Controversy

Wikipedia is a free web-based encyclopedia, constructed entirely out of contributions from folks out there on the internets. A nice idea, but obviously you need some mechanisms for quality control, not to mention resolving disputes over how to present certain material. Consequently, there is a long list of entries that are currently in “NPOV Dispute,” for “Neutral Point of View.” Leaving aside the issue of whether such a thing is philosophically possible, it is extremely illuminating to have a look at the topics currently under dispute — it’s a reflection of what issues are currently regarded as controversial in the world.

This is a partial list, but you get the idea. Mostly the standard stuff — religion, sex, Wal-Mart, the Middle East, wars just about anywhere. But there are a few surprises — Henry James? Catherine Zeta-Jones? Loop quantum gravity? Okay, that last one makes sense. (Especially for readers of Luboš Motl‘s new blog.)

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