Wikipedia Erases Record of Accomplished Scientist — 'Censored' for His Intelligent Design Position

A man in a suit leaving a museum with a stone lion and pillars behind him

Last month, Wikipedia removed the entry on German insect paleontologist Günter Bechly, seemingly due to his position on intelligent design (ID), the scientific movement considering evidence for design behind nature — a movement opposed to Darwinian evolution. While editors claimed Bechly was not "notable" enough to warrant an entry, others with fewer career accomplishments have long pages on Wikipedia, and Bechly has a distinguished career.

"What Wikipedia did is definitely an act of censorship and an effort to suppress the free flow of ideas and information," John West, vice president of the Discovery Institute where Bechly works, told PJ Media in an interview Tuesday. He pointed out that Wikipedia has spread misinformation for evolution and undercut the respectability of other ID scientists.

Bechly's page was deleted on Wikipedia on October 9, after editors raised "notability" concerns on the last day of September. One editor, David Eppstein, characterized Bechly's views as "fringe," writing, "His turn to fringe creationist views does not seem to be notable at all."

West suggested that the combination of Bechly's views on intelligent design and his solid academic credentials makes him toxic to those intent on preserving a Darwinian orthodoxy.

"The issue here, I would argue, is precisely that he has such impeccable science credentials, that helps destroy the myth that they want preserved," the Discovery Institute VP told PJ Media. "Günter Bechly is too dangerous to allow people to find out about."

When Wikipedia editors discussed deleting Bechly's page, the scientist posted his own credentials. He provided links to press, TV, and radio segments mentioning his work, exhibitions he designed, and a few articles from the BBC and Scientific American.

"Add to that three described new insect orders, more than 160 described species, and insect family Bechlyidae, a genus and 8 species named after me, 2 edited books and numerous book chapters, 1 book in German about me, and a ResearchGate score that is higher than 85% of ResearchGate members," Bechly wrote.

Taking an aggressive tone, he concluded that "if this should not be sufficient to meet the arbitrary notability requirement for Wikipedia, please start with deleting the pages about atheist intellectual nobodies like Richard Carrier and Matt Dillahunty, who score much lower."

Carrier, an atheist pro-evolution author and blogger, enjoys a lavish Wikipedia entry, running to more than 9,000 words. The entry even mentions that he is "polyamorous." Despite criticizing the sources on Bechly as biased, the Wikipedia editors cited many biased sources in Dillahunty's similarly long and in-depth article.

One editor in the discussion actually admitted that "determining notability, especially in borderline cases, can definitely be subjective. If it weren't discussions like this wouldn't be necessary." Then again, this should not be a borderline case. Indeed, Bechly is arguably much more notable than Wikipedia editor David Eppstein.