Dana Ullman/On Wikipedia

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Extensive documentation of Dana Ullman's time on Wikipedia is available here. Since that is available under an irrevocable Creative Commons license, here are the relevant sections from "Shoemaker's Holiday"'s incident report.

The following sections were taken directly from an arbitration case at Wikipedia.

Contents

[edit] Section 0 - Events at [[Potassium dichromate]]

This section moved to the start, because, in the middle of this arbitration case, Ullman did something there that's so... over the top, that it provides some of the best evidence of his tendentious editing.

Summary: On the talkpage for Potassium dichromate, Ullman really wanted to include a study that seems to support his views. After reopening the discussion, making the same points three times in the last three months, he finally moved into outright bizarre behaviour. He argued with a user named Scientizzle to the effect that Scientizzle was actually supporting him, and that Scientizzle, denying this, was stonewalling the argument. Yes, really.

[edit] Background

For obvious reasons, we will quickly cover previous events, so that we can get to the bizarre, more recent events.

Starting on 15 January 2008,[1] in which Ullman complained that he was reverted. He claims the reasons are unknown, but his edit [2] not only adds a study of the topic at hand, but changes wording to add a strong homeopathic bias to the descriptions more favourable to homeopathy, and removes all critical content, claiming it is not specific enough to the particular homeopathic remedy.(See edit summary here).

He edit wars over its inclusion for a while: [3] [4] [5] [6] Arion 3x3 joins in the edit-warring fun: [7] Then the page is protected: [8]

Between the 15th and 26th or so of January, large sections of the talk page are spent discussing this. On 30 January, Ullman repeats his points, and insists it be included. [9] and is again shot down.

No further discussion on the talk page occurs between February 3 and 19 April. At which point... Ullman brings up the study YET AGAIN, claiming that a few socks that were active at the time meant all previous discussion should be ignored. [10]

He is short down again, by several people.e.g

21st April, he makes the same points again: [11]

He claims previous discussion is "inadequate" and that:

Consensus again goes against him, so he claims that the five or six other editors are "stonewalling"

Baegis eventually archives the discussion, using Template:hat to avoid further disruption.

Ullman objects to this, and tries to pull other editors in to continue to beat the dead horse.[12]

[edit] Insistence that Scientizzle supports him, despite Scientizzle's objections

We now get to the really bizarre behaviour on Dana's part. He says there was consensus for its inclusion in the past:

However, as far as I can tell, the only time that it was ever in the article was when Ullman was editwarring for its inclusion between January 15-19, 2008. Ullman goes on to claim Scientizzle supports him:

Scientizzle responds:

Wow. Just in the past week or so, Scientizzle recommended that we reference it. Here are all the diffs from my particpation on this talk page since the discussion renewed in April: [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]. Please do indicate in which of these edits I recommended referencing Frass et al. If you're saying that my statement,
{{{1}}}
is a recommendation to reference it, you have wrongly interpretated my non-glowing evaluation of this source's utility. — Scientizzle 22:01, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Ullman continues to say that Scientizzle supports him, despite his objections.

I thought that editors would reconsider this study now that several socks were muted, and I was right! Scientizzle voiced support for including reference to this,[19]. And yet, despite several protests against archiving an ACTIVE discussion, Baegis disregarded these concerns.

Scientizzle sees this, and asks:

Dana, did you miss my comment above?Scientizzle 22:21, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Ullman responds... by arguing with Scientizzle that he, in fact, supports him.

