[Foundation-l] Wikiversity

Michael R. Irwin michael_irwin at verizon.net
Thu Aug 17 06:59:36 UTC 2006

Ray Saintonge wrote:

>Cormac Lawler wrote:
>>On 8/16/06, Jimmy Wales <jwales at wikia.com> wrote:
>>>James Hare wrote:
>>>>We can develop Creationism instruction material as well as Science
>>>>instruction material, can't we? As long as we have interested parties?
>>>Information that lets people learn, neutrally, information _about_
>>>Creationism, sounds great.  Courses advocating creationism, no.
>>The obvious question this raises is (as Elian has already asked):
>>"where do we draw the line?"
>>We could orchestrate, for example, a policy that says "Wikiversity
>>will not host materials that endorse a particular world-view". But
>>then, we are excluding all religious material (and not all religious
>>material is bad). It could well be argued that much of what most
>>people consider to be appropriate educational material espouses a
>>particular world-view, such as that of free-market economics,
>>feminism, whatever.
>>This is a difficult issue that we can't simply dismiss out of hand.
>>I'm genuinely interested in finding a usable concept that we can apply
>>as policy - fwiw, there's already a page on NPOV on Wikiversity for
>>anyone who's interested:
>The serious scholar is not deterred by the fact that a subject is 
>controversial, and that he must fairly explore areas that many would 
>fairly consider POV.  The integrity of research is not well served by 
>putting it in the hands of True Unbelievers who are more satisfied with 
>polemical than with reasoned approaches.
Perhaps not.   Where does the serious scholar get his/her data if they 
are not interacting somehow with the true believers?

This was perceived by some (i.e. at least me) as a large problem early 
at English Wikipedia.   It got damn irritating trying to play peacemaker 
or mediator between lynch mobs and unpopular editors.   Their non NPOV 
data was frequently deleted entirely while I was trying to NPOV it to 
provide a basis for discussion and mediation in compliance with the 
published recommendations and policies of Wikipedia itself.    I quickly 
gave it up as a complete waste of my personal time.

An effective learning institutution should have a means available to 
interact with true believers and assist their learning processes while 
gathering data from them.    How do you propose to do this if their 
material is always promptly labeled and lynched without discourse as 
"not   NPOV"?

Further.  Should I personally choose to study creationism further I 
would rather study it from/with an honest advocate than a dishonest 
debunker.   Likewise if I choose to further study thermodynamics 
concepts from dis/honest creationists or dis/honest engineers..  A 
comparison and study of the diverging views of closed systems and a 
discussion of the same with either of the above parties is a pretty 
excellent test case for sorting the honest intellectuals from the 
mislead, dishonest, or less technically literate.

This discussion is more appropriate to the Wikiversity  list.

>My own brand of atheistic spiritualism is not consistent with 
>creationsm.  If creationsim as a theory or doctrine must fail it must 
>fail of its own accord, and not in as a part of freeing itself from a 
>heap of mindless invective.  If someone wants to teach a course on 
>creationism that puts that doctrine in a favorable light, I have no 
>objection.  The introductory page should probably note prominently that 
>the subject is very controversial. Those enrolled could then proceed at 
>their own risk, but with eyes wide open.

>I would like to see the creationsit emperor without his clothes.  In the 
>light of day he may not be as powerful as either the supporters or 
>detractors would have us believe.
Sometimes I am lacking in abstract reasoning from basic principles.   
For me it has always helped to have suitable materials from all alleged 
emperors for personal comparison and analysis against previously 
personally understood materials.   This makes arbitrarily empowered 
deletionists personally irritating.

It is easy to see why NPOV is a foundational issue for a targeted high 
quality summary reference source.

I see less justification for rapid deletion of large chunks of people's 
notes, lesson plans, examples, etc. donated for use in learning 
discussion with others.    Clearly pure propaganda or extreme POV will 
not stand alone long in an effective learning environment.   Our future 
participants at Wikiversity can be trusted to dissect it and present 
some effective analysis for discussion with others.


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