Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Ladies and Gentlemen, Conservapedia

A long time reader emailed me a link to Conservapedia, a conservative version of Wikipedia that promises over 3200 “educational, clean and concise entries” on a variety of topics, all designed to counter their perception that Wikipedia is “increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American.” As evidence for this anti-Christian bias, they offer:

On Wikipedia, many of the dates are provided in the anti-Christian “C.E.” instead of “A.D.”, which Conservapedia uses.

Oh my god, how anti-Christian! On the other hand, you get nothing but pro-Christian objectivity at Conservapedia, as shown in the “Today in History” item on the front page for February 2nd:

Did you know that faith is a uniquely Christian concept? Add to the explanation of what it means, and how it does not exist on other religions.

I’m not sure which will come as more of a surprise to the adherents of other religions, that they don’t have faith or that Christians invented faith on February 2nd. Conservapedia includes an entire page full of examples of “bias” at Wikipedia and some of them are rather amusing. Like #8 for instance:

Gossip is pervasive on Wikipedia. Many entries read like the National Enquirer. For example, Wikipedia’s entry on Nina Totenberg states, “She married H. David Reines, a trauma physician, in 2000. On their honeymoon, he treated her for severe injuries after she was hit by a boat propeller while swimming.” That sounds just like the National Enquirer, and reflects a bias towards gossip. Conservapedia avoids gossip and vulgarity, just as a true encyclopedia does.

Uh, yeah, that’s just the sort of thing you’d read about in the National Enquirer. Except in the National Enquirer version, Reines would have been having an affair with Paris Hilton during the surgery before she checked into a clinic for teatment for anorexia in the room next to Jennifer Aniston. This is a rather odd definition of “gossip”, but nowhere near as odd as their definition of “objective” as seen in #15:

Unlike most encyclopedias and news outlets, Wikipedia does not exert any centralized authority to take steps to reduce bias or provide balance; it has a “neutral point of view” policy but the policy is followed only to the extent that individual editors acting in social groups choose to follow it. For example, CNN would ensure that Crossfire had a representative of the political right and one from the political left. In contrast, Wikipedia policy allows bias to exist and worsen. For example, even though most Americans (and probably most of the world) reject the theory of evolution,[6] Wikipedia editors commenting on the topic are nearly 100% pro-evolution.[7] Self-selection has a tendency to exacerbate bias in the absence of affirmative steps to limit it. Gresham’s Law reflects the problem in economics of bad money driving out good in the absence of corrective action. As a result, Wikipedia is arguably more biased than CNN and other information sources.

This is a rather bizarre, internally incoherent defiition of objectivity. It’s not objective withotu a “centralized authority” that will “reduce bias and provide balance.” And then in the very next sentence, the complaint is that bias is not reduced by “centralized authority” but by including whatever ideas are popular with the public. Then it says:

The above paragraph was posted on the Wikipedia entry for “Wikipedia”, under bias, but its editors then illustrated their bias by replacing the above with this: “Ojective [sic], or neutrally biased, articles present different opinions as equally legitimate regardless of validity, while unbiased articles focus on accuracy and validity. For example, the evolution article is not objective because it does not present creationism, a counter argument to evolution, as a valid scientific theory. However, this does not make the article biased because evolution is an accepted scientific theory. CNN’s Crossfire, on the other hand, was considered objective[citation needed] because it had representatives from the political right from the political left.”

An even more bizarre definition of objectivity, the notion that you can only show you’re not biased by presenting both reality and un-reality as equally plausible. Aren’t conservatives supposed to be opposed to this kind of postmodernist nonsense? Yes, there is an objective truth. Evolution is true, creationism is false. An encyclopedia that presented astronomy and astrology as equally plausible “theories” is not objective, it’s objectively idiotic. I bet the Wikipedia entry for gravity doesn’t present the “angels pushing the planets in their orbits theory” as a valid alternative either. That doesn’t mean the entry is biased, it means reality is biased.

So they claim that Wikipedia’s article on evolution is biased because “most Americans (and probably most of the world) reject the theory of evolution”, yet if you look at #23 on their list, they use the following quote from Robert McHenry, a former editor of Encylopedia Brittanica:

One simple fact that must be accepted as the basis for any intellectual work is that truth – whatever definition of that word you may subscribe to – is not democratically determined.

Exactly right. Objectivity is adherence to what is true, not by balancing truth with nonsense. This site is so bad it reads like a parody.

Comments

  1. #1 Raging Bee
    February 20, 2007

    This sounds like it could grow into a viable strategy for extremists who want to keep their followers isolated from reality: simply create their own “reality,” with its own encyclopedias and other authoritative-looking backups, so people won’t have to — or think they have to — look outside their own bubble-verse for any answer to any question that might pop up in their minds.

    And the Internet makes it possible for any cult or loonie-fringe to do this, without all the trouble and expense of printing books on paper.

  2. #2 Dave
    February 20, 2007

    Well, what else are they supposed to do when the facts are biased against their faith?

    Maybe Christopedia or Christophilia would be more accurate than Conservapedia.

  3. #3 abbenm
    February 20, 2007

    It’s also incorrect that there isn’t a centralized authority on Wikipedia. There is a well developed oversight system of administrators, mediators and arbitrators who can resolve disputes with binding conclusions. If this is a basis of criticism against Wikipedia, where is Conservapedia’s centralized, authoritative body for policing it’s bias?