Scientizzle, no, not at all. Did you see your words: "I am not as against the inclusion of homeopathy information as others here...Assuming the case for this being a remedy of note is solid, I support a simple inclusion that directs the reader to List of homeopathic preparations, which is an appropriate place to deal with the topic.... I can't see the published state of the research--i.e., Frass et al, & nothing else--meriting more than a minimalist "it's use has been investigated to treat COPD symptoms. " [20] It is interesting how you chose to not give the entire quote from your posting at that same time. You clearly say that you're NOT against inclusion...this strongly suggests that the conversation is open. I hope that you will stop stonewalling. You did recommend providing reference to this study in at least a minimalistic way. Therefore, I continue to assert that the archiving of the active conversation is part of a bullying behavior conducted without consensus, in a TEWikipedia's W.svg manner with the audacity to inaccurately blame me for TE. DanaUllmanTalk 05:38, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Note: Ullman's link to Scientizzle's comment is wrong, it should be [21]

We've gone beyond parody into full scale trolling here. Ullman:

  • Argues with Scientizzle that Scientizzle actually supports him.
  • Claims that Scientizzle did not provide a complete quote, while using elipsis to change the meaning of Scientizzle's quote:

Ullman says Scientizzle says:

I am not as against the inclusion of homeopathy information as others here...Assuming the case for this being a remedy of note is solid, I support a simple inclusion that directs the reader to List of homeopathic preparations, which is an appropriate place to deal with the topic.... I can't see the published state of the research--i.e., Frass et al, & nothing else--meriting more than a minimalist "it's use has been investigated to treat COPD symptoms.

However, What Scientizzle actually say, in full, is:

I am not as against the inclusion of homeopathy information as others here...Assuming the case for this being a remedy of note is solid, I support a simple inclusion that directs the reader to List of homeopathic preparations, which is an appropriate place to deal with the topic. (Even at List of homeopathic preparations, I can't see the published state of the research--i.e., Frass et al, & nothing else--meriting more than a minimalist "it's use has been investigated to treat COPD symptoms.[ref]" statement). — Scientizzle 22:48, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Note that Ullman removes some crucial words that COMPLETELY CHANGE the meaning of Scientizzle's remark away from being about inclusion of this study at Potassium dichromate.</blockquote

At this point, Ullman has gone beyond simple tendentious editing into trolling, and should be promptly blocked. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 09:07, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

[edit] Section I - The Cazin study and Linde metaanalysis

Summary: One of Ullman's main problems is that he hypes studies that he likes the findings of to the moon, claiming that they are hugely important, published in major journals, etc. In this section, we'll look at two studies [sections 1a and 1b] that he endlessly promoted over several weeks on Talk:Arsenicum album. Ullman's foundation for his claims of the notability of these and the journal they're publishesd in are particularly easy to show to be shaky: He demonstrates a complete inability to accurately give the journal's current name. 1d provides further evidence of misrepresentation, analysing the other claims Ullman makes about Cazin in more detail, and making conclusions.

Section 1c expands our focus out a bit, looking at a few other aspects: Linde retracted some of his previous findings in 1999, when further investigation showed evidence of strong bias in homeopathic studies in general. At this point, Ullman posted [On the article probation page where this originally appeared] an attack on my evidence. This attack is left in place, then analysed in section 1c part ii, and shown to be groundless. 1c part ii(a) and (b) are particularly interesting, as they document Ullman's statements about Assume Good Faith, which were discussed briefly in my initial statement on this case.

[edit] 1a. "Published in one of the leading journals of toxicology"

[edit] Summary

Although Mr. Ullman claims that J.C. Cazin et al.. "A Study of the Effect of Decimal and Centesimal Dilution of Arsenic on Retention and Mobilization of Arsenic in the Rat," Human Toxicology, July 1987 was published in a "leading" "major" and "highly-respected" journal, he changes his mind repeatedly on the title of the journal, jumps at a suggestion by Hesperian of a title that it might be, and uses it to justify his claims, saying that Hesperian's suggestion was correct. Research, however, shows that it was not, and that the journal is, in fact, a minor, low-impact journal with a section devoted to non-mainstream reports. These inflated claims will be shown to be typical as this report continues to other studies he refers to.

[edit] Detailed analysis in support

On "Human Toxicology" and the Cazin study, he writes:

and

We'll deal with the rest of that last quote at a slightly later point. Let's move on for the moment...

