(NaturalNews) A new online petition has been launched with the goal of forcing the free Internet encyclopedia site Wikipedia to end what critics say is the research site's bias against holistic and alternative medicine.
Wikipedia is widely used and trusted. Unfortunately, much of the information related to holistic approaches to healing is biased, misleading, out-of-date, or just plain wrong. For five years, repeated efforts to correct this misinformation have been blocked and the Wikipedia organization has not addressed these issues. As a result, people who are interested in the benefits of Energy Medicine, Energy Psychology, and specific approaches such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques, Thought Field Therapy and the Tapas Acupressure Technique, turn to your pages, trust what they read, and do not pursue getting help from these approaches which research has, in fact, proven to be of great benefit to many. This has serious implications, as people continue to suffer with physical and emotional problems that might well be alleviated by these approaches.
The petition notes that Larry Sanger, who co-founded the research website, left over concerns about the integrity of information regarding alternative and holistic medicine practices.
Petition targets donors
"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," Sanger said.
Which is why a number of colleges and academic institutions, as well as news sites and other information sources, refuse to use Wikipedia, too many biases and inaccuracies.
In addition to problems with information presented on holistic and alternative medicines, the petition notes that there are similar concerns with Wikipedia pages for energy psychology, energy medicine, acupuncture and additional forms of complimentary/alternative medicine, or CAM, "which are currently skewed to a negative, unscientific view of these approaches despite numerous rigorous studies in recent years demonstrating their effectiveness."
The petition continues:
These pages are controlled by a few self-appointed "skeptics" who serve as de facto censors for Wikipedia. They clothe their objections in the language of the narrowest possible understanding of science in order to inhibit open discussion of innovation in health care. As gatekeepers for the status quo, they refuse discourse with leading edge research scientists and clinicians or, for that matter, anyone with a different point of view. Fair-minded referees should be given the responsibility of monitoring these important areas.
The petition ends with this: "I pledge not to donate to your fundraising efforts until these changes have been made."
Though one of the most trafficked sites online, Wikipedia does not accept advertising; rather, it raises revenue through donations.
Anyone can edit pages
One reason why information posted on the site is often suspect is because all material can be "edited" by "members" who don't always have good intentions.
For instance, the BBC reported in 2007 that an "online tool that claims to reveal the identity of organisations that edit Wikipedia pages has revealed that the CIA was involved in editing entries."
The tool, Wikipedia Scanner, allegedly showed that workers using the spy agency's computers made edits to the page of then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It also purportedly showed that the Vatican had edited entries about Ireland's former leader of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams.
"Most of the edits detected by the scanner correct spelling mistakes or factual inaccuracies in profiles. However, others have been used to remove potentially damaging material or to deface sites," the BBC reported.
"On the profile of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the tool indicates that a worker on the CIA network reportedly added the exclamation 'Wahhhhhh!' before a section on the leader's plans for his presidency."