminder of a key dynamic in the debate about ID,” wrote Klinghoffer in a recent blog post. Pointing out that Bechly lost his job as a museum curator after revealing his support for the theory of Intelligent Design, Klinghoffer says the Wikipedia page deletion is “another act of censorship” against his colleague.

    “We have documented a range of instances of censorship and intimidation,” Klinghoffer added. “Rarely, though, do the censors reveal themselves as clearly as in the case of Wikipedia versus Bechly.”

    “Clearly, the editors trying to erase Dr. Bechly’s record do not have some sort of knockdown, objective algorithmic case against him,” he continued. “It’s a mad world, a funhouse world, where the notability of a paleontologist of Günter Bechly’s stature is uncontested one day but, following his admission of finding ID persuasive, suddenly and furiously contested.”

  2. Wikipedia does, however, have listings for Erich von Däniken (ancient space aliens made humans) Hanns Hörbiger (world ice theory), Wilhlem Reich (cloudbuster theory/device ), Thomas Henry Huxley (humans are basically monkeys so there’s probably no God and free love is permissible), and Claude Vorilhon (the Raël UFO sex cult).

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