By Marika Sboros
When I heard that Wikipedia had deleted Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s profile, I was shocked. Not just because I’ve met Kendrick, have read his most well-known, groundbreaking books, written lots about him and have the greatest respect for him.
It’s also not because I take Wikipedia at all seriously. The signs have been there for ages that Wikipedia is not the “free encyclopedia”. It is proving to be more sinister and costly – whether by default or design.
I was shocked because I know how – and why – Wikipedia did something so self-destructive. And how it has damaged its tattered reputation further by deleting someone of Kendrick’s knowledge, experience and standing. (Not surprisingly, Wikipedia ignored my tweeted request for comment.)
Kendrick has written blog on the deletion (republished below). In it, he says his removal from Wikipedia “is nothing” and it “is everything”. That’s “because of what it represents”:
There’s “a war going on out there”, Kendrick says. A war “between scientific enlightenment and the forces of darkness”.
He is not being overly dramatic and he isn’t the only one aware of the war. Many see the excision of Kendrick from Wikipedia as just another salvo in that war.
Wikipedia does itself no favours by abrogating responsibility for the content it publishes or deletes. Instead, it lets armies of unvetted, anonymous, voluntary “guest editors” loose on content and people’s characters and reputations.
These “guests” – I can’t, in all sincerity, call them editors because in my journalistic book, editors should be professional, open and ethical – have deleted Kendrick and other important scientific and medical voices. Their stated reasons for the deletion in Kendrick’s case are bizarre and baseless.
It’s no real surprise, then, that these “guest editors” go for special targets. Nor is it a surprise that they delete, attack or discredit the work of anyone who challenges lucrative orthodox dogma on diet and nutrition. They happily protect dogma that keeps people fat and sick and coming back for more treatment and drugs.
Whether they do so for free or for a fee, who knows, who cares? We should all care.
If you know Kendrick, you’ll know that he’s a stickler for detail and robust scientific evidence. He gives robust evidence from impeccable sources to show that there really is a war going on out there. And that Wikipedia is part of it.
If you know Kendrick, you’ll also know that he doesn’t suffer fools gladly whether they be Twitter trolls or anonymous “guest editors”.
In this case, the anonymous “guest editor” calls himself “Skeptic from Britain”. You’ll notice I say he is male. I do so advisedly as I have a good idea who he is. As does Kendrick, who chooses, for the moment, not to publish Skeptic’s real name.
Skeptic from Britain probably hoped he would be able to remain anonymous. That was always a fond hope because the Internet is an untamed creature. It creates super sleuths overnight. Its World Wide Web easily traps anonymous cowards and reveals them in all their sordid lack of glory. It wasn’t difficult or time-consuming to find Skeptic from Britain or to know that he claims to be a vegetarian. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out he isn’t all that truthful about that either. And that he is, in fact, a prosletysing vegan.
He tried hard and failed miserably to justify censoring Kendrick. All he ended up proving is just how ignorant he is – a veritable babe in the scientific woods when it comes to robust research on diet and nutrition.
Kendrick has issued a public challenge to him:
“You want a debate, come out into the open, reveal yourself, your motives and your arguments to the world. Then we can do science. Until then please expect me to hold you in the contempt that you deserve.”
Amen to that, I’d say. It will be interesting to see if Skeptic does have the courage to reveal himself. Given his antics so far, I doubt it.
Once again, Kendrick produces a riveting, evidence-based read below. He goes straight to the heart of darkness of the war against science and lightens it only with the fine intelligence of his humorous “pen”.
By Malcolm Kendrick
As readers of this blog know I was obliterated from Wikipedia recently. Many have expressed support and told me not to get down about it. To be perfectly frank, the only time I knew I was on Wikipedia was when someone told me I was going to be removed. So it hasn’t caused great psychological trauma.
In fact, my feelings about this are probably best expressed on a Roman tombstone. It has been translated in different ways, but my favourite version is the following:
I was not
I am not
I care not
However, whilst my removal from Wiki is, in one way, completely irrelevant in the greater scheme of things, in another way it is hugely important. As Saladin said of Jerusalem, whilst he was battling with the Christians during the crusades: “Jerusalem is nothing; Jerusalem is everything.”
Signs of war
My removal from Wikipedia is nothing. My removal from Wikipedia is everything. Not because it is me but because of what it represents. Not to beat about the bush, there is a war going on out there between scientific enlightenment, and the forces of darkness.
You think that is too dramatic? Well, this is what Richard Horton – editor of the Lancet for many years – has to say: “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue…science has taken a turn towards darkness.”
Science has taken a turn towards darkness. Of course, science cannot really turn anywhere. It is not an entity. Science is simply made up of people.
