Originally published by Robert Beisert at fortcollinsprogram.robert-beisert.com

Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Wikipedia: Defending a Liar

Just a quick post, here. I want to signal-boost this story as much as possible, because it reflects such a powerful and influential figure.

As I only just became aware, through writer Vox Day, Tyson has a history of fabricating quotes and manipulating audiences with poor math.

Equally significantly, this history has apparently been knowingly scrubbed from Wikipedia in yet another targeted campaign.

Why does it matter? Because Tyson is a very political figure, and Wikipedia has a history of strong biases. For interesting comparison, look at the Wikipedia article on #GamerGate, then check out articles like these for the rebuttal, and GG’s response.

For similar interesting comparison, look at the page on Lena Dunham, and look for the controversy over her admission to sexually assaulting her younger sister for years.

Full disclosure: as a Theist engineer, I’ve always been philosophically opposed to Tyson, but I held my tongue because he supported NASA so strongly. In the same way, as a gamer with interest in “Men’s Issues” (contrasted with to “women’s issues”), I have strong feelings about both #GamerGate and Feminist ideologues.

  • I’m aware Wiki has biases, but I think most know that. There are a number of reasons teachers won’t allow students to cite it in footnotes as a source. It’s fine if you want to look up someone’s movie credits, or a list of works by writers, but it isn’t a reliable or comprehensive academic reference, and it contains enough outright mistakes to have earned the nickname “Wrongopedia”.