(NaturalNews) A lawsuit filed against the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) near San Diego, California, was recently dismissed after a judge ruled that the plaintiffs in the case had used a phony source of information for their argument: Wikipedia. In what appears to be a growing trend, an increasing number of people are now realizing that just because Wikipedia is popular and mainstream does not necessarily mean that it is accurate or reliable, especially as the answer to the question of who actually controls Wikipedia is still up for debate.
According to the Los Angeles Times (LAT), Judge John Meyer of the San Diego County Superior Court decided that parents opposed to having their elementary-age children taught yoga at their local taxpayer-funded public school received their information about the practice from "inaccurate sources." Wikipedia, he indicated, is not a valid source of information as required in a case presented before a court of law.
Concerned parents apparently cited information from Wikipedia about the connection between Yoga and the Hindu religion, claiming that their children were being indoctrinated into a specific religious practice at a public school, which is not permitted. Even though many Yoga and Hindu websites openly admit that Yoga is an integral component of the Hindu religion, using Wikipedia as evidence of this is sketchy at best, at least in the eyes of Judge Meyer.
"It's almost like a trial by Wikipedia, which isn't what this court does," stated Judge Meyer, as quoted by LAT.
Judge Meyer's reasoning for this, at least in this particular case, stems from the fact that EUSD designed its yoga program to be more secular, removing all references to Hinduism and its liturgical language, Sanskrit. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune (SDUT), the program, which is funded by a $533,000 grant from the K.P. Jois Foundation, does not violate the U.S. Constitution.
Wikipedia, a completely unreliable source for finding the truth
But the case could really be about anything and still highlight a fundamental reality: Wikipedia is not the be-all, end-all source of fact and truth in the world. Regardless of its level of accuracy on the issue of yoga, the open-source website is still made up of user-composed information that is ultimately screened and censored by an army of unidentified "editors" who decide whether or not it is "accurate."
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), for example, was exposed by BBC News back in 2007 for tampering with content posted on the site. A tool known as "Wikipedia Scanner," which was hailed as being capable of identifying some of Wikipedia's user editors, revealed the CIA as an active manipulator of sensitive information. The U.S. military has also been caught editing tens of thousands of Wikipedia entries to suit its own interests.
"The sad truth about the Internet is that what started as a liberating multiplicity of informational sources has dwindled to a handful of knowledge-monopolies with Google and Wikipedia leading the pack," writes Micah White for Adbusters.org in an unrelated piece. "Wikipedia is a particularly unreliable source of knowledge and yet, because of a rumored secret-deal with Google, it ranks highly on many searches."
Though much less frequently used these days by younger generations, public libraries are still an excellent source of hard-copy information that has not been tampered with by the federal government or other rogue conglomerations of power -- that is, unless physical pages in books have been removed or modified. There are also still many reliable sources of information online, but it is critical to use common sense intuition and fact check when evaluating any information gathered from the internet.