  4. #4 Lettuce
    February 20, 2007

    The entire entry (currently) under “Liberal”:

    A liberal in the early 1800s in Europe was one who favored more powerful elected assemblies. The term was common in France shortly after the French Revolution.

    And under “Conservative”:

    Of or relating to Conservatism.

    There’s no “article” on Conservatism.

    And Libertarian:

    A libertarian believes in eliminating most laws concerning moral behavior, including laws against abortion, drug use, same-sex marriage, anticompetitive conduct, trade, and limits on immigration. Libertarians tend to attracted to the logical simplicity of the ideas.
    There are more libertarians than members of the Libertarian Party.

    They seem to be copying a dictionary.

  5. #5 Halcyon
    February 20, 2007

    They also seem to be down, or my computer just doesn’t like their page.

  6. #6 DuWayne
    February 20, 2007

    Raging Bee -

    This sounds like it could grow into a viable strategy for extremists who want to keep their followers isolated from reality: simply create their own “reality,” with its own encyclopedias and other authoritative-looking backups, so people won’t have to — or think they have to — look outside their own bubble-verse for any answer to any question that might pop up in their minds.

    This is just what these folks have been doing for a long time. One of my friend’s from church (from when I was a teen) was homeschooled. His dad said, on more than one occasion, that the reason a woman should go to college, is to make her qualified to teach her children at home.

    All of their text books came, either from a Christian publishing house, or off the list of approved texts from the same publisher (sorry, I don’t recall the name of the publisher). They also had a set of encyclopidia’s from the same publisher.

    I do remember bits of their encyclopidia’s entry on evolution though. It actually did a fair job of explaining evolution, but then added the disclamer; “Of course, we know this to be absolutely false. A lie of massive preportions, designed to destroy the Christian faith.” It then went on to eplain several reasons why this lie had been constructed – which all boiled down to it being a tool of Satan. It then reffered the reader, to the article entitled; The Wonder of God’s Creation, a YEC explanation – need I say more?

    They had volumes and volumes of anti-science, anti-intellectual screeds, who’s ultimate source, always came back to the bible.

  7. #7 Lettuce
    February 20, 2007

    OMG, just followed the links to the broader “discussion” of evolution at Conservapedia…

    Must. Pluck. Out. Eyes.

  8. #8 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 20, 2007

    An even more bizarre definition of objectivity, the notion that you can only show you’re not biased by presenting both reality and un-reality as equally plausible.

    But Ed, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

  9. #9 Shap
    February 20, 2007

    I went to this website to search for God. Here is what I found:

    “There is no page titled “god”. You can create this page.

    No page title matches
    No page text matches”

    Darn Atheist website!!!!

    –Interesting, though, that I can ‘create’ the page, if I want. Does that make ME the designer?

  10. #10 Mick
    February 20, 2007

    The article on faith lists the Wikipedia article on faith as its sole reference.
    I wonder how it defines irony?

  11. #11 s. zeilenga
    February 20, 2007

    Unfortunately, this type of hiding from the world is seen far too often. Even as a YEC myself, it seems extremely silly to build secluded communities away from argument or challenge. Can’t stand the heat so they build a fridge. Ok, stupid analogy, but people like this make me a little frustrated.

    z.

  12. #12 nicole
    February 20, 2007

    I decided to give it a whirl and look up atheism.

    Atheism is the disbelief in the existence of any God. This disbelief can take a number of forms, such as the assertion that deities do not exist or the absence of any belief in any God.

    Does that entry sound contradictory to anyone else?

    I also thought it was strange that the Bias in Wikipedia page complains about British spellings.

  13. #13 Flying Fox
    February 20, 2007

    Mick:
    Based on what we’ve seen, I’d guess they define irony as “possessing qualities of or similar to iron.” Just a guess.

  14. #14 The Decidenator
    February 20, 2007

    This is very objective:

    Pierce Butler (1866-1939) was perhaps the finest Supreme Justice ever.

  15. #15 Joe Shelby
    February 20, 2007

    Darn. Mustafa Mond, FCD beat me to it.

  16. #16 tacitus
    February 20, 2007

    Blackadder: “Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is?”
    Baldrick: “Yes, it’s like goldy and bronzy only it’s made out of iron.”

  17. #17 RickD
    February 20, 2007

    Most Americans don’t believe in evolution? Well, I wouldn’t quite say that’s the case.

    If you ask a question along the lines of “do you believe in God, or do you believe in evolution like the filthy atheists?” then people will say they believe in God. But I’m fairly sure that most people accept the theory of evolution.

    The whole C.E./A.D. thing is indicative of what Christians consider “bias” to be. A.D. means “in the year of our lord” after all. The majority of humans on this Earth are not, after all, Christians, and have little interest in invoking the Christian God every time they simply say the year. Hence, “C.E. = common era”.

    Somehow, the resistance to the idea that Christian notions should extend to all peoples is seen as “anti-Christian bias”.

    Some Christians are real weenies! I have to think people who are so intent on seeing their faith universally praised in public fora don’t actually have much faith to begin with. All they have is aggression.

  18. #18 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    Check out their partial list of US Presidents:
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Presidents_of_the_United_States

    According to this:
    1. Washington was a devout Christian, and this is a undisputable as his patriotism.

    2. Jefferson wasn’t really a deist, but if he was, it doesn’t matter anyway because he had many failures, including, apparently, the “controversial Louisiana Purchase”.