Although Mr. Ullman repeatedly claims that Human Toxicology is a highly-respected leading journal, he soon demonstrate he has no actual knowledge about it:

But when Hesperian points out that "Thomson Scientific's Journal Citation Reports lists 76 journals in the "toxicology" category. It doesn't list journals entitled "Human Toxicology", nor "Human and Veterinary Toxicology", but it does list a journal named "Veterinary and Human Toxicology". When listed in order of impact factor, H&VT ranks 68th out of 76 journals." he immediately changes his tune:

And, before all this, he had added the following to the article:

In fact, all of these are wrong. The journal was originally Human Toxicology, and changed its name to Human and Experimental Toxicology, a name it retains to this day [22]. This means that he was making claims about the importance of a journal that he could not even get the name of correct. But he still claimed himself and himself alone as a sufficient authority to assert it was a highly-respected, leading journal. It is actually a low impact journal (Journal eigenfactor: 0.0028658. Article Influence: 0.24856). In short, he appears to have had no idea what he was talking about, but this did not stop him constantly making grand assertions, and flailing about in an attempt to leap on anything that would give the temporary appearance of supporting his arguments, true or not, nonetheless.

Finally, according to the editors, Human [and Experimental] toxicology's scope is:

All aspects of experimental and clinical studies of functional, biochemical and structural disorder, their causes and antidotes and other therapies using animal and human tissue, in vitro systems and medical and veterinary patients.

Toxicology Elsewhere - This section of the journal highlights areas outside mainstream toxicology, dealing with research interest and reviews of published articles peripheral, yet supportive to toxicology. The international flavour of the journal makes it the ideal way to stay current with the fast-moving field of toxicology.

In other words, they have a special section devoted to speculative or non-mainstream reports. I presume this is where the Cazin article appeared. Do I need to say why this is a problem to his assertion that Human Toxicology's reputation (such as it is) proves that the Cazin article is a reliable source?

[edit] Ib Notability of the Linde 1994 metaanalysis

[edit] Summary

Ullman makes similar - even, perhaps, extreme claims for the importance of the Linde 1994 metaanalysis (Linde K, et al, Critical review and meta-analysis of serial agitated dilutions in experimental toxicology, Human and experimental toxicology, 1994). He claims that it is a "major" meta-analysis, published in a major journal on numerous occasions. However, the journal is the same one as the Cazin study; the article is only cited by two (TWO) other studies in all of Pubmed [23]. Places you would expect to find a major metaanalysis do not include it, and it is not generally available, with even companies making volumes of Human and Experimental Toxicology available not offering issues back that far.

[edit] Detailed analysis

Ullman makes similar claims for the Linde 1994 metaanalysis as the Cazin study:

and

He is, in fact, wrong. As shown in section 1a, he appears to have no to little knowledge of the journal, as it's the same one as the Cazin study was published in, (Not that he knows that, or he wouldn't say that the Cazin journal was Human and Veterinary Toxicology, or did he mean Veterinary and Human Toxicology... well, they're all major journals if they publish something hie likes, as will be shown throughout this report). Also as shown in 1a, the journal has both a low article impact and eigenfactor. It is not a major toxicology journal, as Mr. Ullman would even [finally] admit later:

Only two other articles reference it in all of the pubmed database: [24]

The study does not appear places you would expect it to if it were a "major" metaanalysis. For instance, the NCCAM page on Homeopathy is generally supportive of homeopathy, but does not list this study in the table of metaanalyses. Linde himself does not cite it in his list of systematic reviews of homeopathy.

Dana Ullman aso has some confusion as to what year it was published, calling it a 1995 study, until corrected. This is typical of his sloppy work.

Finally, Ingentia only makes Human and experimental toxicology available back to mid 2000 (note: This link is now dead), Sage publications back to 1998, meaning the article is not generally available.

