Stranger Fruit

Those Crazy Conservatives

Ed Brayton has introduced us to Conservapedia – a Conservative alternative to Wikipedia which is “increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American” according to Conservapedia’s founder Andrew Schlafly. The quality of work is best evidenced by the entry on evolution:

The Theory of Evolution, introduced by Charles Darwin in his book On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, published in 1859, is the scientific theory that explains the process of evolution. The basic principle behind evolution, called natural selection,
states that in the struggle for life, fitter organisms will survive thus saving ‘good mutations’ and discarding ‘bad mutations’ enabling a species to become more specialized.

There are two parts of evolution: Microevolution and Macroevolution. Microevolution refers only to change within a speicies; e.g. a dog can be bred for certain traits but never can become a cat. Macroevolution is the theory that species can add information to their genetic makeup and therefore change into a different species; e.g. men and apes originating from a common ancestor.

The following is the complete entry on Darwin:

Charles Darwin was born in England to a Christian family on February 12, 1809. He is the founder of Evolution. After spending some time on the Galapagos Islands and studying the animals that lived there, he came up with his theory of “natural selection” and published The Origin of Species in 1859.

Feel free to play spot the dumb errors in the above – it reads like a creationist playbook.


  1. #1 s. zeilenga
    February 20, 2007

    – it reads like a creationist playbook.

    nah, this is extremely sloppy writing in general. I hate to even align myself with junk like this. I mean, sure there are similar beliefs (me being a YEC and all) but I would hate to have to work alongside these people.

    Eh, maybe I will try to add my 2 cents to it and make the writing better if nothing else.


  2. #2 Tyler DiPietro
    February 20, 2007

    I don’t know for sure, but it looks like their entry on global warming is shaping up to be good for a game of Global Warming Sceptic Bingo. Just look at how it opens up:

    Global warming is a controversial theory that claims that increased carbon dioxide (CO2) due to industrialization is causing temperatures to increase around the world, to the detriment of our environment. AL Gore, Vice President under President Clinton from 1992 to 2000 and the loser in the closely contested election for president in 2000, is a leading advocate of this theory. Promoters of this theory call for international treaties, like one proposed in Kyoto, Japan, to force the United States and other Western countries to limit their production of carbon dioxide by regulating business.

  3. #3 Ms. S
    February 20, 2007

    I read errors every day in student papers – I can’t even look at these without pulling out my red pen. Reflexes, I guess…
    I’m kind of surprised they don’t mention Darwin’s wife. Typically I see creationists salivating over how his wife (er – cousin??) was such a devout Christian that she urged him to recant his theory and pray for his own salvation – and then they spout the urban legend that he did recant on his deathbed (which he didn’t, according to many sources, and even if he HAD it wouldn’t matter).

  4. #4 jeffk
    February 20, 2007

    Conservawikiality! Think about this – they can now actually change facts so conveniently they can hide themselves almost completely from the real world. It’s like a big conservative hole in the sand.

  5. #5 afarensis
    February 20, 2007

    You should see their entry on Macroevolution. A brief example:

    The boundry that defines into what an organism can and cannot evolve is not a “magic barrier” but its own DNA. An organism can only lose genetic information. There has never been an observed exception to this rule.

    There is worse both before and after this quote…

  6. #6 John Lynch
    February 20, 2007

    Heh. The site is down.

  7. #7 afarensis
    February 20, 2007

    Yeah, I was having problems reaching their site too…It seems to be up again, so here is another pearl of wisdom:

    I would just like to say that the “theory” of Evolution does not even qualify as a theory!! According to the scientific method, after you make a hypothesis, if ANY data comes up that contradicts you hypothesis than it must either be revised or discarded! How come even though there is much evidence that contradicts evolution it is still considered a theory?

    A better advertisement for the need for ScienceBlogs Basic Concepts 101 would be hard to find.

  8. #8 John Lynch
    February 20, 2007

    It gets worse. 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.

  9. #9 JohnnieCanuck
    February 20, 2007

    It’s an intellectual black hole. Look, they are getting stretched thinner and thinner. Watch carefully as the infalling gray matter spins up the black hole. Watch out, polar jets may soon form, blasting some of the matter into the heavens.

    Check out the latest Scientific American for details. Seriously.

  10. #10 afarensis
    February 21, 2007

    Pangea and Noah’s Ark – Orwell would love it!