    3. Lincoln became a Christian by inserting the words “under God” into the Gettysburg address.

  19. #19 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    Didn’t you know abortion causes breast cancer?

    Nope? Probably because the “abortion industry” has kept this secret from the public. Except for all the overwhelming majority of publicly known scientific studies.

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Abortion

  20. #20 Ted
    February 20, 2007

    This is just what these folks have been doing for a long time. One of my friend’s from church (from when I was a teen) was homeschooled. His dad said, on more than one occasion, that the reason a woman should go to college, is to make her qualified to teach her children at home.

    And rightly they should be homeschooled, lest they be destroyed by the socialist left:

    Last night on Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, right-wing radio host Neal Boortz claimed that teachers unions are “destroying a generation” and are “much more dangerous than al Qaeda.” He stated, “Look, Al Qaeda, they could bring in a nuke into this country and kill 100,000 people with a well-placed nuke somewhere. Ok. We would recover from that. It would be a terrible tragedy, but the teachers unions in this country can destroy a generation.” Sean Hannity agreed, noting, “They are ruining our school system.”

    It’s best we keep our kids secluded safe at home and away from dangerous ideas.

  21. #21 Greta Christina
    February 20, 2007

    What RickD said.

    I too was struck by “On Wikipedia, many of the dates are provided in the anti-Christian “C.E.” instead of “A.D.”…” I never cease to be amazed at how the Christian Right interprets “non-Christian” as “anti-Christian.”

    It’s like the so-called “war on Christmas.” In their eyes, wishing people “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas” isn’t simply a well-mannered acknowledgment of the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. It’s an attack on Christmas.

  22. #22 kemibe
    February 20, 2007

    Like most of you I went straight for the “evolution” page, which was at least as much of a bad joke as I figured it would be. I’m not going to complain about Pervertapedia, though; in fact, if its existence draws the whackballs away from Wikipedia itself — and there’s no guaratee they’ll quit rubbing their boogers all over those pages just because they have their own snotboard now — Wikipedia can only become a better resource. Fewer moles and fewer holes.

  23. #23 tacitus
    February 20, 2007

    Love their classification of historical periods, starting with:

    Ancient History (Creation-500 AD)

  24. #24 NonyNony
    February 20, 2007

    You know, I wonder how long it will take people to “pull a Colbert” on the Conservapedia and put in entries that just agressively agree with whatever the conservative position is on the topic, but taken to the absurd degree? Would people figure it out and delete them, or could it even match the looniness they have there?

    Wikiality indeed.

  25. #25 tacitus
    February 20, 2007

    Give the amateurish mistakes, biases and prejudices present on that site, I would be very surprised if any mainstream conservatives will pay it much heed. Conservapedia is doomed to become yet another fringe, crackpot right-wing site frequented by religious zealots with little interest in reality.

  26. #26 Ted
    February 20, 2007

    It’s like the so-called “war on Christmas.” In their eyes, wishing people “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas” isn’t simply a well-mannered acknowledgment of the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. It’s an attack on Christmas.

    The offense comes from the aspect that public, mall-Christmas is really just a marketing construct that they’ve adopted as their own religion. In short, they’ve come to own the holiday that was thrust upon them by TV, media and advertisements.

    When we fail to validate them explicitly with what is part and parcel wall street’s vision, it is seen as a hostile affront to their particular brand of religiosity — post-modern, redefined, capitalist Christianity.

    The Conservapedia is a stroke of Wile E. Coyote genius (no matter how bad the content is) because they think can keep themselves secluded by linking for their captive audience. Exceptin, that wiki’s are open systems or they don’t work.

    So, my question is, what’s to keep non-conservatives from contributing content. We can laugh at them but really this is a great opportunity to get in there and fix it for them. They’re deciding to use a wiki (what-I-know-is) methodology which by default is an invitation to openness and inclusiveness. We can’t directly fix the rubbish on WorldNutDaily but a wiki is an invitation to correct grammar at least…

    By hook or by crook, we should be looking to bring these sheltered people into the light, no matter how much they slink into the shadows. If they take up tools like wiki, it’s time to school them.

  27. #27 Blake Stacey
    February 20, 2007

    With any luck, Stephen Colbert will do a segment on this, and Conservapedia will melt under the load of collegiate pranksters.

  28. #28 Blake Stacey
    February 20, 2007

    Oops, their server is down, so I couldn’t verify that their “Bias in Wikipedia” page actually says the following:

    Self-selection has a tendency to exacerbate bias in the absence of affirmative steps to limit it. Gresham’s Law reflects the problem in economics of bad money driving out good in the absence of corrective action.

    Communists!

  29. #29 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    I’ve noticed that they’re having server problems too. I wonder of Ed’s link-love has crashed them?

    According to this link ( http://www.conservapedia.com/Miracle ), the scientific definition of a miracle is “a net decrease in entropy”.

  30. #30 Brandon
    February 20, 2007

    With any luck, Stephen Colbert will do a segment on this

    He’s three steps ahead of ya.
    http://www.wikiality.com/

  31. #31 Tim
    February 20, 2007

    It is perhaps telling that the first of the “quick links” on the main page is “Articles for deletion”.

    I’m guessing it’s probably in case too many of the entries display a conservative bias and they need to delete a few in order to maintain their objectivity and neutrality.