Despite the problems demonstrated above: that it has only two references to it in all of Pubmed, is generally unavailable, and is not even discussed in Linde's own discussion of systematic reviews of homeopathy, DanaUllman claims repeatedly that the non-notable Linde 1994 study is itself sufficient to make the Cazin study count as notable, as shown in section 1d.

Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 21:33, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

[edit] 1c: Ignoring Linde's retraction, and Linde 1997. Ullman as a tendentious editor; Ullman insists others AGF while refusing to hold the same courtesy to others.

[edit] Summary

Linde retracted several conclusions of his previous work in 1999, and this was pointed out to Ullman at the start of the discussion. (part i) Nonetheless, Ullman continues to use the retracted conclusions. (part iii) Ullman insists that we should AGF on his behalf, but does not apply the policy to other editors, and is a textbook tendentious editor (part ii).

[edit] 1c: Part i

Summary: One of the studies that Ullman pushes for [Linde 1997, see part iii for evidence of his abuse] has had findings explicitly retracted by its authors, and this was pointed out to Ullman. This retraction, in the eyes of a reasonable person, would also apply to the much more minor 1994.

Detailed analysis

In 1999, Linde retracted much of his previous work:

"The evidence of bias weakens the findings of our original meta-analysis [7]. Since we completed our literature search in 1995, a considerable number of new homeopathy trials have been published. The fact that a number of the new high-quality trials (e.g. [14,15]) have negative results, and a recent update of our review for the most “original” subtype of homeopathy (classical or individualized homeopathy [16]), seem to confirm the finding that more rigorous trials have less-promising results. It seems, therefore, likely that our meta-analysis [7] at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments." Linde et al, Impact of Study Quality on Outcome in Placebo-Controlled Trials of Homeopathy, J Clin Epidemiol Vol. 52, No. 7, pp. 631–636, 1999, Template:Doi

Link [7] refers to the Linde's 1997 metanalysis; however, as shown in 1b, the 1994 study by Linde is incredibly minor, and so it is not, perhaps, surprising that Linde does not explicitly mention it.

This was pointed out to Mr. Ullman at the start of the thread that kicked off the discussions referred to in 1a and 1b. [25]

Either your bias is blinding you or you are not reading or understanding previous discussions. First, I realize that Linde said that his previous meta-analysis "at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments." However, of the 89 trials evaluated, there was a 2.45 (!) odds ratio favoring homeopathy, and when reviewing only the high quality studies, it was something like 1.78 (that's still significant). Although some studies after the 1997 had negative results, Linde never asserted that these new studies took away significance from the body of research nor did he say or imply that there was "no" evidence for homeopathy...he simply said the evidence was reduced. And Linde's 1997 work would NOT reference his 1994 work because the 1994 work was a review of laboratory studies in environmental toxicology, while his 1997 work only reviewed clinical trials. Once again, I want to warn you to AGF, avoid showing bad faith (as you have done on numerous occasions), read past Talk section more carefully, and consider re-reading my post above about recent meta-analyses in which I specifically make reference to Linde's more updated comments. Finally, it seems that I need to remind you again that ALL high quality clinical research has lower positive results (this observation is not simply true in homeopathic trials). DanaUllmanTalk 05:23, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

[edit] 1c - part ii

Summary: Ullman's quotes of statistics from Linde 1997 are misleading, and Ullman insists that we should AGFWikipedia's W.svg, at the same time as he attacks other editors with impunity, and ignores that AGF specifically says "This guideline does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of evidence to the contrary."Wikipedia's W.svg and seems ignorant of WP:TEND "Tendentious editing is editing which is partisan, biased, skewed—in other words, it does not conform to the neutral point of view. On Wikipedia, the term also carries the connotation of repetitive attempts to insert or delete content which is resisted by multiple other editors." Several examples of Ullman failing to assume good faith, and attacking others without assuming good faith are summarised.

