Shuichi Tezuka on “Cognitive Distortions” in Wikipedia

Charles Murray recommends a long article in Quillette by Shuichi Tezuka], “Cognitive Distortions”, noting “I had no idea that Wikipedia was this bad.”

The article begins:

The study of human intelligence falls within a broader field known as psychometry, which refers to the measurement of psychological traits. Intelligence research is among the most replicable bodies of research in the social sciences: while many areas of psychology have been affected by the replication crisis during the 2010s (including some other branches of psychometry), a 2019 paper states that within intelligence research, “there is no replication crisis about key empirical findings.” Human intelligence is also among the most socially important areas of psychology, as Quillette described in a 2018 article, because of the large impact that a person’s intelligence may have on his or her life.

Before 2020, Wikipedia’s articles related to psychometry and human intelligence were mostly consistent with this field’s published literature, although many of these articles were somewhat outdated because there have never been many Wikipedia users with the necessary knowledge and interest to keep them updated. Under normal circumstances, Wikipedia articles increase in quality over time as more people contribute to them. However, for reasons that will be explained, the recent trend in articles related to human intelligence has been for Wikipedia’s coverage to become steadily more divorced from its source material. (In this article, when I refer to Wikipedia, I am referring specifically to the English-language version of the site.)

Over the past two years, there has been a collective decision by several members of Wikipedia that “scientific racism […] has infiltrated psychometry” and that the field must no longer be trusted.

Numerous examples are given where references to peer-reviwed research have been removed and replaced by citations of popular articles, entire topics deleted, and how the ideological agenda has spread into other subjects outside the narrow scope of psychometry.

The author concludes:

The original purpose of Wikipedia was to reflect the current understanding of the topics that it covers, not to exert an influence over fields to enact social change. The fact that it performed the first function so well for most of its existence, and came to be regarded as a trustworthy source, is what has made it such an effective tool for those who wish to use it for the latter purpose. While Wikipedia may ultimately prove successful at undermining research about topics related to human intelligence, it also may undermine its own reputation in the process. Formerly trusted institutions have begun to lose society’s trust as these institutions have surrendered to “woke” ideologies, as Quillette has previously described in the case of the New York Times, and Wikipedia will not necessarily be immune to this effect.

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That is a little disappointing … about the normally excellent Charles Murray.

It has long (years!) been recognized that Wikipedia had gone the same way as once-trusted institutions like the BBC and the NYT. The Far Left has the “King Midas in Reverse” touch – everything they take over degrades. It is surprising that Murray is only now catching up.

Wikipedia is still useful for confirming our fallible memories on factual matters, such as the date of the Battle of Agincourt. But it has been a long time since it was automatically reliable on anything more complex. Reader Beware!

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Yup, but not “may”. Happened long ago.

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There’s been a lot of activity on Wikipedia, redefining terms like Inflation and Recession with numerous edits over the past few weeks.

This thread explains the social dynamics with some interesting examples: https://twitter.com/Arthur__Burton/status/1518866188507439106

And here’s a Wikipedia editor commenting on how to identify changes but noting that nothing is alarming: https://twitter.com/molly0xFFF/status/1552841045729316864

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