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Subject:  Re: Digging for treasure Date:  9/8/2006  2:41 PM
Author:  Chapman208 Number:  25 of 27

>>>>While Wikipedia may provide a quick overview, is the writer experienced in the field? How much of today's research is invalid/erroneous? If the science is based on shaky conclusion is it still good science? I tend to look at the printed materials where peer review will strip away the false science.

WF: The intriguing thing about Wikipedia is that it is editable by anyone, not just the original author. This allows knowledgeable individuals to correct factual errors after the article has been published. So there can be just as much peer review this way as in the formal manner (perhaps more). As for peer review (in general) "stripping away the false science", that may be asking too much.

What a peer review often does is strip away anything that's not "conventional wisdom" (or science). Once upon a time, "everyone knew" that the earth was round and was the center of the universe, and anyone disagreeing was labeled a heretic. Likewise, many influential scientific papers have been pooh-poohed by the "experts", until decades later, when it was determined that the heretical idea was right after all. ("Dark matter", for example, was ignored or ridiculed in the '70s, when it was proposed, before finally being accepted by most cosmologists in the '90s (with the addition of "dark energy", and then confirmed just in the last year or so.)

Wiki, in concept, is marvelous. In practice, it's only as good as those knowledgeable people who take the time to review/correct it. But even then, it's subject to the same limitations of vision as "official" publications are. (And, occasionally, clashes of egos.)

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