[edit] Detailed analysis

This section discusses the Linde 1997 metaanalysis (Linde, et al, 1997 Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials, Lancet, Template:Doi.

First, I realize that Linde said that his previous meta-analysis "at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments." However, of the 89 trials evaluated, there was a 2.45 (!) odds ratio favoring homeopathy, and when reviewing only the high quality studies, it was something like 1.78 (that's still significant).

Ullman is incorrect in multiple ways.

In a discussion of the effects of publication bias changing the results of the 1997 Linde study, Ullman quotes the combined results for the 1997 trial as uncorrected for publication bias. In the 1997 trial itself, Linde writes: "The overall estimate of the odds ratio corrected for publication bias was 1·78 (1·03 to 3·10, z=2·09). Thus correction for publication bias decreases the odds ratio by about 27%; however, it remained substantial and statistically significant."

The results for the quality trials are 1.66, not 1.78 as Dana claims. Linde et al do not correct the quality trials for publication bias.

Although some studies after the 1997 had negative results, Linde never asserted that these new studies took away significance from the body of research...

Wrong! Wrong on every count! What part of "The evidence of bias weakens the findings of our original meta-analysis." does Mr. Ullman not understand? What part of "The fact that a number of the new high-quality trials (e.g. [14,15]) have negative results, and a recent update of our review for the most “original” subtype of homeopathy (classical or individualized homeopathy [16]), seem to confirm the finding that more rigorous trials have less-promising results. It seems, therefore, likely that our meta-analysis [7] at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments." does not imply that the results of these new studies reduce Linde's findings on the body of research?

As this section of Linde 1999 was quoted above, and Ullman was explicitly responding to the quote, Ullman's reading comprehension must be cast into extreme doubt. Ullman's statement above "Either your bias is blinding you or you are not reading or understanding previous discussions." would appear to be a textbook example of projection. Which leads to the next point:

Once again, I want to warn you to AGF

This is typical of Ullman's use of AGF as a sledgehammer to try and attack others who disagree with him into silence. Mr. Ullman, is mistaken on the details of the AGF policy. Assuming Good FaithWikipedia's W.svg does not mean assuming that you are right. "This guideline does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of evidence to the contrary."Wikipedia's W.svg You are clearly a tendentious editor: "Tendentious editing is editing which is partisan, biased, skewed—in other words, it does not conform to the neutral point of view. On Wikipedia, the term also carries the connotation of repetitive attempts to insert or delete content which is resisted by multiple other editors." Assuming

good faith does not mean assuming you are right. It means assuming the best interpretation to your actions, e.g. that you are incompetent, rather than intentionally deceitful.

[edit] 1c, part ii (a) - Evidence of Ullman trying to claim Good faith as synonymous for "assume I'm right".

1

2

Brief analysis

Ullman and Arion 3x3 were editwarring (Ullman: [26] [27] Arion: [28] [29] [30] [31]) for addition of a new section that he wrote that made a purely biased use of the 1997 study to claim that there is strong evidence that Homeopathy works, and elimination of a discussion of problems with homeopathic research. Hesperian's quote of Linde's finding that "The number of methodologically sound, independently reproduced studies is too small to make any definitive conclusions regarding the effect of SAD preparations in toxicology" was quite sufficient to rebut the additions to the article that Ullman was editwarring for the inclusion of. Ullman nontheless attacks Hesperian for quoting a section that shows that Linde's conclusions were not the 100% pure proof of homeopathy that Ullman claimed, acting as if it was a huge attempt to deceive, but that he was graciously assuming good faith. Oh, and it also provides yet another bit of confusion about Human Toxicology (claims that Human and Experimental Toxicology became Human Toxicology, rather than the other way around. [see 1a])

3

(adding note)Dana already got later involved on a different edit war, he got warned for it, then accused of bad faith assumption by two editors and then banned 7 days from editing homeopathy articles for the edit warring. --Enric Naval (talk) 12:58, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

