Guess Who Altered the Wikipedia Page of an Evolution-Denying Congressman…?

In January of 2011, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) went on Real Time with Bill Maher and proudly admitted he didn’t accept evolution or climate change:

Based on what he said, he clearly didn’t understand evolution or climate change, either. (“I believe I came from God, not from a monkey.”)

Rep. Jack Kingston

I bring this up now because Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski discovered a change in Kingston’s Wikipedia page made over the summer. The section stating that Kingston was an evolution and climate change denier was scrubbed:

More importantly, if you trace back the IP address making the change, you realize it leads right to… the House of Representatives.

In short, someone from within the House (perhaps even someone from Kingston’s office) was trying to whitewash the truth from his Wikipedia page.

But why would someone try to change his page then, more than two years later?

Well, it might have something to do with the fact that Kingston, around that time, announced that he would be running for the seat of retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) in 2014.

I’m sure it’s all just a big coincidence.

For the time being, Kingston’s Wikipedia page includes his science-denialism. Hopefully it stays that way. People should know the truth about him before they vote for his opponents next year.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Rep. Jack Kingston was later overheard saying to his chief of staff, “Ok, that fixes Wikipedia. Now how do I erase the other 30 plus years of mind numbing stupid shit I’ve said and done and thought.”

  • Dave

    3.10 we should keep science out of Washington.
    I don’t believe in evolution, I don’t believe in climate change.
    That’s some dumb shit. They are not belief systems retard, they are evidence based. Unlike your religious belief system.
    He is a congressman?!? I can’t believe he is smart enough to dress himself.

    • Fentwin

      ” I can’t believe he is smart enough to dress himself.”

      That begs the question, does he dress himself? :P

      • The Other Weirdo

        Mallory: “Who dressed you?”
        Archer: “No one, apparently.”
        (Woodhouse corrects Archer’s tie and suit in 2 seconds flat)
        Archer: “What are you doing here? Mother, he’s out, among people.”

  • DKeane123

    I like the climate change “agnostic” too. Carbon dioxide and temperature have “slam dunk” correlations. http://www.wmich.edu/corekids/Climate-Change.htm

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd
      • DKeane123

        Classic

      • John Milligan

        I have that on a T-shirt…

    • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Not just correlation, but well understood causation.

      • DKeane123

        As i was writing it, I thought someone would come back with “correlation does not equal causation”, but I was too lazy. Yes, the physics is certainly there to back the reason for the correlation.

  • baal

    “Science needs to get out of policy and back in the lab”
    Um, no.
    Science needs to be the basis of policy. Without it, you’re doomed to sub-optimal (at best) policy.

    • jimlouvier

      He would prefer policy to be religion based.

      • Lando

        Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

        • ShoeUnited

          Yeah yeah, you promise R’lyeh fhtagn, but how will you deliver it to the common man?

          • Lando

            To borrow from the fundies, ‘If you like your nightmare corpse-city, you can keep your nightmare corpse-city” *erratic hand-waving with a thumbs up*

          • fenaray

            chuckle, chuckle, snort…..

        • baal

          Ia, Ia!

    • Randy Abern

      Religion needs to get out of the lab,the government,and back into the church where mindless zombies belong!

  • Art_Vandelay

    I can see how evolution denial can be used as a political tool. If you’re constantly invoking a specific deity into your campaign strategy, I really think it’s the only intellectually honest position to take. Stupid? Yes? But at least honest. For fuck’s sake though, how did climate change denial become such a huge vote magnet?

    • MN Atheist

      Because Republicans are in bed with the rich. Oil companies are rich. Fossil fuels are responsible for producing much of the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Oil executives deny this, they don’t want us down a different path until the oil is used up. Oil executives pay scientists to teach the Republican representatives that climate change is natural and we have nothing to fear.

      Then come the religious nuts. They like Republicans because they are more godly than other parties. They agree with everything the Republicans say, therefore climate change gets votes.

      And I don’t know jack sh!t about any of it.

      • Randy Abern

        I think overpopulation has a hand in that as well.

        • Robert Carey

          Indeed… a constantly growing populace, with not tnough renewable resources? We should do our part to control the [people] population and have our kids spayed or neutered.

      • Art_Vandelay

        Oh yeah…I know why it appeals to rich people but how did it become such an attractive strategy towards religious people? Is it because they think the apocalypse is coming before we destroy ourselves?

        • Rationalist1

          Gullibility.

        • Jason Adams

          It is precisely because they believe that the “End Times” are coming and their “Messiah” is going to come back and burn the entire world to ash, and then give the “faithful” a completely new perfect world to live in, so why bother taking care of this one? Besides, the bible clearly states that Man has complete and total dominion (i.e. control and authority) over the earth and everything in or on it. So, because it’s Man’s toy, given to him by “God” he can break it or ruin it if he wants to, because their invisible sky-daddy will just give them a new one anyway.

