Christine Daley and Leon Korteweg improved and expanded the List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal, this is essential for the international skeptical movement: prove us that there is something paranormal, magical, supernatural or whatever extraordinary under controlled conditions, and skeptics will be amazed and pay you well. Curiously, however, nobody has even passed any of the tests, and not for a lack of trying, nor because they were unfair – conditions are always mutually agreed upon between challengers and claimants. Before & After
Leon Korteweg has given the Atheist Manifesto by Dutch philosopher Herman Philipse an English Wikipedia page (reviewed by Michelle Franklin). Although Philipse said he was frustrated everyone in the Netherlands only knew him from 'that odd manifesto', branded 'superficial' by opponents, this booklet was enough for Ayaan Hirsi Ali to reject Islam definitively, after which she became the world's most vocal female critic of religion. She wrote the preface to the 2004 republication.
On 18 February, Rob Nanninga was featured as on the Main Page as Did You Know, attracting an amazing 11,500 views that day, another 5,000 the next day and 7,500 more the third day! Leon Korteweg, who had previously written his Dutch article in September, and improved it before publishing the English translation (with the help of Susan Gerbic, Julie Tomlinson, Janyce Boynton, Michelle Franklin and Jan Willem Nienhuys who all reviewed it) on 30 January, was overwhelmed at the success.
Greg applied for the Did You Know and within a few days it was on the front page. It even bypassed the normal waiting period. We aren't complaining, DYK's get the page views outside the normal skeptic choir.
The New England Skeptic Society (NESS) was given a major rewrite by Susan Gerbic, who delved into its history (among them Perry DeAngelis' part, see above), achievements and activities. It now has a worthy article - Before & After
Jelena Levin wrote a new page for Recovering from Religion, an international organisation that provides help to people who struggle with losing their faith. Recently a hotline was launched for anyone facing immediate troubles, while RR does not preach or proselytise, only provide aid where it can. Leon Korteweg reviewed and corrected the article.
The stub for Mark Forsyth was massively expanded by Janyce Boynton. Before & After
On 11 February, Janyce Boynton's page about American folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand featured as a Did You Know on English Wikipedia's Main Page. It received over a 1,000 views that day.
Leon Korteweg translated Het Denkgelag (see below) from Dutch to English.
The Dutch team has continued translating biographies of Dutch-speaking skeptical activists to English. As reported in early January, we have published the English pages of Flemish philosopher Maarten Boudry (SKEPP, Het Denkgelag) and Dutch physician Catherine de Jong (VtdK), both actively involved in the movement.
Now Leon Korteweg has translated the articles for Jan Willem Nienhuys (reviewed by Ryan Harding, Susan Gerbic and Nienhuys himself) as the public face of Stichting Skepsis, and the late Rob Nanninga (reviewed by Michelle Franklin, Susan Gerbic, Janyce Boynton and Jan Willem Nienhuys), who was the driving force behind Stichting Skepsis as editor of Skepter magazine until his death.
Leon Korteweg also translated the English entry he wrote for Skeptics with a K, which was reviewed by Wim Vandenberghe and Coen de Bruijn.
|Emile, Leon, Jozef and Coen at Het Denkgelag in Antwerp.|
(Photo: Pieter Van Vlaanderen)
The improved and expanded the List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal (see above) has been translated into Dutch by Leon Korteweg and Wim Vandenberghe.
Lanyrd is increasingly used for planning, documenting and coverage of skeptical events, ranging from multi-day conferences to smaller gatherings such as Skeptics in the Pub. Leon Korteweg and Emile Dingemans thought it was time to make Lanyrd known among the Dutch-speaking public by giving them a Wikipedia page in Dutch.
Emile Dingemans performed many notable hit-and-run actions while "roguing" the Dutch Wikipedia:
- Orthorexia Nervosa (disorder of obsession with "healthy" food, which is not yet in DSM-5 but probably will enter in DSM-6). Added explanation and causes of the disorder, with sources from experts. Removed what looked like unsourced laymen interpretations. Changes
- Complete update for Voedingsadditief (Food additive). Explained what they are, and why they are in our food. How they are documented, and how strict the regulation is (with 1500 views a month, quite popular). Changes
- Added on Multiple Sclerose (Multiple Sclerosis) a large study that HPV-vaccination is not a cause for MS. Changes
- Addition to Essentieel nutriënt (essential nutrient). Changes
- Checked controversial claims about the Partij van de Eenheid (a local Islamic party). Changes
- Added information on Chemische synthese (Chemical synthesis) to explain the misconception of 'chemical' and 'synthetic'. Changes
- Rigorous restructuring of Universiteit (University). Including revising the definition as an institution for scienctic education and research. Moving national segments away to their appropriate articles, keeping the focus on University. Removal of POV, unencyclopedic writing, etc. Changes
- Asked for several sources for dubious claims on Orthomoleculaire behandelwijzen (Orthomolecular medicine). Added criticism on the method by Luc Bonneux and David Gorski. Changes
- Added explanation on E-nummer (E number). Removed dubious claims and alarmist writings, explaining what they mean after some desk research, and why they are called 'safe'. (has around 2500 views a month) Changes
- Added information on the dye Amarant (Amaranth) explaining why it is forbidden in the US and not in the EU and how safe intake is controlled. Removed unnecessary alarmist cancer-claims. Changes
Raffaella Vitali put a lot of effort in translating the Burzynski Clinic to Italian. This fine article now joins our German, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish versions on the controversial Texas alternative cancer treatment clinic of Stanislaw Burzynski.
Monica Quijano rewrote the Spanish page about Chupacabras, the cryptids that are often ascribed mysterious disappearances or deaths of animals in the Americas, but for whose existence there has never been found any conclusive reliable evidence, despite wide popular belief. The page was riddled with unsourced claims or poor citations (16 in total), now it has 53 solid references, providing much more accurate information on the subject. The article was reviewed by Walkiria Nubes and Erik Hess. Before & After
In a special article for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, 'Burzynski Clinic: A Scientifical Year Of Fail', Sharon Hill credits GSoW –among others– for providing 'extensive information and citations of [Burzynski's] failure to produce evidence, his failure to follow regulations, and the consensus that scientists and cancer organizations have discredited the doctor and his treatments' on Wikipedia (in several languages).
Evan Burnstein writes about the Perry DeAngelis page creation.
In line with the GSoW Vax project, we will now concentrate on providing more accurate and reliable information about vaccination and the anti-vaxx movement. Susan interviewed Leon about his own story with vaccination and the situation in the Netherlands (an abridged version featured on Skepticality #248 @11:10).