The scientific method itself, is simply an attempt to discover what is factually true, by being as objective as possible and removing human bias. It is, like everything humans do, imperfect. Bias is always there.
What Horton means is that the methods used to pursue science have increasingly moved from the pure Olympian ideal, a disinterested quest for truth, to something else. Distortion, manipulation and bias. In some cases downright lies. I hesitate to use the term “fake news” but that is what it is. What it is becoming.
As Dr John Ioannadis had to say in his seminal paper, Why most published research findings are false:
“Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. It is more likely for a research claim to be false than true.’”
I think, in truth, this very much depends on the area of science you are looking at. Some are highly contentious, for example, Global Warming. And here you can see dreadful science being done on all sides, as people desperately try to prove their point.
Moving closer to my area, nutritional science is awful. A complete mess. I have virtually given up reading any paper in this area as they just annoy me so much. Ioannidis has looked at the area in some detail. To quote from The American Council on Science and Health:
Ioannidis bluntly states that nutrition epidemiology is in need of “radical reform”. In a paragraph that perfectly captures the absurdity of the field, he writes:
“…eating 12 hazelnuts daily (1 oz) would prolong life by 12 years (ie,1 year per hazelnut), drinking 3 cups of coffee daily would achieve a similar gain of 12 extra years, and eating a single mandarin orange daily (80 g) would add 5 years of life. Conversely, consuming 1 egg daily would reduce life expectancy by 6 years, and eating 2 slices of bacon (30 g) daily would shorten life by a decade, an effect worse than smoking. Could these results possibly be true?”
The answer to his rhetorical question is obviously no. So, how did this garbage get published?
On the other hand how did a major study on replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat (The Minnesota Coronary Experiment) NOT get published?
Because it found that polyunsaturated fat did lower cholesterol levels, but the more it lowered the cholesterol level, the greater the risk of death. That is in the results; this was the conclusion:
Available evidence from randomized controlled trials shows that replacement of saturated fat in the diet with linoleic acid effectively lowers serum cholesterol but does not support the hypothesis that this translates to a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease or all causes.
Findings from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment add to growing evidence that incomplete publication has contributed to overestimation of the benefits of replacing saturated fat with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid.
The results of this study were, eventually found in the garage of the son of one of the lead investigators. Someone recovered and published it 40 years later. Long after one of the lead investigators, Ancel Keys, had died.
Waking the beast
I wrote the book, Doctoring Data, How To Sort Out Medical Advice From Medical Nonsense, to try and shine some light on the methods used to distort and manipulate data. I try, as best as I can, to follow the scientific method. That includes discussion and debate to test one’s ideas in the furnace of sustained attacks.
However, if you try to do this, the forces of darkness come after you and they come hard. Especially if ever dare to suggest that animal fats, saturated fats, are not in the least harmful. At which point, you waken the vegan beast. And this beast is not the least interested in science or the scientific method or discussion or debate.
It has one aim and that is to silence anyone, anywhere, who dares to question the vegan philosophy. Aided and abetted by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Below is a short list, non-exhaustive list, of those who have suffered their wrath:
Prof Tim Noakes – South Africa
Dr Maryanne Demasi – Australia
Dr Gary Fettke – Australia
Professor John Yudkin – UK
Dr Aseem Malhotra – UK
Dr Uffe Ravnskov – Sweden
Dr Andreas Eenfeldt – Sweden
Dr Zoe Harcombe – UK
Dr Robert Atkins – US
Nina Teicholz – US
Gary Taubes – US
Dr Annika Dahlqvist – Sweden
All of the brave souls on this list have been accused of “killing thousands” at one time or another. Several of these doctors have been dragged in front of the medical authorities, usually by dieticians, who claim that they are damaging patients. So far, they have all won their cases – often after prolonged and expensive legal hearings.
Luckily, the courts recognise logic when they see it.
Uffe Ravnskov has had his book, The Cholesterol Myths, questioning the cholesterol hypothesis burned, live on air. Maryanne Demasi lost her job with the Australian Broadcasting Company.
Now, it seems, the attacks have moved into a different area, such as a determined effort to remove everyone from Wikipedia. When the vegans find someone they don’t like, they work tirelessly to extinguish them from the record.
They call them kooks and quacks but they never ever reveal who they truly are. They exist in the shadows.
They got rid of me from Wikipedia. They are currently attacking Aseem Malhotra, Uffe Ravnskov, Jimmy Moore, and the entire THINCS (The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics) network.
Worse to come …
There are even worse things going on that I cannot speak about yet.
Yes, this is science today. At least it is one part of science – which is not science, and it has definitely turned to the darkness. You can be accused of being a kook and a quack by someone who hides behind anonymity and never dares to show their face.