        • MN Atheist

          A point I forgot to make….since they believe that the Earth was created by god, it cannot be destroyed by humans. God is perfection. God has a plan for us. God knew this would happen. Blah, blah, blah.

          How about we start relying on actual living, breathing humans and stop putting your eggs in the god basket!

    • MindofGod

      You really had to ask? Really? People get defensive when their lifestyles or ways of life are criticized, which includes dumping more CO2 into the air than we should be doing. God forbid humanity would take a step back and look at its wrongdoings.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      I think there’s a positive correlation between how directly one’s income depends on fossil fuel production/consumption, and one’s denial of global warming.

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” –Upton Sinclair

    • UWIR

      If the planet can be ruined so easily be humans, that suggests that a defect in creation, which challenges the perfection of God. And there’s the whole Global Government aspect to international efforts to curb AGW.

    • WingedBeast

      It started out as a contribution magnet. But, if conservatives say it enough and liberals say the opposite enough, it becomes a part of “hippy punching”.

  • kccoallday

    It is amazing the lengths that these people will go to in order to defend their Bronze Age mythological beliefs. Notice how he paused when they asked him if he believes in evolution, like he knows that what he is going to say is absurd. Additionally, why remove such references from his biographical page if he does not stand by them? Either stand up for what you claim to believe or admit you were wrong and move on.

    • Crama

      The pause was most likely him calculating how it would play back in his home district. But running for the state office of US Senator, he has to deal with not only those far right conservatives who elected him but all those “others” non-conservative voters, hence the scrubbing of his Wikipedia page. Such “honesty” is commendable.

  • John

    somebody should change the title “climate change” and rename it to “dumping millions of tones of CO2 in the air” …probably then some people will listen more carefully…

    • sTv0

      “tones”?

      • RickyWW

        CO2 makes a lovely sound.

        • sTv0

          :)

      • Thackerie

        Oh. You found a typo. Congratulations.

        • Thin-ice

          But it’s a funny typo, maybe even a malapropism.

    • UWIR

      Dumping millions of tons of CO2 into the air? You mean, breathing? Come on. Your rewording makes AGW less scary, not more.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I love this clip. You see, Kim Campbell was, for a brief period, the Prime Minister of Canada, representing the right wing. Which perfectly represents how relative terms like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ really are.

    *Yes, I know, that was the 80s, and we didn’t have a Tea Party then, and Canada has Stephen Harper now who is right of Kim Campbell.

    • Rationalist1

      She was what we call a Red Tory. She only lasted a month or two because of the legacy of the previous conservative PM and an absolutely appalling ad that seem to make fun of Jean Chretian’s face.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Ya, Jean made mincemeat of that one: “I may talk out of one side of my mouth, but at least I don’t talk out of both sides of my mouth”

    • AxeGrrl

      As I was watching this, I thought “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but man, I miss Kim Campbell“. And this is coming from a bleeding-heart leftie!

      That shows you the depths Stephen Harper has brought us/this country ~ he’s made NDPers and Greens miss a Conservative who wasn’t particularly well-liked by anyone.

      I have a t-shirt idea for the for-fuck’s-sake-it-can’t-come-soon-enough next federal election:

      ‘Mr Harper……you’re good to go’

      (only those who have been following the current senate scandal will know what I’m talking about :)

  • Ross the Boss

    I took a look at the IP addresses editing that page. Seems like that particular block of text is removed and added in back and forth. Further looks at the history of that IP’s edits show many removals of negative facts from R’s and removals of neutral-positive facts from D’s. Also an edit aiming Hitler’s religion as less Catholic.

    I don’t know who this is. And I doubt ze’s the only one. But this is troubling.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/143.231.249.141

    Edit: I could certainly be the case that many of these edits are correct under WP policy or formatting or citation rules. I don’t think this is an overtly malicious attempt. But it does appear to be slanted in one direction.

    It nothing else, this is just evidence of another political battleground.

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Rev. Ouabache

    The Overzealous Staffer strikes again! Seriously though, Wikipedia should go ahead and IP ban all edits coming from the US House and Senate.

  • invivoMark

    Wait, the House of Representatives’ IP is classified as “Type: Corporate”?

    I mean, I know that’s true, I just didn’t expect them to be so candid about it.

  • Dan Weeks

    For the good people of Georgia, I would imagine that strong science-denialism would be a plus.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      It may be depend on which part of Georgia. If you’re in a deep red rural district, I’m sure that is true. If you want to being in votes from the bigger and bluer districts, such as Atlanta, that may be less true. Thus the edit when he decided to run for a state-wide office.

