Reprinted from http://homeopathyplus.com.au/
After a pharmacy recommended a potentised remedy for his sore throat, Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, vented his thoughts on homeopathy – and his desire to stop it – in a Quora post.
In a surprisingly ill-informed and slanderous manner, Jimmy said:
“..homeopathy is a proven fraud.”
“…makes me ill.”
“Homeopathic remedies of no value whatsoever are legally marketed…”
“Who should I talk to about this in order to encourage the creation of a campaign to stop this? This is not my primary area of interest and so I am not the right person to lead it myself. But I would like to help.”
“It’s a scandal in the modern world”
“We know with full rational certainty that they do not work at all. They are nothing more than placebo sold fraudulently.”
“…the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies, relative to placebos, is 0%. Not effective at all. A useless fraud.”
“This is nothing more than fraud.”
“There have been no properly conducted large scale studies which suggest in the least that homeopathic remedies are any different from sugar water.”
“This is false.”
“Homeopathy does not work at all. It has been shown in an extremely thorough way to be no better than a placebo.”
When someone speaks their mind, there’s a risk that any ignorance or prejudice will shine through. That’s exactly what happened to Jimmy.
When I first reported his comments from the Quora post back on the 6th of February, 2013, they were quickly removed. Fortunately, I had the foresight to save them before that happened. You can still read them in our screen capture below, under More Information.
Wikipedia is a valuable source of information for many, but to retain its integrity it has to be impartial – and this certainly has not been the case with homeopathy.
Since Jimmy spoke his mind all those months ago, Wikipedia’s misleading and inaccurate information on homeopathy has only worsened.
Those who are knowledgeable and qualified to write about homeopathy have repeatedly tried to correct it, but all attempts have been thwarted by anti-homeopathy “squatters” who sit on the page to control its information.
Could Jimmy’s prejudice be responsible?
When Jimmy Wales gave a TED talk in 2009, he said:
“So the biggest and the most important thing is our neutral point-of-view policy. This is something that I set down from the very beginning, as a core principle of the community that’s completely not debatable. It’s a social concept of cooperation, so we don’t talk a lot about truth and objectivity. The reason for this is if we say we’re only going to write the “truth” about some topic, that doesn’t do us a damn bit of good of figuring out what to write, because I don’t agree with you about what’s the truth. But we have this jargon term of neutrality, which has its own long history within the community, which basically says, any time there’s a controversial issue, Wikipedia itself should not take a stand on the issue. We should merely report on what reputable parties have said about it. So this neutrality policy is really important for us, because it empowers a community that is very diverse to come together and actually get some work done.”
What a shame Wikipedians, and Jimmy himself, have not honoured these noble intentions. Instead of neutrality, Wikipedia has been allowed to take an ugly stand on homeopathy that misleads many.
Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, left the organization several years ago due to concerns about its integrity. He said:
“In some fields and some topics, there are groups who “squat” on articles and insist on making them reflect their own specific biases. There is no credible mechanism to approve versions of articles…The people with the most influence in the community are the ones who have the most time on their hands—not necessarily the most knowledgable—and who manipulate Wikipedia’s eminently gameable system.” (1)
When this happens, as it has with homeopathy, we are all the poorer for it.
An old proverb says, “The fish rots from the head down.” Is this what we have seen with Wikipedia? Homeopathy, and those who look to Wikipedia for their information, deserve much better.
More Information and References
Jimmy’s current but redacted Quora post can be read at: Homeopathy – Oscillococcinum in particular
The original version, with all of Jimmy’s comments intact, is available on a screen capture at this link
As we are all painfully aware, Wikipedia is not a neutral purveyor of information. Wikipedia’s standard regarding presentation of information is ‘consensus’. Whatever consensus opinion is on any subject is what is allowed to stand on its pages. Since the consensus opinion on Homeopathy is the one stated by Mr. Wales above, that is what is allowed on wikipedia.
Here’s the link to the Wikipedia page on Wikipedia Consensus:
I love the ’eminently gameable’ part of Larry Sanger’s quote above.
Great post, thank you.
My children told me ten years ago allready that WIKI-pedia is useless as a source of knowledge.
This was when they went to college.
On Dutch university’s students are not allowed to use WIKI pedia as a source.
So just spread the news and don’t worry, much love Pietje
it is meaningless to blame entire homeopathy by Wikipedia co-founder. there are many possibilities about his case, medicine taken by him either not prescribed appropriately with regard to potency, or it might not be the correct medicine for his problem. he might not have been advised properly about other supportive steps need to be taken when medicine is administered. heavy alcohol consumption, smoking, type of food, lifestyle and many other aspects also interfere with homeopathy action. in-addition, just one incidence or by taking treatment for one particular problem alone he cannot conclude and blame homeopathy.
also homeopathy never claimed it will cure 100% , failure sometimes bound to happen. does allopathy cure any disease without side effects? no failure from allopathy? many many deaths are taking place due to wrong administration of medicines, due to dangerous drug reactions, mis-handling of cases, many havocs are happening, why wikipedia not blaming or ridicule allopathy system.
one should understand in every system failure is there, all systems are needed. only it may be ‘ one man’s food is other man’s poison’, what suits one may not have worked for various reasons as said above.
so it is biased opinion of wikipedia co-founder.
i totally reject his opinion about homeopathy system, it is god given gift to mankind, it is need of the hour, because it is effective, no side effects, economical, benign in action, and above all certainly it do not take away patient life.
Dr. Sheffield: Your link to Jimmy Wales’ original post on Quora is broken. Can you fix it?
The Alternative is to switch to a better Wiki Encyclopedia for CAM: Wiki 4 CAM
Homeopathy has cured so many problems in my family over the years, such as warts, an abscessed tooth, depression, food poisoning, anxiety, injured fingertips, and even the excruciating pains from a chronic leg cramp. Meanwhile, the allopathic (synthetic drug and surgery approach) is the fourth leading cause of DEATH in the US. — and that’s from taking Rx drugs AS PRESCRIBED. It’s a brutal, sometimes even horrifying, approach focused on making the most profits possible. It has nothing to do whatsoever with real health. Wikipedia is sorely lacking in integrity, thanks to Jimmy.