Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Blocked from Conservapedia

This is funny. Celeste Biever, writing at the New Scientist blog, reports that Conservapedia has blocked some 60 IP addresses from being able to even see the site, much less post on it. I can understand them banning those addresses that participated in putting fake entries up on the site, which is something I not only didn’t do but think was idiotic to do. Putting up the fake entries only gives them an excuse for all of the legitimately bad entries on the site that I was criticizing. It was nothing but the cyber-equivalent of teenagers TPing someone’s yard, it was juvenile and stupid and shouldn’t have been done. Criticism is a good thing; vandalism is not.

Comments

  1. #1 doctorgoo
    February 28, 2007

    Conservapedia has blocked some 60 IP addresses from being able to even see the site, much less post on it.

    I guess this explains why I haven’t been able to get on that site either. I’m one of the lucky sixty!

    Since I didn’t edit or add anything to their site either, I think they just must have blocked everyone who linked to them from sci-blogs.

  2. #2 raj
    February 28, 2007

    I can’t even see the site, and I haven’t even tried to post there. I suppose that they are blocking not only the IP addresses of their direct Nemeses, but also IP addresses of computers that tried to link there through their direct Nemeses.

    What a way to segregate oneself from a major portion of the blogosphere.

  3. #3 nal
    February 28, 2007

    I wonder how they can distinguish the fake entries.

    I can’t get to the site either.

  4. #4 Chuck
    February 28, 2007

    I agree with nal: some of the joke entries were so close in letter and spirit with “legitimate” entries, that it became impossible to distinguish the two. It is hard to top the self-parody of modern right-wing theocratic ideology.

  5. #5 MartinM
    February 28, 2007

    Most people who can’t get to the site are probably just dealing with the server, which appears to be some sort of prehistoric clockwork device.

    Nal:

    I wonder how they can distinguish the fake entries

    They can’t. Only the most obvious parodies have been caught; the more subtle ones are…well, they’re not even flying under the radar. They’re actually garnering praise from the admins. And they’re not all that subtle, either.

  6. #6 NonyNony
    February 28, 2007

    Andrew Schaflay in that New Scientist post you link to actually says “The administrators are overwhelmingly liberal on Wikipedia”.

    What Wikipedia is he reading? Most of the admins I’ve dealt with on Wikipedia tend toward the “open-frontier net libertarian” mindset – not liberal at all. Perhaps he meant “libertine” instead of liberal, since he comes across as more concerned about obscenity than anything else. Or maybe he means “liberal” as in “people I don’t like” (which is a common enough usage of the word among self-labelled “conservatives” these days). Still, it is really weird to see Wikipedia referred to as liberal.

  7. #7 dogmeatIB
    February 28, 2007

    Ed,

    While I agree with you that the “TP-ing” of conservapedia was a bit juvenile, I have to also say, in a sense, that they asked for it. To have a site with such a pathetic level of quality to their articles make arrogant statements about their superiority to the (albeit flawed) Wikipedia site was really just asking for a couple of rolls of Charmin.

    Look at the revised Plesiosaur entry, it is basically cribbed from Wikipedia until it starts talking about the biblical crap.

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Plesiosaur

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

    They don’t even have the common courtesy to admit that they used Wikipedia as a reference.

  8. #8 Mikado
    February 28, 2007

    I can get to the site, but I can’t create a userID.

    It’s terribly slow, too. I think it must be running on a Commodore 64.

  9. #9 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 28, 2007

    How many of those 60 blocked addresses are for posting fake articles, and how many are for correcting misinformation already on the site? It is my understanding the people corrected false info on evolution, etc.

  10. #10 Raging Bee
    February 28, 2007

    I agree with dogmeat: trashing that site seems like a perfectly appropriate form of non-violent civil disobedience, in response to an obvious and deliberate campaign of lies. Hey, they put themselves out for it, thinking they’d be able to get their lies passed off as truth.