4

5

Followed, naturally, by this

{{Dana, the assertion that I have not been showing "good faith" by failing to "finally admit that this information is notable and worthy of reference in the article" is completely inappropriate. — Scientizzle 18:24, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Scientizzle, first, I didn't mention you as having bad faith. In fact, YOU have been open to including it (thank you). Previously, you wrote that you wanted to include reference to this trial but didn't want to include any description of the results of the study. Please clarify your objection to including these results. Please note that some editors have described this study as "small," and yet, I have shown that this study was not "small" for a trial on patients with COPD (as is evidenced by the two follow-up studies having similar numbers). Also, can you express your reasons why you think that this study is notable? Perhaps, some of the other editors can hear you better than they hear me. DanaUllmanTalk 19:06, 23 April 2008 (UTC)}}

[edit] 1c, part ii (b) - Miscellanious failure to assume good faith

0 (added to the start as it's such a good example)

1

Attacking all your critics because they are not subscribers of a journal that you are trying to hype is not assuming good faith. The rest of the quote deals with the journal Homeopathy, which is best dealt with in another section.

2

This article is another piece of evidence that many of the anti-homeopathy editors assert that there is "no scientific research" on this or that subject within homeopathy, and yet, either these editors are purposefully ignoring the body of basic science evidence and clinical research or they are choosing to not look and simply asserting that there is no research (when you don't look for something, it is indeed hard to find it). What is also so interesting is the degree of self-justification that goes on in the homeopathy-bashing and the unapologetic tendencies for either ignoring or attacking homeopathic research. "How convenient" is all I have to say about the lack of references to the scientific literature at this article, especially when there is a reasonable body of basic science work (testing homeopathic doses of this medicine) and clinical trials too.

3

(On an admin's talk page)

More could be provided in this section with ease, but I think the point is made.

[edit] 1c, part iii - Linde 1997

[TBC] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shoemaker's Holiday (talkcontribs) 11:58, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

[edit] 1d: Conclusions of Section 1

Summary: One of Dana's longer posts on Cazin is analysed in detail, and almost everything in it is shown to be false or misleading. In a more recent post, Ullman makes such grandiose claims for his source that he actually ends up claiming that a 1994 study will serve as a secondary source to prove the notability of sources from 2003 and 2005.

Detailed analysis:

We may now return to the earlier quote I said we'd come back to.

Almost every word in that is wrong, except, perhaps, Ullman's praise of what appears (these articles are not generally availble, as I said, which makes it difficult to check, but this is my best guess) to be the Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille which, as far as I know, is an excellent university. However, it appears (see below) that the university were not the only people involved.

That's from February. However, Mr. Ullman tends to repeat himself a lot, and he has continued to make similar claims, despite months of discussion, even to nearly the present day. Consider this quote from 29 March, which ignores all that came before and simply asserts:

As I pointed out at the time, there were about three studies Ullman was pushing at the time, and the 2003 and 2005 cannot possibly be referenced in a 1994 meta-analysis. Virtually all, my hairy arse.

[edit] Section 2: Additional studies

[edit] 2a: Trying to use very small studies, while insisting that large studies that evaluate homeopathy as a whole can't be used

N.B. This section is just a dumping ground at the moment. Skip over it to Section 3

He reverted the removal with this edit summary: My NPOV reference is to a study of this substance! Shang review has nothing to do with this specific chemical.

In Section 3, it will be shown that Ullman regularly claims that large-scale analyses of homeopathy in major journals should not be used in articles on specific homeopathic substances, in favour of small, fringe studies that give results he prefers. As that section isn't done yet - one quick quote:

To be continued.