In truth, I know who it is. Someone found out for me. Yes, MCE, it is you.
(Editor’s note: don’t confuse MCE with Minnesota Coronary Experiment. SFB’s name is more mundane.)
You want a debate, come out into the open, reveal yourself, your motives and your arguments to the world. Then we can do science.
Until then, please expect me to hold you in the contempt that you deserve.
- This article first appeared on Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s blog
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In response to Jimmy Wales’ annual appeal for donations, I have been making contributions to Wikipedia for the past 3 years. Therefore, I was very annoyed to learn that Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s profile was deleted from Wikipedia. They had recently sent me a thank-you note for my donation and some very spectacular landscape photos, so I took that as an opportunity to contact them. I expressed my appreciation for the photos, and my objection to their deletion of Dr. Kendrick’s profile. I requested that they review the decision to censure Dr. Kendrick for his opinions on LCHF, a lifestyle that I happen to support. I encourage other donors of Wikipedia to express their objections too.
This is the reply that I received from Wikipedia: Thank you for your email and your support for free knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation does not control or edit the content of Wikipedia. We are here primarily to provide infrastructure and support the volunteer community.
Wikipedia is open, so anyone who wants to improve Wikipedia can contribute. Volunteer editors collaborate to write high quality articles without bias, and from this collaboration, neutrality arises from their many voices. Today, Wikipedia is maintained by a community of volunteer editors from around the world, more than 80,000 of whom contribute every month. There is no central editorial board on Wikipedia; all edits are made by individual volunteer editors who come from virtually all walks of life, backgrounds, and experiences.
Over the years, the Wikipedia community of volunteer editors have created policies and guidelines to ensure content on the site meets high editorial standards. For content to remain on Wikipedia it must be neutral, verifiable, and attributed to a reputable source. Wikipedia’s policies are overseen and upheld by volunteer editors and administrators– a group of more senior, trusted editors, who are selected by the broader Wikipedia community and granted with certain oversight tools on the site.
There are a number of policies in place to prevent editors from “controlling” certain articles on Wikipedia or skewing information on behalf of special interests.
Also, all information added to Wikipedia must meet verifiability standards, meaning that all content added to Wikipedia is founded upon reliable, independent, secondary sources. Primary sources are generally deemed unacceptable to verify material on Wikipedia (as they would be in any other encyclopedia), as they often constitute original research which is prohibited by policy. On Wikipedia, verifiability is usually addressed through the use of citations in articles so that anyone is able to evaluate where information comes from Wikipedia.
Wikipedia volunteer editors have a variety of tools, policies, and bots at their disposal to enforce these policies and keep Wikipedia a neutral, reliable free knowledge resource for all. All edits made on Wikipedia are consistently reviewed by other editors. Wikipedia administrators are also granted oversight tools on the site to enforce policies and ensure that all content is consistent with Wikipedia policies and guidelines.
If an administrator has reason to believe someone is violating Wikipedia policy, they may issue blocks, delete articles, launch internal investigations, and otherwise work with other editors in a variety of ways to amend the issue. An example of such an internal inquiry is described on our blog here. This volunteer-led investigation led to the suspension of hundreds of Wikipedia accounts linked to undisclosed paid advocacy.
For more information on what keeps Wikipedia accurate, you can visit the Wikimedia blog, to read posts about this issue: this article and this one, for examples.
For further information, please see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia and http://blog.wikimedia.org/2012/08/02/seven-years-after-nature-pilot-study-compares-wikipedia-favorably-to-other-encyclopedias-in-three-languages/
Of course, Wikipedia is never finished. Not all articles are complete, and many still require more contributions. While it will always be a work in progress, Wikipedia’s open model is part of what makes it so great. It is through this open editorial process that Wikipedia is constantly growing and improving.
I hope that answers your question. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch should you require any further information.
Donor Services Manager
Yes that’s exactly what you wrote to me. The whoosh you just heard was our complaints going way over your head, you have a few zealots with an agenda who sit on articles and prevent anyone else from editing them, especially knowledgeable people AND THEY BOAST ABOUT IT
“I am a very experienced Wikipedia editor. I have edited the low-carbohydrate article on Wikipedia recently. There is NO long-term scientific evidence this fad diet has any health benefits.
I have had low-carb cranks BANNED if they come anywhere near this article. Amanda ZZ and her sock-puppets were BANNED.
The skeptics will always run Wikipedia. We have science on our side. If any crank defenders of low-carb turn up, I will revert and get them banned. I will not tolerate quackery. Skeptic from Britain and Jytdog may have left Wikipedia temporarily but there are many any of us pro-science skeptics left.