  32. #32 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    Apparently their main source of ‘scienciness’ is a home school book publisher called Apologia Educational Ministries.

    A search of that name gives 470 different physics, chemistry and biology terms that use it as an authoritative reference.

  33. #33 John Lynch
    February 20, 2007

    The site is owned by Andrew Schlafly, General Counsel for (conservative) Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. No surprises.

  34. #34 FishyFred
    February 20, 2007

    Ed, you are going to LOVE this. According to the Wikipedia entry on Eagle Forum,

    Eagle Forum is connected with Eagle Forum University, which offers conservative-oriented online courses on topics such as American History 101. Eagle Forum University courses make use of Conservapedia, a nascent wiki-based online encyclopedia with a conservative point of view.

    The Eagle Forum is run by the one and only Phyllis Schlafly. Delicious.

    P.S. Any student that cites Wikipedia or an open encyclopedia should be smacked upside the head. STUPID.

  35. #35 Rich C.
    February 20, 2007

    I love that their idea of mathematics is just algebra and geometry. If your audience can’t anything beyond, I guess it doesn’t matter.

    Also, they seem to have the links switched (Alg. for Geo. & visa versa). I wonder how long it will be before anyone notices.

    Topics are very sparse even for those two fields.

  36. #36 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    I’m relearning everything with this site. How wonderful!

    The “Scopes_Trial” entry tells us that Al Gore lost the 2000 election due to this 80 year old court case.

    And all this time I thought it was the Renquist court that made Gore lose. Who knew?

  37. #37 Blake Stacey
    February 20, 2007

    Actually, on their list of grievances, they complain that Wikipedia doesn’t have coverage of “elementary proofs”, a term which is too vague to allow any reasonable response. Their article entitled “elementary proof” is also incoherent.

  38. #38 Blake Stacey
    February 20, 2007

    . . . and have you noticed that they call their rules The Conservapedia Commandments? Cree-ee-py. . . .

  39. #39 nicole
    February 20, 2007

    Checked out Blake Stacey’s link to the Conservapedia Commandments, and here’s that spelling obsession again:

    As much as is possible, American spelling of words must be used.[1]
    ↑ You will only be blocked for violating command 5 if you repeatedly change words from American spelling to another spelling.

    First of all, who would “repeatedly change words from American spelling to another spelling”? Do they really think that there are scary leftists around making their mark by using British/Canadian/etc orthography? But more importantly, don’t they think there are conservatives from anyplace besides the United States? I find that almost as ridiculous as the fact that they don’t have a page up yet for “conservatism”.

  40. #41 FhnuZoag
    February 20, 2007

    Hilariously, one of their ‘commandments’ is:

    “Do not post personal opinion on an encyclopedia entry.”

    Uh sure. No opinion on a site called Conservapedia.

  41. #42 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    The entries for Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are all way too simplified (and also more than a bit insulting).

    But what I find really strange is that there isn’t a page at all for Christianity or any of the major Christian denominations.

  42. #43 Blake Stacey
    February 20, 2007

    I find an insistence upon “American spelling” and BC/AD dating at least as obsessive and trivially minded as any supposed “celebrity gossip” in Wikipedia. How could the choice of a spelling or dating convention have importance remotely comparable to an insistence on truth and verifiability? Commandment number one is “Everything you post must be true and verifiable”, yet by commandment three we’re already forbidding “gossip foul language”, and commandments five and six prohibit Common Era dates and British spelling. This is not a rational complaint; it’s a patchwork assembly of irritations.

    Conservatism, as far as the community behavior of this site is concerned, is really a codeword for authoritarianism. It’s all there on their grievances-against-Wikipedia page: without centralized regulation, the only possible result is decadence and decay. A free market of ideas? Perish the thought. Conservatism, as practiced here, is not a coherent political or social philosophy. Instead, it is the state of having a filing cabinet for a mind and uncritically accepting memes without logical thought.

    Their examples of Wikipedian bias would better serve as textbook cases of poor thinking, selection bias and obfuscation. To pick just one:

    Wikipedia claims about 1.5 million articles, but what it does not say is that a large number of those articles have zero educational value. For example, Wikipedia has 1075 separate articles about “Moby” and “song”. Many hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles — perhaps over half its website — are about music, Hollywood, and other topics beneath a regular encyclopedia. This reflects a bias towards popular gossip rather than helpful or enlightening information.

    First, saying that topics are “beneath a regular encyclopedia” rather begs the question, doesn’t it? And then, a quick site-specific Google search reveals 692 pages containing the words Moby and song, some of which are organizational in nature (“Category: Moby songs”). Other mentions are incidental, such as a list of all songs named “Beautiful”. Giving the impression that all of the 600-odd hits are full-fledged encyclopedia articles is disingenuous at best. Since any further refinements to the search would reduce the amount of material returned, I wonder how they got their figure of 1,075.

    Let’s try a control experiment. Performing the same search on the words Beethoven and symphony returns 1,340 results! There are more hits for Mozart concerto than for Moby song, and hundreds for Bach fugue. Plainly, the good stuff is there, if you look for it.

    Bah. I’ve wasted enough ATP on this.

  43. #44 Keanus
    February 20, 2007

    These people are in the same business as the old soviets, with their encyclopedia in which all inventions of anything were attributed to Russian communists, and the Bush administration which had the hubris to claim they could create their own reality. As someone before me noted, reality has a liberal bias from the perspective of the conservapedia, therefore we need to create our own reality–the one defined by the Christian bible.