[edit] Section 2b: Rejecting large-scale studies of homeopathy

[edit] Section 3: Rejection of well-respected journals and mainstream science in favour of more minor journals and fringe science that support his views

[Forthcoming. Quick samples follow] Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 16:04, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

...As for the mechanism of action, it wasn't until somewhat recently that we began to understand how aspirin works...and this didn't influence its acceptability. The reference to the "mechanism of action" has no place here. This article should emphasize what is known, not necessarily what is unknown (if we were to say what we don't know about something, then most of each article would discuss the various things we don't know. Further, this is an article about Arsenicum album, not the entire field of homeopathy. The reference #3, #6, and #7 and the partial sentence connected to it have no place here. Here's what is presently written with my recommended changes (I suggest that we add the above study after reference #5): Some small, preliminary studies claim an effect for arsenicum album;[4][5] however, these are not widely accepted within the scientific community, as there is no known mechanism by which such highly-diluted substances could work, and large scale scientific studies say that any perceived medicinal effects of homeopathy are almost certainly due to the placebo effect.[3][6][7]

Here we see Ullman cavalierly saying we should delete the mainstream view of homeopathy in favour of small, preliminary studies that support his views.

[edit] 3a: The Shang Metaanalysis

Summary: Two discussions on Talk:Arsenicum album are analysed. Although the Shang metaanalysis is published in The Lancet, and comes complete with a glowing editorial by the Lancet's editors, unlike the studies that Ullman likes, where journals and importance are talked up to the skies, in this case, a widely-respected article in a top-tier journal is viciously attacked, using minor, fringe alternative medicine journals.

[edit] Discussion I

A quick note - One gets the feeling that Ullman is responding to something else in his first post, which starts off this thread, as it otherwise comes out of nowhere, and seems to have no relationship to the article in question. However, this is the first post in the thread, so... don't look at me.

[32]

[TBC - need food]

[edit] Discussion II

...[Linde provides much much more damaging analysis of the Shang (2005) review of research (which he and others blow out of the water as unscientific and unethical...yeah, that bad).

The Shang metaanalysis is a highly-respected one published in the journal Lancet, considered one of the top four medical journals. The Lancet editorial published with it attacked homeopathy repeatedly. Let's look at the letter from Linde that Dana says shows that the Shang metaanalysis is "unscientific and unethical". Here's the opening paragraph.

We congratulate Aijing Shang and colleagues1 on their meta-analysis examining the clinical effects of homoeopathy. Their methods largely reproduce those of our meta-analysis on the same topic published in The Lancet 8 years ago.2 We agree that homoeopathy is highly implausible and that the evidence from placebo-controlled trials is not robust. However, there are major problems with the way Shang and colleagues present and discuss their results, as well as how The Lancet reviewed and interpreted this study. We will point out two.

Shang replies to both points in

[Interwiki transcluding is disabled] - they're fairly minor procedural aspects, basically, they didn't follow a guideline that Linde thought they should have, and Linde thought they and the Lancet should have been a bit more temperate in their conclusions. More importantly, Linde NOWHERE says that they were unethical, as DanaUllman claims. The discussion peters out at this point, with a reference to the previous one. Once again, Ullman's claims about sources do not match the source itself.

[edit] Section 4: Conclusions: Is Dana Ullman intentionally misleading us?

[edit] Summary

While there is strong evidence of Ullman making systematic errors and grandiose claims, I do not believe that Ullman's behaviour is evidence of intent to deceive. There is quite a bit of evidence to show that Ullman is simply very sloppy,[Section 1a, etc, as well as little things like mistaking "Little Red Riding Hood" for "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and has an inflated opinion of his own abilities, which combined with the significant investment he's made by having spent his entire adult life advocating for homeopathy, causes him to rate things that support his views much higher than he should [Section 1], while rejecting anything that does not support his views as unimportant or insignificant. [Section 3] While this does mean that he probably genuinely believes what he says at the time, unfortunately, this causes him to be an unreliable source [1a, etc], make it extremely unlikely that he could change his ways, and make him very disruptive to our purpose of making a respectable, mainstream encyclopaedia.