Roxy The Dog
“I am a long term Wikipedia user. I am very open about my account username. In the past I have debunked loads of anti-science people on Wikipedia including Deepak Chopra. Wikipedia is science friendly.
There is going to be a full attack on LCHF launching soon! Alex Brown has just edited the Aseem Malhotra Wikipedia article. You see CRITICISM in the lead from the British Heart Foundation. That will come up on a Google search.
Google is our friend ??
Us vegans will always win.”
both comments on Malcolm Kendrick’s blog. but you can see the same behaviour on their Wikipedia pages, also EEng
Now tell me again about your “neutrality”
I emailed and asked for my last donation to be returned and to restore the article as well. They returned my money within a couple of days.
I’m an old contributor at Wikipedia, since 2006, I haven’t read (yet) the article (only skimmed it), but I sent it on my Kindle to give it a proper read later during vacations. This comment is a response to the other commentators I’ve read.
From my around-13-years experience, is that protesting the community, mailing the fundraising department or withdrawing donations is NOT going to do any good to solve this situation or at least try to fight back.
The one and only solution to solve this is to register an account on Wikipedia, abide by its multiple rules, write new and/or fix existing articles, and become part of the community. Only in this way, by ACTUALLY taking part to the writing itself of the free encyclopaedia, you might think of solving the problem.
“Hitting them in the wallet” might work with private companies, not with Wikimedia Foundation. That money doesn’t go in volunteers’ pockets – I’ve never received any money for my volunteer work, and believe me, I DID something in these last 13 years. Actually, around 0.75$ for every dollar spent go to finance maintenance or projects all around the world.
As for the topic of the article, I will try to suggest some more practical things once I’ve read the article. Most wikipedians all around the world ARE aware that sometimes there’s a “detachment” between those who only work online (for various reasons) and those who also have the time and/or possibility of engaging “real-life” events/projects. But I want first to read the article and understand what happened, then I’ll provide you with a more thorough answer on this.
Thanks for the comprehension.
SFB is Abd Lomax https://encyclopediadramatica.rs/Abd_Ul-Rahman_Lomax
I have sent you a private email yesterday about all this. Hopefully you can respect my privacy and not continue to talk about this on social media. Thank you.
I have not received an email from you. I tried to email you to this address. It bounced back.
Please, don’t forget Peter Gøtzsche in you list.
I thought I’d comment as a long-time editor on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is in a difficult position. It is built largely by anonymous contributors, and as they are anonymous the project cannot know what their qualifications are. Thus it can’t do what a normal encyclopedia would do and trust in the expertise of the authors. Instead, they use a system where they trust in the expertise of the sources – if someone adds a claim to an article, it needs to have a reliable source backing it up, as it is easier to confirm the expertise of the source than it is to confirm the expertise of the contributor. This has allowed Wikipedia to work for as long as it has.
This creates a problem, though. if there are no sources that Wikipedia can use on a topic, then it isn’t possible to create an article. The issue that Kendrick faced is that there’s not a lot of independent reliably sourced material on him. (There are blogs and similar, but just as anyone can self-published accurate material about him, they can also self-publish libel, so Wikipedia won’t accept such sources in biographies of living people). The deletion discussion is primarily about asking “is there sufficient reliable material about Kendrick such that an article is possible”. The answer, in this case, was no. If this changes, though – and annoyingly, it can change as a result of criticism of Wikipedia’s action – the article can be recreated.
It is a frustrating decision, especially when someone is clearly important but simply hasn’t been covered in the “right way” for Wikipedia. But it isn’t something that can be changed using Wikipedia’s model.
Sad day,apparently Pintrest is doing the same type of thing.
I got my latest donation refunded over this issue and won’t be donating again as long as this nonsense is allowed to happen. Keep up the good fight.
I have now withdrawn my monthly donation to Wikipedia.
I would add Mary Enig to the list. She was way ahead of the curve on trans fats and they tried very hard to shut her down.
Wikipedia is corrupt to the core. Don’t bother with Wales, he doesn’t give a crap. Hit them in the pocketbook. Next time they have a funding drive, actively campaign against them. We should be donating our hard earned money to people who are sharing their knowledge, not the censors at Wikipedia who actively delete quality content on a whim.
I’ve just emailed a protest to the donations dept at Wikipedia (attempting to cc in Jimmy Wales, too); posted a query in the Help section asking for the profile to be restored and an apology offered.
Well done to you, Bob. More people need to get involved. This is insidious.
I got a reply from one of their employees/useful idiots explaining how Wikipedia was *supposed* to work. completely missing the point of my complaint that it didn’t work that way and that a small number of zealots with an agenda were censoring what they didn’t approve of and preventing anyone else from adding information.