    Only the most obvious parodies have been caught; the more subtle ones are…well, they’re not even flying under the radar. They’re actually garnering praise from the admins. And they’re not all that subtle, either.

    I suspect that most of the wacky conspiracy theories flying about on the Net started out as spontaneously made-up jokes, welcomed and amplified by people too narrow-minded to recognize a joke. The same may be happening to Wingnutopedia. And if any of us can fool those self-important wankers, and then use it to prove to the public what idiots and liars they are, I say, Engage the enemy more closely!

  11. #11 dogmeatIB
    February 28, 2007

    I took one for the team and read the “references” for the Plesiosaur… I feel dumberer already…

    The first one is a legit BBC news piece about a finding that included fossilized biomatter from the specimen’s intestinal tract, interesting stuff. The other three would insult dookie if I called them crap.

    2) A creationist looking into the “scientific evidence” of modern day Plesiosaurs. It shows its brilliance as simply citing the bible disproves evolutionary theory numerous times in the piece. I’m totallly convinced because Genesis mentions “great whales and every living thing that moveth..” Wow, what were we thinking? Obvious prove that Plesiosaurs were created on the 5th day. Silly “darwinists.” [rolls eyes]

    3) is a series of bible verses.

    4&5) are Christian answers and Answers in Genesis, which I believe 2 may have used as some of their “scientific” proof.

    All in all, garbage resources that have nothing to do with the first half of the entry, pure plagarism.

  12. #12 Steve Reuland
    February 28, 2007

    It was nothing but the cyber-equivalent of teenagers TPing someone’s yard, it was juvenile and stupid and shouldn’t have been done. Criticism is a good thing; vandalism is not.

    Oh I don’t know. A prank, when properly done, has its satirical uses. And certainly some people were making an honest effort to correct mistakes. Not that Andy Schlafly is capable of recognizing the difference.

    I can’t get into their site either, and not only have I not tried to edit an article, I haven’t even looked at the place yet. Maybe it’s just too busy what with all the press. Or maybe Schafly has temporarily shut it down in order to purge all the “inappropriate disparagements of God”.

  13. #13 dogmeatIB
    February 28, 2007

    Actually Steve, it is just horrifyingly slow. I tend to open up a second browser window, enter the address, go back to what I was doing, eat breakfast, bake a cake, eat lunch, and then return to see if it has loaded yet. I believe they have connected to the internet via carrier pigeon, takes the little guy time to type out the information on the keyboard when he returns from their “server.”

  14. #14 stogoe
    February 28, 2007

    This whole post reeks of senile grumpism.

    “Hey! You crazy kids! Get off my neighbor’s lawn! Whatcha doin, eh? Standing around? Well Git!”

    You are way too serious and self-important for your own good, old man.

  15. #15 Ric
    February 28, 2007

    No, this is one case where you should lighten up a bit. I didn’t do any of it, but I thought it was hilarious. Plus it had a parodic purpose: it highlighted the fact that it was difficult to tell the real entries from the ludicrous fake ones.

    BTW, is “parodic” a word? Well, you get my drift.

  16. #16 dogmeatIB
    February 28, 2007

    You need go no further than the talk page “discussing” the theory of evolution to realize that the site is a parody of an actual encyclopedia. It is amusing that they claim bias on the part of Wikipedia and then produce this tripe.

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

    The truly sad thing is, in a couple of years, those of us in education will see papers and projects quoting this POS as an “authoritative source.”

  17. #17 gwangung
    February 28, 2007

    You need go no further than the talk page “discussing” the theory of evolution to realize that the site is a parody of an actual encyclopedia.

    Schlafly and parody are two words that DO NOT GO TOGETHER (assuming that you think parody implies intentional….). I think their Mom removed their senses of humor at birth.

  18. #18 plunge
    February 28, 2007

    Ed I agree with you that the vandalism was stupid, but geez, it WAS sort of funny. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to argue for a better evolution page, to no avail. What their banning of vandals (rather than simply correcting and improving) adds even more evidence to though is that a wiki cannot both be open and trying to enforce a certain point of view: these things are at odds. The place is quickly becoming what it obviously was from the start: a Schalfy-pedia of the owner’s opinions. Wikipedia deals with vandals by replacing and reverting things with quality work.