  11. #11 MarkP
    February 21, 2007

    This is scarier than it is funny, particularly Jeffk’s comment. I have had horrid personal experiences with people who live in that hole in the sand. As more and more of these warped versions of the world appear on the net and occupy various aspects of life, it will become easier and easier for people to completely isolate themselves from reality. This, need we be reminded, is one of the primary instruments of cults, and can be effectively used to create belief in all sorts of hooey.

    72 virgins anyone? Don’t say it can’t happen here. Imagine hundreds of happy little Timothy McVey’s congregating in such virtual communities, shopping at their Arian Superiority neo-Amazon, reading their conservapedia, etc. Imagine the ideas they will be able to give the looser cannons among them.

    Be afraid, be very afraid.

  12. #12 richCares
    February 21, 2007

    John Lynch’s showing the Kangaroo piece was startling, I had to go see for myself. It seems these people want make stupid a synonym for conservative. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. #13 joltvolta
    February 21, 2007

    Haha! This is the worst description I’ve ever come across.

    Holocaust –

    “The Holocaust was the massacring of the Jewish race during World War II. The Germans are not to blame for this but the Nazi are. Besides 6 million Jews dieing, 3 million Christians were killed also along with many priests and nuns. This is a very touchy subject for the Jews and is not often discussed amongst them.”

    I’m going to make an assumption in thinking they don’t require citing.

  14. #14 Russell Blackford
    February 21, 2007

    Being used to Wikipedia, I can’t bear to read wiki articles without at least correcting any spelling mistakes or clear grammatical solecisms that I come across. However, I was unable to do that when I checked out Conservapedia just now: to edit, you have to be a member and must log in.

    Well, it’s their loss – I’m not puerile enough to want to sabotage their crackpot site, but I’m enough of a pedant about good English to make line edits when I see that they’re necessary.

  15. #15 J-Dog
    February 21, 2007

    “After the Flood, kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia. ”

    Are we talking a little Noah-On-Roo Love here?
    An early ancestor to Ted Haggard perhaps?

  16. #16 Blake Stacey
    February 21, 2007

    The difference between Russell Blackford and myself is that I am puerile enough to sabotage their crackpot site, or at least to want to do so pretty darn badly. The Golden Rule keeps holding me back, telling me to grow up and resist the temptation to “pull another Siegenthaler”. Of course, this also means that they won’t be getting any spelling and grammar fixes from me, either.

    The funny thing is that I could easily put on my “novelist hat” and start speaking in the voice of an economically conservative fellow, a pillar-of-the-community type who likes small government and attends church each week, but who nevertheless accepts the findings of science. Think Judge Jones, people. It’s not so hard to parrot Michael Shermer’s point: why don’t conservatives like evolution? I mean, it’s a free market for the genes!

    Actually, I think we can go a ways to answering Shermer’s question by looking at what the “conservatives” on this site have said. It’s all their on their “bias in Wikipedia” page:

    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.

    Mmm-kay. Doesn’t sound like a bloke who believes in a free market of either goods or ideas. In fact, much of the “bias” complaint page is inconsistent or just downright incoherent. (The complaint about Wikipedia lacking “elementary proofs” in math articles is just goofy, and as I wrote over in Brayton’s thread, the jibe about a thousand articles on “Moby songs” depends upon selective presentation of the evidence.) They say that Wikipedia focuses too much on celebrity gossip and other trivialities beneath the notice of a serious encyclopedia, but in their own Conservapedia Commandments, barely a breath after demanding that statements be “true and verifiable”, they insist upon BC/AD dating and American spelling! They whine about Wikipedia giving too much space to Hollywood and pop music, and then with barely a pause they say that Wikipedia gives too short shrift to creationism — because most of the country believes in it!

    This kind of illogic doesn’t stem from a coherent philosophy. It comes from the gut. Here we see ideas being accepted based on their emotional appeal and ideological fitness, rather than their logical consistency.

    When these folks say “conservative”, the word you and I should hear is authoritarian.

  17. #17 MarkP
    February 21, 2007

    I wonder if they have an entry for “truthiness”.

  18. #18 James
    February 21, 2007

    Just so everyone knows, I just checked out the site, and guess what… they don’t have an entry on the pledge of allegiance. I think that is rather Un-Ameri… I mean, Un-Christian.

  19. #19 Benjamin Franz
    February 21, 2007

    it reads like a creationist playbook.

    It reads like one because its content in many areas is lifted from one. Page through their index of biology articles and check the references on the articles that have them. Consistently the (usually one and only) reference is one or another creationist tract written by Jay L. Wile of the Institute for Creation Research.

  20. #20 Truth Be Told
    February 22, 2007

    The site is really really studpid and full of inaccuracy. It has been firmly discredited.

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