The Questionable Authority

Still more “Conservapedia” humor

Quite a few of the others here at Scienceblogs have already taken a few minutes to poke fun at the new radical right attempt at creating an encyclopedia – Conservapedia. (See, for example, here, here, here, here, and here for just a few.) I sort of feel bad about joining in, in a way – the site is so pathetic that it’s almost more sad than funny – but the key word there is “almost.” Conservapedia is worthless as an intellectual resource, but it’s a fantastic repository of accidental humor. There’s enough there that if I ever find myself at a loss for a source of stupidity to blog about, I know where to go.

Before I get into my first look at the humor in the page, there is a serious reason to be (mildly) concerned about Conservapedia. It is representative of a philosophy that seems to be common among a wide range of right-wingers in the United States today: if reality doesn’t match your ideology, rewrite reality and go from there. This would be sad and funny, were it not for the tragic fact that this group of nutcases still has an extensive amount of political clout.

Now, on with the accidental humour show.

One of the things that Conservapedia is very upset about is Wikipedia’s failure to give Christianity credit for the Renaissance. They are so upset about this particular bit of pervasive and pernicious anti-Christian bias that they complain about it not once, but twice – on the main page and in their list of “examples of bias” found in Wikipedia. Strangely enough, though, the Conservapedia entry for “The Renaissance” – wait for it – doesn’t give Christianity credit, and lists humanism as the “primary philosophy of the Renaissance.” (If the page is edited to change that, you’ll still be able to see it by looking at the history tab on the top of the page.)

I guess the liberal bias is so contagious that even they’ve caught a touch of it.


  1. #1 JS
    February 21, 2007


    – JS

  2. #2 jeffk
    February 21, 2007

    OK, I chose a favorite.

    “Einstein never accepted quantum mechanics and his theory of relativity conflicts with it.”

    No kiddin! Gosh, somebody should notify, you know, every living physicist.

    The finer point: Einstein thought QM was incomplete, that there was more hiding behind it. I really doubt he denied it was predictive and descriptive.

  3. #3 JS
    February 22, 2007

    You know the point about QM being incompatible with GR is kinda sorta right, if you squint a bit. The Standard Model of quantum field theory does not line up with GR. Something will have to be modified. My money says QM is more correct than GR.

    – JS

  4. #4 jeffk
    February 22, 2007

    I guess in that sense it could be taken as correct but I don’t think that’s what they intended. This is another “look at those crazy scientists, they disagree and don’t know anything!” conservative sentiment. The implication is that somehow they’re two theories competing over which is correct, when they are both largely are correct. I’d say the standard model is going to need some tweaking, but I bet we know in 5 years.

  5. #5 Steevl
    February 22, 2007

    I’m having tremendous fun. I edited the article on Atheism to point out that it leads to pedophilia and bestiality. I checked back an hour later expecting my edit to be gone, but no: they didn’t remove it, they added citations.

  6. #6 Emily
    February 22, 2007

    This is the best fun I’ve had all week! A search for “God” just now redirected to “Fictional Characters”! The first line of that entry is: “God is pretty popular, but judging by God’s blog, and several thousand years of human history, He’s kind of a dick.”

    It seems the godless atheists are making more use of this farce than the saintly Christians are!

  7. #7 SLC
    February 22, 2007

    Re incompatibility of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

    Whatever incompatibility there may be has little practical relevance because, as Stephen Jay Gould would say, their magisteria are, for all practical, purposes non-overlapping.

  8. #8 JS
    February 24, 2007

    The Standard Model is well known to be incomplete, but the major problem w.r.t. QM and GR is that there has yet to be found a way to quantise the gravitational field that is consistent with GR (AFAIK, there has yet to be found a way to quantize the gravitational field at all).

    That’s generates some major headaches for a lot of particle physicists who are concerned about such things… As I said, my money says that the full quantisation of the G field will cause revisions to GR more than to QM. Of course, that’s just my gut speaking, and I wouldn’t bet serious money in any case.

    – JS

  9. #9 JohnnieCanuck
    February 24, 2007

    Sorry Steevl,

    Longcat edited you out. His take on Atheism could as easily as not have been cut and pasted from Wikipedia. It’s been that way for two days now but I doubt it will last, given that there is no tone of condemnation.

  10. #10 strix
    February 27, 2007

    Good news, Steevl: An Australian IT news service has immortalized your edits:

    “They live their lives according to the rule that ‘anything goes’. In recent years, this has led to a large rise in crime, drug use, pre-marital sex, teenage pregnancy, pedophilia and bestiality.”

  11. #11 tmax
    September 21, 2008

    I’ve always thought it odd that most rabid anti-choicers take infinite solace in their absolute knowledge that a “human life” (*not like the millions aborted by God) begins when the sperm and egg join their chromosomes together…

    never realizing that all of their knowledge of how that happens comes only as a result of Darwin’s incredible insight and thousands of scientists proving him right.

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