  19. #19 tacitus
    February 28, 2007

    The problem for Schlafly is that Wikipedia’s left-wing “bias” is mostly in his mind (and his fellow rabid right-wingers). If Conservapedia ever attracts enough sensible conservative contributors (who are real experts) to seriously compete with Wikipedia, the content of the two sites would be about 98% the same, and Schlafly would not be happy at all.

  20. #20 doctorgoo
    February 28, 2007

    Wikipedia has left-wing bias? I don’t think so.

    But from their point of view, anything that’s liberal, moderate or even non-fundamentalist conservative is considered to be biased against them.

  21. #21 dogmeatIB
    February 28, 2007

    Gwangun,

    Perhaps “unintentional parody” works better?

    I agree Doctorgoo, whenever you look at the talk sections of “controversial” pages, they inevitably boil down to rabid ultra conservative fundies slinging insults at anyone who disagrees with them in the least.

  22. #22 slpage
    February 28, 2007

    On ‘vandalism’ at Conservapedia…

    I would like to point out that I had comments on actual
    Wikipedia termed ‘vandalism’ because I posted an edit in the ‘Haldane’s Dilemma’ entry rightly mentioning that ReMine’s argument fails to consider a number of relevant factors. The admin that called it vandalism justified the characterization because I did not supply citations – which was very odd as there are only 4 citations provided for the entire article.
    My entire act of “vandalism” on Wiklipedia:

    ******************************************
    In addition to Haldane’s assumptions, a very important aspect of the characterization of Haldane’s Dilemma by Walter ReMine and sundry ID/creationsim advocates is a discussion on its relevance to evolution at all. As Haldane had the foresight to concede, his numbers would probably need “drastic revision.” This little fact seems to escape the discussion altogether. Further, some important context is overlooked, that is, the time in which Haldane wrote his paper (and the follow-up paper in 1961). At the time, it was assumed that the human genome contained at least 125,000 genes, and that most traits were governed by a discreet gene or set of genes. Haldane simply did not have the information available to him that we do now – basic genetic information like the size of the human (mammalian) genome and the actions and activities of the genes in the genome. Common sense should dictate that with the explosion of new data and technology regarding the field of genetics that one should be cautious about employing standards and mathematical models premised on 30-40+ year-old observations and understandings. In terms of applying Haldane’s model to the human evolution question, some important questions that ReMine and his supporters did not, have not, and will not address (I know, I have asked them) must be answered before any relevant application of the model, even if applicable, can be accomplished. Among them:

    1. What was the ancestral population from which the lineage leading to humanity arose?

    2. What traits did its members possess that cannot be accounted for by the 1,667 fixed beneficial mutations (and some 10s of thousands of expressed neutral mutations), if that number has relevance?

    3. How many fixed beneficial mutations ARE required to produce the traits possessed by modern humans that cannot be accounted for (question 1 must be answered first or at least at the same time as this one) by the ‘ReMine number’?

    These important questions are either ignored, dismissed, or labeled as ‘posturing’, ‘misrepresentation’, or ‘irrelevant’ by ReMine and those that accept his claims regarding Haldane’s dilemma. Nevertheless, these questions, at the very least, MUST be addressed by advocates of ReMine’s claims before any legitimate scientist takes his applications and claims seriously. As it stands, ReMine’s claim is analogous to claiming that you cannot get to New York by driving 55 miles per hour in 10 hours despite not establishing the starting point
    **************************************

    Take home message – I would be careful about equating what is termed ‘vandalism’ on Conservapedia with something malicious like TPing someone’s house.

  23. #23 vhutchison
    February 28, 2007

    Several attempts to connect to the site over the last two days from two different computers and from different links resulted in no access. Is the site still up or does this mean that I am forbidden there?

