I have a good friend who's a surgeon at a big, well-known hospital. Not so long ago, he told me that he'd often use Google to look up details on a surgery he was about to perform, as it was often a great way to remind him of certain things, or even to reacquaint himself with a few important points for the surgery. He thought it was silly that doctors bashed such things, as it wasn't like all of his medical training and surgical experience and knowledge went out the window by reading up on things online. It reminded me of one of the typical complaints
against Wikipedia: that you wouldn't want your brain surgery conducted by the crowd reading Wikipedia, but by a surgeon trained at a medical school. That, of course is a silly strawman
, since (a) you wouldn't want someone to conduct brain surgery if they learned about it solely from any
written source, rather than going to medical school and (b) it assumed that of all the people looking at and editing Wikipedia, none of them were brain surgeons themselves.
I'm thinking of this, as I see this story noting that 50% of doctors admit to doing research on Wikipedia
. I'd guess a few of them are even brain surgeons. So can we get rid of this stupid claim that Wikipedia isn't trustworthy? The studies mentioned in the article found that medical info on Wikipedia has a very high level of accuracy. No, no one's learning brain surgery from Wikipedia, but to pretend its not a useful resource
among many others is simply ignoring reality.