  44. #45 kehrsam
    February 20, 2007

    The problem, of course, is a variation on what Larry Speakes once said at a Reagan-era press conference: “If I say it three times, it’s true.” Conservatives have gotten very good at framing debates. Clinton, Gore, and Kerry all get the reputation for having their finger to the wind, and no one notices? Meanwhile the Great Decider can say (while campaigning) that we will never again stoop to “nation-building” but later decides we can remake the entire Muslim world? Who is the flip-flopper?

    I lived in D.C. while the Moonies sunk half a billion dollars into the Washington Times and related periodicals. Sure enough, through time, money, and the glory of repetition, they became regarded as a legitimate news source. Fox News made the jump even quicker.

    If Weyrich and Schlaffly are really behind Conservapedia, it will gain recognition over time. At the moment it may just be an outlet for the fantasies of the Free Republic trolls. But then, the first time I heard of Wikipedia was in terms of defining various Japanese anime characters. Funny how that doesn’t last forever.

  45. #46 Ed Darrell
    February 20, 2007

    Years ago on the AOL boards a guy was defending “A.D.” as the Christian designation, meaning, he said, “After Death” of Christ.

    We pointed out that it’s a Catholic phrase, Anno Domini. The guy was crushed, since, he said (as we expected) Catholics are not Christian, either.

    Ah, I love the smell of hubris married to gross ignorance on the internet!

  46. #47 jpf
    February 20, 2007

    Check out their change log to see Andrew Schlafly (“Aschlafly”) bickering with people and threatening bannings. Given how draconian conservatives/creationists are with policing comments in blogs for any dissenting thoughts, can a conservative wiki really work?

  47. #48 doctorgoo
    February 20, 2007

    This is my favorite entry so far: Kangaroo

    Like all modern animals, modern kangaroos originated in the Middle East and are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah’s Ark prior to the Great Flood. It has not yet been determined whether kangaroos form a holobarmin with the wallaby, tree-kangaroo, wallaroo, pademelon and quokka, or if all these species are in fact apobaraminic or polybaraminic.

    After the Flood, kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia. There is debate whether this migration happened over land — as Australia was still for a time connected to the Middle East before the supercontinent of Pangea broke apart — or if they rafted on mats of vegetation torn up by the receding flood waters.

    Oh. My. God. …this is so DUMB!

    Ed, I think you’ve found a new goldmine of idiocy to sustain your blog for the next 50 years.

  48. #49 Ed Brayton
    February 20, 2007

    Good lord, that’s idiotic. Both possibilities are patently absurd. The notion that there was only one supercontinent in just the last 4500 years is stunningly ridiculous. Good god, do they think that the continents just float around like icebergs? Continental drift happens incredibly slowly over millions and millions of years. If it didn’t, life would be all but impossible. The heat released by tectonic shifting, if compressed into just a few thousand years, would be enormous. And the idea that kangaroos floated on mats of vegetation from the Mediterranean to Australia may be even more absurd.

  49. #50 Blake Stacey
    February 20, 2007

    Well, it looks like they’ve ditched the “true and verifiable” commandment!

    jpf inquired,

    Check out their change log to see Andrew Schlafly (“Aschlafly”) bickering with people and threatening bannings. Given how draconian conservatives/creationists are with policing comments in blogs for any dissenting thoughts, can a conservative wiki really work?

    Well, a conservative wiki, in the economic sense of the word, doesn’t sound like a terrible stretch of the imagination, but an authoritarian wiki — which is what these people really want to build — is a contradiction in terms!

  50. #51 tacitus
    February 20, 2007

    Read the entry for C.E.

    http://www.conservapedia.com/CE

    Now read the discussion page for the same entry:

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Talk:CE

    It’s pretty sad when there is more accurate information in one paragraph on the discussion page than there is in the whole original entry.

    And elsewhere they are discussing the practicality of including text from the Creationist Wiki site…

    It’s clear that Schaffley is in over his head. I give it a few months before the whole thing implodes into irrelevance.

  51. #52 Chris Noble
    February 20, 2007

    HIV/AIDS Denial Wiki

    The ultimate groupthink tool.

    With only basic computer skills you too can create your own reality!

  52. #53 Roadtripper
    February 20, 2007

    Well, I needed a good laugh. And the pseudo-scientific word of the day is “polybaraminic.” Guess I’ll have to check Conservapedia’s entry on baraminology to figure all this out, since my biology professor skipped over that whole unit, for some reason.

    Wow. Un-freaking-believable.

    Rt.

  53. #54 glenstein
    February 20, 2007

    And you can’t see it now, but I would have to say that the Bill Clinton article trumps all of those listed above on outrageousness. Please, if someone can get through to the site, please, just quote part of the Bill Clinton article and show them what I am talking about.

  54. #55 Chris Noble
    February 20, 2007

    Schlafly!

    Roger Schlafly an antivaccination kook is Andrew’s brother.

    Antivaccination

  55. #56 Ira Fews
    February 21, 2007

    How long do you give this one, published at 12:09 a.m. EST on Feb. 21?

    (In case they zap it, screen shot)

  56. #57 DuWayne
    February 21, 2007

    Sorry, glenstein, Too long to quote the whole thing, couldn’t decide what to paste. I find this one, far more amusing. Especialy considering how long the post on Clinton was.

