Well, heck, I’m always proud to be included in the same company as Dr. Malcolm Kendrick.
Let’s review the chronology here: On December 3rd, Kendrick announced on his blog that he’d been slated for deletion from Wikipedia. (He’s since been deleted.) The editor who made that decision used the handle Sceptic From Britain. Lots of people were speculating that Spectic From Britain was a shill for Big Food.
Given who he had targeted – Kendrick, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, etc. – Big Food didn’t strike me as the likely culprit. In my December 13th post, I wrote this:
I have my own two-legged theory: 1) Skeptic from Britain is a disciple of The Church of the Holy Plant-Based Diet, and 2) Wikipedia has been taken over by social-justice warriors.
And later in the post …
I’m sure the people who run Big Food aren’t fans of Kendrick, Ravnskov or Eenfeldt. But based on what I’ve witnessed on social media, the people who really can’t stand anyone who says saturated fats and cholesterol are good for you are the SJW/Plant-Based Diet crowd. By gosh, if you tell people meat and eggs are part of a healthy diet, you’re ruining the planet, promoting inequality, and possibly supporting the repressive imperial patriarchy or whatever.
Nailed it. Someone identified Sceptic From Britain. An online profile listed him as a naturalist and vegetarian. (He also appears to be about 12 years old.)
EDIT: Ignore that profile. I’ve received emails from the person profiled, from someone else claiming to the real Sceptic From Britain, and from a third person claiming to have proof that yet another person is the real Sceptic From Britain. Bottom line: we’ve got a weird case of cyber revenge going on in this whole matter, and any name mentioned is likely to be false.
Kendrick wrote this in his latest blog post on the matter:
I wrote the book “Doctoring Data” to try and shine some light on the methods used to distort and manipulate data. I try, as best as I can, to follow the scientific method. That includes discussion and debate, to test ones ideas in the furnace of sustained attacks.
However, if you try to do this, the forces of darkness come after you, and they come hard. Especially if ever dare to suggest that animal fats, saturated fats, are not in the least harmful. At which point you waken the vegan beast, and this beast is not the least interested in science, or the scientific method, or discussion or debate.
It has one aim, and that is to silence anyone, anywhere, who dares to question the vegan philosophy.
Anyone with a half a brain can see that’s exactly what’s going on with this particular editor. And yet Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has insisted Kendrick’s deletion was all about the quality of the sourcing. Nothing to do with Kendrick’s positions on the lipid hypothesis, ya see. Same goes for Ravnskov and Eenfeldt. Absolutely nothing to do with the editor’s anti-meat zealotry, ya see. It’s all about the quality of the sourcing. Purely a coincidence that this particular editor keeps identifying sourcing problems with articles about people who say animal fats won’t kill you.
Wales is currently making a fool of himself on Twitter by continuing to argue that position, even after people have linked to Wikipedia articles about vegetarian doctors that aren’t tagged for deletion, despite no differences in that all-important quality of the sourcing.
It’s a perfect example of the phenomenon described in the wonderful book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): some people, after taking a public position, simply cannot change their minds no matter how obvious it becomes that they got it wrong. We have a clear case of a vegan-zealot editor creating a hit list, but Wales refuses to see it.
The smart move at this point would be to re-examine the editor’s decisions, then announce that upon further review, the editor was applying a personal bias, not a consistent standard. But that would require a bit of humility. I don’t pay attention to Mr. Wales, but according to people who do, humility is not a trait that afflicts him. Based on his tweets regarding this issue, I’m inclined to agree.
But circling back to the chronology … I wrote my post on December 13th. By some strange coincidence, the Wikipedia entry for Fat Head was then tagged for deletion on December 17th. (It has to be a coincidence, because Jimmy Wales has assured us there’s no bias or targeting going on.)
Yes, after several years of Fat Head existing in the online pages of Wikipedia, an editor just happened to discover problems that are so severe, the entry needs to be deleted. Again, pure coincidence. No bias or targeting going on here, no siree. And we know it’s not bias, because the editor who tagged Fat Head for deletion isn’t Sceptic From Britain; it’s an editor whose handle is MatthewManchester1994.
Except … someone pointed me to a Wikipedia page that (at the time, anyway) displayed this text:
Goodness, how strange. I write a post criticizing Sceptic From Britain for deleting Kendrick, and a few days later, the same editor changes his handle and then targets Fat Head for deletion. But there’s no bias or targeting going on here. Just ask Jimmy Wales. He’ll explain it to you on Twitter.
