Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales Calls Bullsh*t on Alt-Medicine PetitionersBy: Josh Wolford - March 26, 2014
If you look up “Emotional Freedom Techniques” on Wikipedia, you’ll see that it is “is generally characterized as pseudoscience and has not garnered significant support in clinical psychology.”
If you look up “Thought Field Therapy on Wikipedia, you’ll find that “there is no scientific evidence that [it] is effective, and the American Psychological Association has stated that it ‘lacks a scientific basis.'”
One alternative medicine group is upset with Wikipedia and its founder Jimmy Wales over what they call “inhibition to open discussion,” and has petitioned the online, crowd-sourced encyclopedia to change its policies. The only thing is that Jimmy Wales has absolutely no time for “lunatic charlatans.”
The petition from the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, on the popular change.org, asks Jimmy Wales to “create and enforce new policies that allow for true scientific discourse about holistic approaches to healing.”
“Wikipedia is widely used and trusted. Unfortunately, much of the information related to holistic approaches to healing is biased, misleading, out-of-date, or just plain wrong. For five years, repeated efforts to correct this misinformation have been blocked and the Wikipedia organization has not addressed these issues,” says the petition.
The group outlines a handful of examples of practices which are current receiving the wrong end of the Wikipedia stick–things like Energy Medicine, Energy Psychology, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Thought Field Therapy, and Tapas Acupressure Technique.
Here’s the beef:
Energy Psychology, Energy Medicine, acupuncture, and other forms of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM), are currently skewed to a negative, unscientific view of these approaches despite numerous rigorous studies in recent years demonstrating their effectiveness. These pages are controlled by a few self-appointed “skeptics” who serve as de facto censors for Wikipedia. They clothe their objections in the language of the narrowest possible understanding of science in order to inhibit open discussion of innovation in health care. As gatekeepers for the status quo, they refuse discourse with leading edge research scientists and clinicians or, for that matter, anyone with a different point of view. Fair-minded referees should be given the responsibility of monitoring these important areas.
Jimmy Wales, never shy to speak his mind, has responded in truly incredible fashion. In essence, his response is put up or shut up.
“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,” said Wales in a response to the petition.
“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.”
Well, there you go. Science or GTFO, says Jimmy Wales.
As of now, the petition has yet to reach its 10,000 signature goal. It’s about 3/4 the way there.
Image via Wikimedia Commons