    George W. Bush

    Is the president of the United States of America. Was elected in 2001, and then re-elected in 2004.

    Apparently, he’s not nearly important enough to talk about. Bit of a sore point maybe?

  57. #58 tacitus
    February 21, 2007

    Someone plagiarized this entry from a grade school assignment:

    Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States. He was a democrat who served from 1977-1981, after being the governor of Georgia. Unfortunately, his method of leading was not compatible with Congress, as a result he couldn’t get things done. During his presidency he experienced many trying problems such as inflation, energy crisis and worst of all the taking of American citizens as hostages by Iran. In 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace.

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Jimmy_Carter

  58. #59 Alejandro
    February 21, 2007

    I found this entry to be surprinsingly sparse and objective. Also, of questionable grammar:

    Bible:

    A collection of acient texts written by about different 40 men over the course some 4,000 years. Christians believe these men were under Divine inspriration, and the Bible is God’s infalliable Word to men.

  59. #60 windy
    February 21, 2007

    The notion that there was only one supercontinent in just the last 4500 years is stunningly ridiculous. Good god, do they think that the continents just float around like icebergs? Continental drift happens incredibly slowly over millions and millions of years.

    Maybe Noah knew the secret song that makes things go faster.

  60. #61 RickD
    February 21, 2007

    If you’re going to believe that kangaroos were on the Ark, and that the entire Earth was flooded, you might as well simply have Noah drop them off in Australia after the rains subsided.
    And then he could drop off the penguins in Anartica, the polar bears in Greenland, turtles in the Galapagos, etc.

    (Hmmm—maybe I shouldn’t help the Xtians make up new stories.)

  61. #62 Ick of the East
    February 21, 2007

    I second the Colbert motion.
    This is a great opportunity for subtle sarcasm that, as always, will be completely missed by these unitards.

  62. #63 Jim Ramsey
    February 21, 2007

    “Did you know that faith is a uniquely Christian concept? Add to the explanation of what it means, and how it does not exist on other religions”

    Just one minor point, but there is this little book right in the middle of the Bible named “Psalms”. I think a quick tour might show a number of expressions of faith in God that were written down long before Jesus was born.

  63. #64 doctorgoo
    February 21, 2007

    According to the entry on the Holocaust, “[it] is a very touchy subject for the Jews and is not often discussed amongst them.”

    Oy Vey! *rolls eyes*

  64. #65 Leni
    February 21, 2007

    Compare this revised version to Ira Fews’ screenshot of the original entry:

    Marcus S. Ross is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) who was awarded a Ph.D. in geology by the University of Rhode Island in December 2006.

    Ross’ receiving his doctorate, which was publicized in a New York Times article, raised eyebrows in the notoriously bitter liberal academic community; as a group, liberals cannot understand why someone who openly believes that the earth is less than 10,000 years old could be judged an expert in earth science by fully qualified faculty.

    Retrieved from “http://www.conservapedia.com/Marcus_Ross”

    LOL! It’s almost endearing it’s so pathetic.

  65. #66 raj
    February 21, 2007

    Colbert is probably one of the best satirists on American TV today.

    On the subject matter of the post, did Jon Stewart and Colbert set up the Conservapedia web site? If they did, it would be hilarious.

  66. #67 raj
    February 21, 2007

    Oh, and, Ed, don’t take anything you see over the Internet at face value. Not even this comment ;-)

  67. #68 spartanrider
    February 21, 2007

    This piece of crap is embarassing.As a young man I was a volunteer in the Goldwater campaign.By 1972 my position became much more libertarian.Garbage like this holds people with a conservative viewpoint up to public ridicule.The asshole who wrote the article on the theory of relativity must have dropped by from some lunatic anti-semitic web site. According to this idiot the only thing the theory of relativity ever did is give atheists ammunition to use against good christians. Is there any liberal group out there that could use about 30,000,000 fundies.If it was in my power I would give you every single one of these ignorant assholes.Someone,somewhere has got to have a use for them.

  68. #69 Ian Gould
    February 21, 2007

    “I also thought it was strange that the Bias in Wikipedia page complains about British spellings.”

    Well, Duh, God is an American.

  69. #70 doctorgoo
    February 21, 2007

    Is there any liberal group out there that could use about 30,000,000 fundies.If it was in my power I would give you every single one of these ignorant assholes.Someone,somewhere has got to have a use for them.

    Whaddaya mean? Dubya found a great use for 30 million fundies… to get elected! Now McCain and every other Republican presidential candidate will try to repeat his success.

  70. #71 386sx
    February 21, 2007

    This site is so bad it reads like a parody.

    You might be on to something there! The people in charge of the http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula blog think it might be. Baraminology? They don’t like British spellings for words? Come on…

  71. #72 386sx
    February 21, 2007

    The site is owned by Andrew Schlafly, General Counsel for (conservative) Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

    The Eagle Forum is run by the one and only Phyllis Schlafly.

    Oops, maybe it’s not a parody after all. (Those two Schlaflys are really dumb and claim to be conservatives.) Sorry!

  72. #73 Matthew Young
    February 21, 2007

    It is such a shame that it’s down – that site has the potential to turn into a treasure trove of pure comedy gold.

