Sarma states that alternative medicine (mainly homeopathy) is becoming a nuisance in Central Europe. He reasons this is because politicians are promoting it. In America, creationism in the classroom is an ongoing issue. Sturgess asks Sarma if they are seeing it as a problem in Europe as well.
"I must say that in Germany “evolution versus creationism” is not really an issue yet. But we see that coming up a little bit, not because of the Christian variants of creationism but because of the Islamic variants. That’s not an issue so much in Germany, but it is in some of the other countries like in Belgium. Interestingly, even though that’s the case, at the same time in Germany it’s not been so much of an issue yet with the Turkish population here as far as I can see. But it is becoming a problem more and more in the last years. That’s something I think we should be aware of and that’s why this has been one of the topics that we’ve taken up for this particular conference."So I wondered what non-English readers are seeing when they access Wikipedia pages on Homeopathy and Evolution?
Homeopathy in English (over 100K hits in Feb. 2012)
Homeopathy in German (with over 35K hits in Feb. 2012)
Homeopathy in French (with over hits 22K in Feb. 2012)
The following pages appear (to my non-expert eyes) to be in good shape. I'd rather have an expert like Dr. Eugenie Scott's opinion.
Evolution article in English
Evolution article in German
Evolution article in French
Evolution article in Arabic
Evolution article in Punjabi
Evolution article in Hindi
Evolution article in Kurdish
As you can see, these pages vary in content. I have no idea what these pages say, but some are obviously only a few paragraphs long, with only one image. When a reader of Hindi or Punjabi opens the Evolution page and sees only one or two paragraphs what do you think they are thinking? Imagine what the Kurdish readers are thinking when they access the page and are only given a couple sentences? How important could evolution be if editors are ignoring the topic?
Evolution hits for February 2012 in English
Evolution hits for February 2012 in German
Evolution hits for February 2012 in French
Evolution hits for February 2012 in Hindi
Evolution hits for February 2012 in Arabic
So what is my point?
We are so focused on educating English readers that we forget about the rest of the world. These people deserve to understand the science of these topics, with real citations they can follow to more detailed articles.
Wikipedia is being accessed expediently as the world adds more Internet users. Just like in English, when someone is curious about a topic, if they don't directly go to Wikipedia, they will turn to a search engine for a neutral point of view. Within the first 5 hits they will see a Wikipedia link waiting for them. Wikipedia is virus and spam free, no pop-ups, click-able links to other pages if they don't understand a term, citations and external links for more in depth information and they don't even have to have an account to access the information.
Shame on us if we are ignoring this chance to educate.
Lists of languages on Wikipedia