  • milwaukeeprogressiveexaminer

    Actually this is good, it shows it is a liability to be a creationist in Georgia in terms of winning U.S. Senate election. Progress.

  • The Other Weirdo

    And this is why Wikipedia articles about people is not research, but a catfight.

  • Cat’s Staff

    How about a new entry… “Rep. Kingston denies his simian heritage…the only other possibility is that he’s a lizard person from outer space”.

  • Jason Hinchliffe

    Yes, let’s keep science out of politics. In which case we should shut down any and all insurance programs (actuarial science), infrastructure development (engineering), NASA (pretty much everything) and the military (pretty much everything again).

  • Mitch

    Hopefully people interested in that election will do a little more research into the candidates than a quick wikipedia scan. His views will become clear through other means.

    • Mario Strada

      Yes, most will look next to the candidates names to see if there is a D or an R.

      • scipio1

        The way the R’s have let the talibangelists and science deniers take over their party, can you blame folks?

  • Rationalist1

    We need to all stop saying we believe in evolution. Even if you’re asked “Do you believe in evolution” answer “of course not”. Then pause for a moment and continue saying. “I accept evolution as a fact because of overwhelming evidence. Belief, meaning acceptance without evidence, is not required, and is not a virtue”.

    • Artor

      Exactly. I don’t believe in evolution any more than I believe in rocks, or sunlight.

    • http://lady-die.deviantart.com/ LizzyJessie

      In a world of sound bites and cherry picking statements, I’d have phrased the answer a lot differently. First of all, I wouldn’t open up with “Of course not.” The rest of your answer would be cut off and they would have exactly what they want to support their position.

      The rest of your answer is a bit wordy and long. I’d shorten it and rearrange the phrasing a bit to read like this: “Belief is not a virtue. I accept evolution as a fact because of overwhelming evidence.”

      • Rationalist1

        Fair enough. I’ll use your version . It’s short enough to tweet (something I admit I’ve never done). Thanks.

    • Gehennah

      Depends on the definition of believe being used, but I have to agree with Lizzy, saying “of course not…” just opens you up for a quote mine.

      “see, Rationalist1, an atheist, doesn’t believe evolution is true, there is such a rift in the atheist community”

      But using the term “I accept it….” is usually much harder to be taken out of context.

      Of course that still won’t stop some people from finding a way.

  • A3Kr0n

    Woo Hoo! I remembered my wiki login from, like 10 million years ago.

    • The Other Weirdo

      What does Sims having a baby have to do with this discussion?

  • Rain

    Possibly the dumbest “Rep. (R-GA)” in history.

  • $925105

    It takes a severe dumbass to be proud of his ignorance.

  • AxeGrrl

    A politician with an R in front of his name not accepting evolution isn’t terribly surprising……

    but D.L.Hughley doesn’t accept evolution??

    *facepalm*

    Not that he’s been a poster boy for reason or anything, but he’s always struck me as being intelligent ~ finally admitting (after Maher’s pestering) that he doesn’t believe in evolution reminds me of finding out that Jason Lee Is a Scientologist.

  • Dave The Sandman

    Seems this isnt an isolated incident involving someone at the HOR carefully editing his profile:

    The one mentioned in this article was edited on the 15th Nov then restored back on the 19th.

    Exactly the same deletion and restoration took place on the 12th and 13th of June 2013 – again the restoration statement is “Restoring content removed by IP registered to United States House of Representatives. See WP:COI” You can view the archived pages and see it is the creationism section that gets deleted then restored.

    Naughty naughty!

    A bit further down you also see that a user had to edit out the false claim that his father was an author – “(→‎Early life, education, and business career: “author” was not an appropriate description of the father)”

  • Thomas Bennett

    This type of ass-hattery is a symptom of a larger problem. Successful businesses spend quite a bit of time and effort to recruit managers suited to the task. Management and administration skills take years to acquire and some individuals are simply better at it than others. Being a good manager requires both an understanding of what you are managing, a finance department or and R&D department, and the basic skill set to get the most out of the people you manage.

    There are many unsuccessful businesses that are run like a high school student body. Managers are chosen for their popularity with the upper management and usually promoted from within the company. Having dealt with this I can attest that it is disastrous. That a person may be a good worker does not guarantee that they will be a good leader. Additionally, it takes a fair amount of effort to ingratiate yourself to upper management so that’s your focus – not effective management.

    Politicians are elected to office in this country based on their ability to get elected to office. Every Time one succeeds we have, in essence, placed someone in a position to lead and make critical decisions when their only demonstrable skill is electioneering.

    I suppose if we were, as a nation, in the business of getting elected to do something that would be fine…it’s not.

    Truthfully, we would be better off if our political offices were staffed by random draft. Hey Joe you just got a letter….apparently you’ve been called for Congress duty – I guess it beats jury duty.


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