  24. #24 Foster Disbelief
    February 28, 2007

    vhutchison, the site is just slower than the normal creationist.

    Which is saying alot.

    I’m picturing an atari 800xl with a 300 baud modem.

    I can get the site to load about once every 3 days or so.

  25. #25 kemibe
    February 28, 2007

    While entries plainly meant as nothing but vandalism or graffiti (strings of vulgarity, blatant trashing of Jesusy things, etc.) serve no useful purpose, many others along the gradient between those and bona fide, undiluted consrva-stupidity do.

    I put up two factual entries, one about the American Decency Association and another about the term “fundie.” The formerly accurately described what the group stands for and does, although it did contain things like links to the SI Swimsuit Issue; the latter noted that “fundie” is a derogatory term and likened it to others of a similar nature.

    I didn’t expect these to stand, and they didn’t. I was curious, though, as to what would become of them, as they didn’t violate any stated provisions. I wasn’t banned, but the ADA entry was cut to a stub while “fundie” was deleted outright.

    A hands-off policy with these idiots will do nothing more than help them spread misinformation to young people on the Web. They’re free to do this in any number of ways that would-be editors can’t mess with, of course, but if you put up a Wiki-style site, you get exactly what you ask for. I have no sympathy with any problems Schlafly and his band of fucknuts run into in trying to create facts from scratch, and the way this has unfolded is exactly in accordance with what anyone with the slightest level of insight into human cultural psychology would have predicted.

  26. #26 Dave Munger
    February 28, 2007

    It wouldn’t be surprising to me if the site has been subjected to DDoS attacks — which would be even more childish than banning IPs.

  27. #27 Greg
    February 28, 2007

    Somebody who wishes to have a great deal of fun could set up a true parody, a new legitimate website, populated initially with articles similar but not plagarizing those at conservapedia. I would expect enormous subtlety. It should be designed to attract absolutely normal google linkages, but slightly better than conservapedia. The word “parody” should appear frequently but in places where glazed eyeballs slide right past. A strong Creative Commons license is necessary. You would want to engage the enthusiastic participation of a security geek.

  28. #28 Greg (again)
    February 28, 2007

    Both conservapedia and parody are troubling.

    The internet is jam-packed with false statements posing as information, from ignorant and delusional, to criminally negligent, to deliberately evil. Our entire culture, consumerism, depends on burying truth under an avalanche of falsehood and junkthink. Multinational corporations comb their pocketlint for spare change to set up activist groups and astroturf sites.

    I suspect the glee of parody is really a wail of despair. Certainly it benefits rather than opposes the fools and liars.

  29. #29 Cody
    February 28, 2007

    Editing pages to say “JESUS SUCKS JESUS SUCKS LOL!1!” is of course juvenile and stupid — the equivalent of TPing one’s house. But writing an absolutely nonsense entry that closely mimics other legitimate pages of right-wing nuttery to the point where administrators can’t distinguish the two is, I think, useful. A similar situation has been going on over at Overwhelming Evidence. The moderators know they’ve been infested with pranksters, but they still haven’t removed the obviously crazy entries, because they so closely resemble their own. It sends a brilliant message, I think, and no doubt drives them up the wall.

  30. #30 Troublesome Frog
    February 28, 2007

    NonyNony,

    I think that by “Liberal” he means the opposite of “authoritarian.”

  31. #31 doctorgoo
    February 28, 2007

    Hey, I’m not blocked afterall! It just took about 45 minutes for the page to load. lol

    Ed, you might be interested to know that you’re being blamed for shutting down their site with all your link-love. You can read more at:
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservapedia_Talk

    And right after they discuss you, they start arguing the topic “Should Conservapedia be taken offline, or locked against editing, on Sundays?” in order to keep the Sabbath.

    I guess the home-schoolers on this site need to get their science and history lessons from church on Sundays, not from Schafly…

  32. #32 Sam Lewis
    February 28, 2007

    Other than calling it a “theory”, their ID page is pretty straight forward.