[edit] Discussion

Per REDFLAGWikipedia's W.svg: "Certain red flags should prompt editors to examine the sources for a given claim... [including] claims that are contradicted by the prevailing view within the relevant community, or which would significantly alter mainstream assumptions, especially in science, medicine, history, politics, and BLPs. Be particularly careful when proponents of such claims say there is a conspiracy to silence them... Exceptional claims in Wikipedia require high-quality reliable sources; if such sources are not available, the material should not be included."

Ullman has demonstrated himself prone to inflating the importance of sources he likes the conclusions of, [Section 1 a, b, c-ii] and seems to confuse disagreeing with his conclusions as a violation of good faith [Section 1c pt. ii appendix a], while denegrating respected studies he dislikes the findings of [Section 3]

This puts him in near-constant violation of WP:REDFLAG. He attacks other people that attempt to examine his sources, despite homeopathy "significantly altering mainstream assumptions... in science", particularly at dilutions higher than the Avorogado limit.[See Note 1, below] His habit of claiming, through his over-inflated statements on the importance of the minor studies he quotes [Section 1 a, b, and d], that he, in fact has sufficient evidence, his abuse of WP:RS to claim that it must be included [This will be covered in Section 2], and he also implies, if more weakly than some, that there is a conspiracy to silence him, or at least claims that anyone who disagrees with him is wrong: [33][34] [See also Section 1c, Part ii(a and b).]

Ullman is a tendentious editor [1c-ii] and is prone to confabulation, creating false information that sounds like it might be true but evaporates when investigated [1a]. He has undergone mentorship with LaraLove, but does not seem to have changed the core nature of the problems that make him so difficult to work with on Wikipedia; nor does he seem to have a very high proportion of useful edits to rejected edits and tendentious arguments. Due to Ullman's heavy investment into homeopathy, having dedicated his life to promoting it, it is, perhaps, understandable that he is unwilling to change his views, and will resist any challenges to it. However, even if his behaviour is understandable, that does not make it suitable for Wikipedia: I think it highly unlikely that he is or will be capable of working effectively with others to build a neutral, NPOV (See UNDUEWikipedia's W.svg, NPOV/FAQ#PseudoscienceWikipedia's W.svg) encyclopaedia; nor do I think him likely to ever be able to accurately apply guidelines such as FRINGEWikipedia's W.svg which insist on identifying and emphasising mainstream views at the expense of his strongly-held fringe views; nor do I think he will stop being a tendentious editor and turn into a useful contributor. Let's face it, in the end, he is Dana Ullman, a leading proselytizer of homeopathy. His entire livelihood and career spins around his unwavering belief in and promotion of homeopathy, and emphasising and hyping whatever could possibly be interpreted as positive to homeopathy and denigrating and trying to dismiss anything negative is part and parcel of that. We cannot expect him to change these inherent aspects of his character just because Wikipedia asks him to nicely.

Note 1: Sources for this are numerous, a few taken from the Homeopathy article include Teixeira J (2007). "Can water possibly have a memory? A sceptical view". Homeopathy : the journal of the Faculty of Homeopathy 96 (3): 158-162. Template:Doi, [35], and Whorton, James C. (2004). Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford University Press. Or perhaps This article in Time, which contains quotes such as "'It is just the reverse of everything we believe according to the basic principles of physiology,' declares Professor Varro Tyler of Purdue University, an expert on herbal remedies. 'We believe that the greater the dose, the greater the physiological response. They believe that even after there is no drug left, you still get a response.'" and "Advocates claim that evidence of homeopathy's efficacy is emerging, citing a list of scientific papers published in recent years in such reputable journals as Pediatrics, the British Medical Journal, Lancet and Nature. But there is only a handful of these reports, and they are far from definitive. The ultimate test of scientific validity is whether the results can be duplicated, and so far they have not been." and "Belief is the entire process, contend scientists."

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