    Imagine the fun – you could hold contests with your friends about who could make the most entries one weekend that remained unadulterated the following week with points awarded for artistic merit and subtle use of sarcasm, mockery, nonsense and self-contradictiton within the entry. It really should be a drinking game too, just to add to the depravity!

  73. #74 Jason I.
    February 21, 2007

    I noticed that there are two entries (at least) for Isaac Newton. The one for Sir Isaac Newton says this (emphasis mine):

    Sir Isaac Newton was one of the inventors of calculus and the propsed the theory of gravity (It should be noted that gravity, like evolution, is just a theory and has never been proven to be true). He was a Devout Christian who said his discoveries were inspired by God.

    Yes, that’s right. Gravity has never been proven. Of course, if conservapedia were truly unbiased, they would reference the popular Intelligent Falling Theory as an alternative to gravity.

  74. #75 tim gueguen
    February 21, 2007

    Its amusing that they’re so upset about the use of CE when I suspect a lot of people think it means Christian Era.

  75. #76 Ginger Yellow
    February 21, 2007

    For example, CNN would ensure that Crossfire had a representative of the political right and one from the political left.

    If only all encyclopedias were like Crossfire!

  76. #77 dpbsmith
    February 21, 2007

    Well, they sort of brought it on themselves by positioning themselves as an alternative to Wikipedia and making inflated claims… but it’s too bad, because one of the premises of the site is really quite interesting.

    It is a site for teenagers–Christian homeschooled teenagers, but never mind that–to learn by doing. The theory is that by writing encyclopedia articles they’ll learn about the subject matter of the articles.

    The reason why so many of the articles are what Wikipedia would call “dictdefs” is that they are attempts to create stubs based on the textbooks they’re using. The reason why there’s so much algebra is that they happen to be studying algebra. The reason why a lot of the entries are poorly written is that they’re written by high-school age kids, for gosh sakes. (Unlike Wikipedia, which often strikes me as being written by college freshmen…)

    As for the passage mocked above, “Sir Isaac Newton was one of the inventors of calculus and the propsed the theory of gravity (It should be noted that gravity, like evolution, is just a theory and has never been proven to be true),” well, like Wikipedia, Conservapedia suffers from vandalism. That parenthesized remark is one of them. Someone’s trying to make a point about creationism.

    And, for the most part, Aschlafly, the Jimbo Wales of Conservapedia, has been reasonably fair, reasonably intellectually honest, and reasonable welcome to dissenting opinion.

    Now a bunch of reasonably nice people and kids at Conservapedia are getting attacked by a bunch of bullies, and I for one think it’s a darn shame.

  77. #78 386sx
    February 21, 2007

    Sir Isaac Newton was one of the inventors of calculus and the propsed the theory of gravity (It should be noted that gravity, like evolution, is just a theory and has never been proven to be true). He was a Devout Christian who said his discoveries were inspired by God.

    So they say that “evolution is just a theory”, and someone tells them “well maybe, but gravity is ‘just a theory’ too”, and they take that ball and run with it, leaving everybody scratching their heads. Brilliant!

  78. #79 El Cid
    February 21, 2007

    I don’t have the money right now for an air ticket to Australia. Where do these vegetation mats leave from, and how long do they take? Are drinks served?

  79. #80 Ed Brayton
    February 21, 2007

    dpbsmith wrote:

    Now a bunch of reasonably nice people and kids at Conservapedia are getting attacked by a bunch of bullies, and I for one think it’s a darn shame.

    They may well be very nice people but they are saying a lot of very stupid things; those things are being attacked, as well they should be. We are being no more harsh than they are toward Wikipedia, the difference is that our criticisms actually make sense.

  80. #81 doctorgoo
    February 21, 2007

    The reason why so many of the articles are what Wikipedia would call “dictdefs” is that they are attempts to create stubs based on the textbooks they’re using.

    I guess this explains why every mundane science entry (i.e. non-evolution related) is copied directly out of the fundy homeschool textbooks from Apologia Educational Ministries.

  81. #82 Erasmussimo
    February 21, 2007

    A suggestion for all those who are appalled by the concept of having a conservative version of truth: let us not decry their actions, nor attempt to impede them. Instead, let every person who is concerned about this assault on truth respond with a “truth action”: go to Wikipedia and locate an article that you think you can improve upon. Do the work, dig up the references, and then add your small candle of truth.

  82. #83 raj
    February 21, 2007

    Andrew Schlafly, who is reportedly gay, is another example of the fact that there are some incredibly stupid gay people. The fact that he has anything to do with his mother is merely one datum, this is another.

  83. #84 Jason I.
    February 22, 2007

    dpbsmith, until a supposedly educational site like Conservapedia stops using pages like Dinosaurs and the Bible as a reference, which states that dinosaurs and man were on the earth at the same time, it will never be taken seriously, and there is no reason not to mock it.

  84. #85 Ian Gould
    February 22, 2007

    “Although most Muslims profess belief in a single, almighty God a substantial minority of accredited Western scholars believe that the Muslim belief system can be traced back to distinctly polytheistic antecedents. Some, for example, have attempted to to link Allah to a moon deity. [1] Others have pointed to the pagan roots of various Muslim prohibitions, such as the ban on pork originating in the 3rd-century AD Damascene cult of the pig-god Jamal. [2] There is some evidence that traditional Muslim scholars have been suppressing this information as well as various recently-recovered scrolls that hint at early Muslim human sacrifice (e.g., at Uhud). [3]”

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Islam

    Bill Clinton served as president of the United States from 1993-2001. He was only the second president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, after Andrew Johnson. Clinton never won a majority of the popular vote.