  33. #33 Jody
    February 28, 2007

    Ed, I have to disagree.

    I created an entry on “Cthulhu” on Conservapedia, describing the efforts of the great journalist Howard P. Lovecraft to warn readers of the spread of that ancient and vile cult out of out of the lands of the Caliphate and into the vulnerable underbelly of our freedom loving land.

    Yes, that’s about the tone I used too.

    I modified the article several times and didn’t get one single question, comment or edit to the article for several days. I thought that someone would pick up on the outlandishness of the claims made.

    When it was finally edited into a simple stub for the books/mythos, it turned out that was done by an admin from the real Wikipedia, trying to make the Conservapedia legitimate, and very concerned that no one on Conservapedia would get the fiction reference. As support, he linked to an article by a prominent evangelist who believes Big C to be real.

    Its adherents are determined to create their own private world. Parody is about the only response that means anything.

  34. #34 Ed Brayton
    February 28, 2007

    doctorgoo-

    I’m not surprised that I’m being blamed for it. Such simpletons can’t distinguish between criticism, which is what I engaged in, and vandalism, which is what others engaged in.

  35. #35 Dr X.
    February 28, 2007

    Interesting, I did register, but I did not edit anything. Nonetheless, I see that I am on the list of blocked IP addresses for inappropriate editing.

    Hmmm…

    And, I’m even a Christian. They must have been scared that I might wreck their party by saying something Christ-y, like, the truth matters.

  36. #36 Doc Bill
    February 28, 2007

    If you haven’t seen the Conservapedia, or as I call it, Insane-0-pedia, entry on the Moon you must.

    Please do so with at least a beer in hand if not a six-pak.

    Oh, yes, the Moon was put there by God, by god!

    Insane-0-pedia says so!

  37. #37 Dave S.
    March 1, 2007

    I just had a gander at the entry on microevolution:

    Microevolution

    Microevolution, broadly defined, is the inevitable small-scale changes in allele frequencies in a population within the same species. Under this broad definition, this change in overall allele frequencies occurs with every birth or death of a member of the species.

    Microevolution, narrowly defined, is the unproven theory that natural selection can, over time, transform an organism into a more specialized form within the same species. [1] Lack of evidence for natural selection has led most scientists to use the broad definition above rather than a definition based on natural selection.[2]

    The word “microevolution” comes from the Latin “micro”, or “very small”. Thus an example of microevolution would be the devlopment of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, because bacteria are very small (microscopic). A number of creation scientists agree that microevolution can take place. This is in contrast to “macroevolution” (from the Latin “macro”, or “large”), evolution in large animals such as elephants, giant tortoises or even humans, which cannot take place (except in trivial ways, like breeding dogs or cattle).

    It’s hilarious that to them the micro scale must mean the size of the organisms and not the size of the changes. And that most scientists reject microevolution (since there is little evidence for natural selection), even though a number of creation scientists for some reason seem more open minded to the possibility.

  38. #38 King
    March 1, 2007

    Goddamn teenagers vandalizing to make a satirical point. I’m way above that kind of plebeian behavior. They all look small below my nose.

  39. #39 Matthew Young
    March 1, 2007

    No, Ed, fuck ‘em. If they want to preach nonsense to the world they should build a static, closed site. If they want to build a Wiki and then try and force it to parrot their rubbish then they deserve everything they get. If the world thinks their ideas are utter shit then they are just going to have to face it.

    ‘Vandalism’ due to different opinions and agendas is something that dogs Wikipedia anyway, and that’s actually sincere. Add willful deceit and a refusal to acknowledge reality to the mix and what did these idiots think they were going to get.

    Imagine what would happen to Wikipedia if it set out to provide a Wiki based on the obvious fact that the British Empire was the greatest gift to humanity that the world had ever seen. It would get the same treatment and it would deserve it.

  40. #40 Name
    March 2, 2007

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Special:Search?search=Christians

    Where are the Christians…??? Another “anti/non/counter”-Christian theory at work?