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What Gives? In Exchanging Falsehood for Truth, Wikipedia's Editors are Slowing Down


Hmm, Wikipedia's editors aren't as speedy as they used to be. When it comes to putting a Darwinist spin on anything to do with intelligent design, they have previously been more vigilant about replacing truth with falsehood. Yesterday I suggested to ENV readers that someone correct a Wiki fable that said Abraham Lincoln read and highly approved of Darwin's Origin of Species.

A reader went in and cut the reference, informing me in an email that he had done so. But it took fully 13 hours and 20 minutes for an editor to go back in and partially restore the erring paragraph. You'll find the history of revisions here. Previously I had clocked Wikipedia at an impressive 30 minutes in substituting disinformation for fact.

John West wrote earlier this week about the Lincoln/Darwin myth, explaining that Lincoln in truth (according to his law partner's account) had read and admired not Darwin's Origin but an earlier and quite different work, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation by Robert Chambers (pictured above). That book expounded a concept of evolution compatible with intelligent design.

The Wikipedia editor, identified as "William Beutler," appears to have read John's post because he puts in a reference to Vestiges, but see how the "improved" passage still mangles the facts:

Herndon, an advocate of Darwin's, said Lincoln [found?] the works of authors like Darwin and Spencer "entirely too heavy for an ordinary mind to digest" but he read and was "interested ... greatly" in a book expounding on these ideas, "Vestiges of Creation", and he was "deeply impressed with the notion of the so-called 'universal law' -- evolution... and he became a warm advocate of the new doctrine."

This makes it sound like Vestiges recapitulates -- "expounds on" -- Darwin and Spencer. First of all, as already noted, it doesn't. Second of all, it couldn't because Chambers published Vestiges in 1844. Darwin published the Origin in 1859 and Herbert Spencer published Principles of Biology, introducing the phrase "survival of the fittest," in 1864. The passage, while reworded, still gives the erroneous impression that Lincoln was a "warm advocate" of Darwinian theory.

If anything it would be more accurate to call him an advocate of intelligent design. Like Thomas Jefferson. See here for more from John West on Lincoln and Robert Chambers.

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Image source: Wikipedia.