    Clinton won in 1992 with 43% of the popular vote, capitalizing on public discontent with a weak economy. In his first two years in office, 1993 through 1994, Clinton failed at his massive attempt to gain government control of the health care system. His approach consisted of appointing a planning committee with secret members to reshape this important sector of the economy.

    Clinton also signed into law the Violence Against Women Act, which opened the federal courts to claims of domestic disputes between men and women, which had always been handled under state rather than federal law. A key provision of this law was later ruled unconstitutional in United States v. Morrison.[1]

    In 1994, voters expressed their high disapproval of Clinton by giving a landslide victory to Republicans in Congress. That ended much of Clinton’s power. Though reelected against a weak Republican candidate in 1996 (Bob Dole), Clinton spent the remainder of his presidency combatting scandals, one of which (the Monica Lewinsky scandal) resulted in his impeachment.”
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Bill_Clinton
    “Islam strictly prohibits alcohol, drugs, gambling, prostitution, homosexuality, pornography and other harmful activity.”

    http://www.conservapedia.com/World_History_Lecture_Five

    Yeah, a “a bunch of really nice people”…

  85. #86 doctorgoo
    February 22, 2007

    Erasmussimo referred to “the concept of having a conservative version of truth”. I’m okay with this as long as it’s an opinion that’s being expressed. Having opposing points of view is okay.

    But when facts are intentionally misrepresented to push the conservative (or any other) agenda, then this is absolutely NOT acceptable.

    In these cases, they’re expressing a different version of Reality, not truth. And any sore feelings the writers get from being mocked are well deserved.

  86. #87 spartanrider
    February 22, 2007

    You have to love these people! I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry when I read the load of shit they peddle. I am almost sure that Eric Cartman is responsible for the majority of the articles. This has to be Cartman’s take on National Socialism. And I quote,”All Nazis are atheists.However,in fairness,it should be noted that all atheists are not Nazis,[for example,some are communists].If you use your imagination I am sure you could come up with a thousand different ways to describe fundies.My problem is I have a very limited education and all me ideas are obscene,except the ones that are profane or blasphemous.

  87. #88 argystokes
    February 22, 2007

    I think the pranksters have gotten going. From the article on atheism:
    Viewed as a simple philosophical framework of “no god exists”, atheism can provide no logical basis for any moral standard. Some atheists reject normal social conventions and live their lives according to the rule that “anything goes”. Many feel this has led to a large rise in crime[1], drug use, pre-marital sex, teenage pregnancy,[2] pedophilia[3] and bestiality.

  88. #89 Flying Fox
    February 22, 2007

    argystokes forgot to mention that the atheism article cites a webpage that refutes the claims made in the article.

  89. #90 Joseph Hertzlinger
    February 22, 2007

    Conservapedia is defending centralized authority? It sounds socialist to me.

  90. #91 dr x
    February 22, 2007

    Regarding the two kangaroos who drifted from the Middle East to Australia on mats of floating vegetation, I believe that they dranketh seawater and ateth of the mats to sustain them on their long journey over the churning sea amidst waves often reaching heights of 30 to 40 feet.

    Just in case anyone wants to know.

  91. #92 Nebogipfel
    February 23, 2007

    Here’s another gem from the Isaac Newton page

    [Unitarianism and Arianism] are commonly regarded by conservative Christians as the foulest of heresies, and Newton’s adoption of them illustrates the folly of adopting personal religious beliefs rather than submitting to lawful authority.

    Of course, that’s much more important than any of that boring stuff about eliptical orbits or actions and reactions! See, Newton may have made a huge contribution to human knowledge of God’s creation, but he was still a foul heretic and will probably burn in hell. I bet he was secretly a communist, too! See where meddling with that atheistical science learnin’ gets yer? Remember kids, submit to lawful authority, and you too can be smarter than ol’ Isaac.

    These guys are pathetic.

  92. #93 Jake
    March 2, 2007

    Here’s another gem from the Isaac Newton page

    [Unitarianism and Arianism] are commonly regarded by conservative Christians as the foulest of heresies, and Newton’s adoption of them illustrates the folly of adopting personal religious beliefs rather than submitting to lawful authority.

    And the funny part — for me at least — is that your average American Fundamentalist has no legitimate interest in that anyways. Unitarianism, maybe they dislike, if they associate it with the (philosophically and theologically distinct) modern liberalism of Unitarian Universalism. But Arianism? I don’t actually know why most Protestant denominations would care about that. The early-Church heresies revolved around these insanely niggling theological points: whether the elements of the Trinity were composed of similar substance, distinct substance, or identical substance, whether Jesus had a human soul, a divine soul, or both, and that sort of thing. I’ve always seen that particular sort of inquiry (and the consequent dogmatism) as an essentially Catholic concept. Is American Protestant fundamentalism actually casting its lot in with Catholic orthodoxy on theological issues? I really can’t see it at all.

  93. #94 Max
    March 5, 2007

    Reading over the modern history section, especially entries related to Auschwitz, there is absolutely no backing to the facts. It almost reads like a story where someone did this and this and that, and this was either overall good, or as in this case, overall very bad. Why it is good, or why it is bad, isn’t written. It just is.

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!