Wikipediaism

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by gonzo, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    My first true science education was reading Descartes' "Discourse on Method". Rule #1 is to "never accept something as true because someone in authority says so".
     
  2. Leo Lazauskas
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    Leo Lazauskas Senior Member

    On of the best references I gave my son is:
    Logic & Fallacies
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.html

    Ad Hoc gets a mention at #2. Well done, that man! :p
     
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  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Great link
     
  4. cthippo
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    cthippo Senior Member

    I disagree.

    I read a recent article about a research paper written by a group of 10 year olds being accepted into a peer reviewed journal. While the language used was not what you would expect, the methodology was valid and they were looking at a topic (something to do with perception of color by honeybees) that no one had ever bothered to study before.

    Every field has a nearly infinite number of questions that no one has yet looked into. Some fields have greater barriers to entry than others (required equipment, etc.), but especially in the biological and social sciences there is an incredible amount of opportunity for amateur researchers to perform good science.
     
  5. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    "There are three sides to every story (or perception), your's, mine and the truth."

    "There is plenty to learn when you start." -Now there's an understatement!

    "Study history? Sure, but who has the time!"

    I think one of the most interesting parts of any forum is the reveal of human nature and the high level of inadvertent miscommunication.

    -Tom

    "I'm off to see the Wizard."
     
  6. kroberts
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    kroberts Senior Member

    I have and will continue to post wikipedia links to answer questions. That doesn't mean I blindly accept what's on there or that I expect them to. It just means that the article seems to answer their question.

    There are two kinds of people in the world:
    1. The ones who agree with me.
    2. The ones who are wrong.
     
  7. cthippo
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    cthippo Senior Member

    The greatest test of a man's intelligence is the extent to which he agrees with you.
     
  8. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Are you sure I am a man....did Wiki tell you this???
    Or is it based upon well researched logic, reasoning and deduction based upon known and existing theorems... :p:p
     
  9. cthippo
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    cthippo Senior Member

    It's based on the fact that you're here, in a place where there are (almost) no women, ergo it's a pretty safe bet you're a man :p
     
  10. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    What do you mean people can change it? Do you mean cut and paste then mess with it?

    If I was quoting anything I would just give the link for this reason. They can read for themselves and see the source.
     
  11. kroberts
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    kroberts Senior Member

    He means that you can just go in and edit articles without any security.

    Anyone can write anything on wikipedia. You can make an article about your cat if you want to, or you can go change what somebody else's article says.
     
  12. Dave Gudeman
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    Dave Gudeman Senior Member

    Unfortunately, if you follow that rule you will never know much of anything because 90% of what you know you know because someone in authority told you. You want to know what a word means? You can either accept the authority of the dictionary or spend years doing your own research on usage of one word. You want to know what octane level of gas to use in an engine? You can either take the authority of the user's manual or buy several engines and do your own experiments to see which version of gas gives best performance/price.

    Of course you should always be willing to consider that an authority might be wrong if you get counter evidence (which probably comes from another authority), but then that holds true of anything you think you know regardless of why you think you know it.

    As to Wikipedia: the articles that I've read on subjects that I already know about have always been pretty good. They tend to be quite thorough in covering all the bases. I would guess this is because multiple people contribute so the prejudices of a single person don't dominate.

    As long as the subject isn't controversial, Wikipedia is a pretty good way to get some general knowledge. Of course it is foolish to trust it on controversial topics, especially if the topic involves religion or politics.
     
  13. Leo Lazauskas
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    Leo Lazauskas Senior Member

    Maybe Gonzo should upgrade to Rule #1.1:
    "never accept something as true until Wikileaks confirms it".
     
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  14. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    There are two kinds of people in the world:
    1. The ones who divide people into two groups.
    2. The ones who don't.
    :p:p:p

    Personally, I use Wikipedia all the time as a quick reference. I don't necessarily take it as the final word, especially if the subject is important (like drug side effects) or controversial, but it's a good place to start.

    As a matter of fact, I was using Wikipedia earlier this evening -- to doublecheck the number and names of Wyatt Earp's brothers, and what happened to them.

    In my opinion, the fact that anyone can edit an article makes it more likely to be correct, not less; the BS gets weeded out in the long run.
     

  15. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Dave: Descartes does not say to deny everything people in authority, including in this case Wikipedia, but to not automatically accept it as the truth.
     
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