The story gets stranger still. As of this writing, the user profile for MatthewManchester1994 tells us this:
15:07, 20 December 2018 Céréales Killer (talk | contribs) renamed user MatthewManchester1994 (4672 edits) to Vanisheduser3334743743i43i434 (per request)
The editor has requested his handle be renamed twice in five days. Perhaps he only feels comfortable tagging a dozen or so people and films for deletion using each handle.
As I’ve said before, I don’t give a hoot whether Fat Head is listed in Wikipedia or not. But I found the reasons for targeting it for deletion amusing. Here’s a quote from our completely unbiased editor, MatthewManchester1994 (back in the five-day stretch when he used that handle):
Fat Head is a non-notable fringe conspiracy theory documentary that doubts scientific evidence for the lipid hypothesis. I am not seeing any evidence this documentary is notable, it advertises itself as a science documentary but no scientists have reviewed it. Tom Naughton  directed the film but he is not notable either (he has not directed anything else), the article reads like a promotion piece.
The definition of “notable” can mean pretty much whatever Wikipedia decides it means, of course. I believe millions of views around the world (more than 760,000 on YouTube alone) should count for something, but unlike Wikipedia’s editor, I may be biased. Perhaps I’ll ask Jimmy Wales to define bias for me and clear things up.
As for being a “fringe conspiracy” documentary, well, that’s the excuse we’ve seen from Sceptic From Britain … I mean, MatthewManchester1994 … I mean, Vanisheduser3334743743i43i434 for all these deletions. He’s not bending Wikipedia to his vegan-zealot agenda, you understand. No, he’s just protecting the site from fringe conspiracies.
Funny thing, though … other vegan zealots have also called Fat Head a “conspiracy” film. But not one of them has ever cited a fact I got wrong. I showed news footage of the McGovern committee at work. The advice put out by the USDA is a matter of public record. I mentioned that nine out of 10 members of the Cholesterol Education Campaign committee had financial arrangements with statin-makers, which again is a matter of public record. I quoted a director of the Framingham study on how the results don’t support the lipid hypothesis — again, a matter of public record. I named large studies in which the lipid hypothesis failed — all of them in the public record.
If I’d twisted facts and timelines around, Michael Moore style, I could see calling Fat Head a conspiracy film. But since nobody has ever offered proof that I made statements that aren’t true or changed the chronology in which events happened, the definition of “conspiracy film” seems to be that I don’t agree with the vegan-zealot crowd that animal fats are deadly.
As proof that I promote “fringe conspiracies,” MatthewManchester1994 mentioned my post titled Another Big Fat (and old) Fail For The Lipid Hypothesis. This is where the absurdity of vegan (ahem) “logic” reaches a whole new level.
That particular post is about an old study conducted (but never published) by Ancel Keys. I quote from a Washington Post article, which in turn quotes from the British Medical Journal that examined the study data. Here’s what the Post wrote:
It was one of the largest, most rigorous experiments ever conducted on an important diet question: How do fatty foods affect our health? Yet it took more than 40 years — that is, until today — for a clear picture of the results to reach the public.
The story begins in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when researchers in Minnesota engaged thousands of institutionalized mental patients to compare the effects of two diets. One group of patients was fed a diet intended to lower blood cholesterol and reduce heart disease. It contained less saturated fat, less cholesterol and more vegetable oil. The other group was fed a more typical American diet.
Just as researchers expected, the special diet reduced blood cholesterol in patients.
Today, the principles of that special diet — less saturated fat, more vegetable oils — are recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government’s official diet advice book.
Yet the fuller accounting of the Minnesota data indicates that the advice is, at best, unsupported by the massive trial. In fact, it appears to show just the opposite: Patients who lowered their cholesterol, presumably because of the special diet, actually suffered more heart-related deaths than those who did not.
So to recap: The British Medical Journal finally publishes data from a large, rigorous trial in which the lipid hypothesis failed miserably – so miserably that people who switched to vegetable oils actually had more heart attacks, despite lowering their cholesterol. The Washington Post then reports on that study. So far, so good.
But when I write a post about the same study, quoting from the Washington Post, it’s proof that I promote fringe conspiracies … and therefore Fat Head should be deleted.
Kendrick put it perfectly: …you waken the vegan beast, and this beast is not the least interested in science, or the scientific method, or discussion or debate.
As if to prove the point, a vegan nut-job left this comment on Kendrick’s blog:
[Sceptic] is an absolute legend for deleting various low-carb cranks from Wikipedia, I fully support him and we will utilize other wikis to debunk LCHF nonsense.
Yes, if you delete information about people who disagree with you instead of debating them, that makes you a hero.
But there’s no bias or agenda going on here. It’s strictly about the quality of the sourcing. Just ask Jimmy Wales. He’ll explain it to you on Twitter.
And then you can laugh your ass off.