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View Full Version : Wiki article on deferents and epicycles revisited



Hornblower
2015-Jul-31, 10:53 PM
From a thread I opened five years ago:


Caution: Self-contradictory Wiki article on Ptolemy and Copernicus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deferent_and_epicycle

The first half is in my opinion reasonably accurate and well written. Then it abruptly flip-flops into asserting that Copernicus developed a vastly simpler model, with far fewer circles, apparently in line with the bad popular writing I remember as a child. In between, the editors acknowledge a contradiction and are asking for help.

This supports the common recommendation in this forum that we need to be wary of taking Wiki as a reliable source. There easily could be other articles with similar internal problems that are not as obvious as this one.

That link still works, and it is apparent that the article has been vastly revised and enhanced in the meantime. In my opinion the writers have done very well in putting things in perspective and addressing the fallacies that were consequences of bad writing on the topic at various time.

As I understand it, there are many writers working diligently out of a "labor of love" to make these Wiki articles as good as possible and making them good starting points for us to use in doing research on our own. Lets give them a round of applause.