Fun with the Conservapedia

The gang has been examining Conservapedia, “the conservative encyclopedia you can trust” (unlike Wikipedia). There’s much fun to be had, like the debate over: “Crusades ? Good or Bad?,” featuring Conservapedia creator Andrew Schlafly (son of Phyllis Schlafly) arguing:

I don’t see anything wrong with having a Christian holy war. Making Jerusalaem [sic] safe for defenseless pilgrims was a worthy goal. The Crusades were good.

You can also examine the revert war over HIV, in which Schlafly removed the statement that “Its main effect is to destroy T-cells, which causes a decreased resistance to infections such as pneumonia.” His objection? It is an “unsupported claim.”

More interesting to me is its entry for ecology:

The study of relationships among organisms in ecosystems.[1] The term comes from the German “oekologie.”

This is, of course, wrong.

The one reference, predictably, goes to a creationist tome which argues that humans and dinosaurs lived together.

They did manage to get the etymology of the term right, though they didn’t mention that Ernst Haeckel invented the word.

Ecology is not the study of interactions between organisms. It is the study of interactions between organisms and their environment. Other organisms would be part of the environment, of course, but so are nonliving things like soil or water. Understanding how organisms deal with temperature variation, to changes in water salinity or pH, light availability, nutrient concentrations, etc. are all vital parts of ecology which this right-wing definition would ignore.


  1. #1 Coin
    February 22, 2007

    Andrew Schlafly is involved in this mess? Geez. Has anybody made a backup of this site yet? Quotes from this may be useful the next time somebody needs to embarrass Schlafly.

  2. #2 Dave S.
    February 22, 2007

    Coin, the man is obviously more than capable of embarassing himself. He doesn’t need any help in that department.

  3. #3 mark
    February 22, 2007

    Years ago, the leader of the local chapter of the John Birch Society learned I was a geology student and would come by to argue with me. I asked him for a definition of ecology, and he responded, “It’s a movement to undermine the American way of life.”

  4. #4 DEBEDb
    February 23, 2007

    I couldn’t help myself…

  5. #5 Doc Bill
    February 27, 2007

    Conservapedia claims Moon is made of green cheese (USA green cheese).

  6. #6 Twilight of The False Gods
    February 28, 2007

    Please, everyone, pass the Conservapedia link on to all the know-it-all Creationists and ID people you know.


    This site needs to grow and become more funny! And while it’s cute to go in and subtly edit articles yourself, it’s even better to get serious Creationists to do it.

    Plus, maybe if your Creationist friend starts contributing new info and creating new articles, he’ll find his work butchered by Schalfly because it doesn’t toe the party line on theology. And that might make your Creationist friend get fed up with the whole movement and ready to investigate some new method of studying the world – like, um, the scientific method.

    I mean, seriously, think of the flame wars that’ll happen on the articles’ talk pages when there’s an army new of Creationist editors all trying to push their own agendas! The site will implode!

  7. #7 Edgar Greenberg
    March 1, 2007

    I may have contributed to their ignorance, just a teensy little bit. Well I would have, but their server is so damn slow. Curse you slow server!

  8. #8 Elizabeth Smith
    March 1, 2007

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21,25

  9. #9 Josh
    March 1, 2007

    Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Job 38:1

  10. #10 Elizabeth Smith
    March 1, 2007

    Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

    Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

    Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!

    Job 38:1-4, 40:2

  11. #11 Josh
    March 1, 2007

    “Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me. Will you even put me i the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified?” Job 40:7-8

  12. #12 Elizabeth Smith
    March 1, 2007

    Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffeirng produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

    You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

    Romans 5:1-11

  13. #13 Josh
    March 1, 2007

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

    Psalms 1:7

  14. #14 Elizabeth Smith
    March 1, 2007

    Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails – given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.

    Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

    Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:9-14

  15. #15 Josh
    March 1, 2007

    “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. … There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen among those who come after. All is vanity and a striving after wind.” Eccl. 1

  16. #16 Elizabeth Smith
    March 2, 2007

    The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”…There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow. … I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
    Ecclesiastes 1:1-2,11

    The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter ir, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
    Revelation 21:22-27

  17. #17 Infidel
    March 2, 2007

    Bible passages you won’t see quoted here:

    And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.

    And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall sleep with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.

    And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he slept with her that night.

    Genesis 30:14-16

    So make sure to let me sleep with your wife, if I pass you some of my mandrakes. I also hope none of you bible quoters here have hemorrhoids, as they are god’s wrath for your sins:

    The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.

    Deuteronomy 28:27

  18. #18 Bernhard
    March 3, 2007

    conservaped claims eart is a globe.
    thats wrong !
    The earth is flat !

  19. #19 Oliver
    March 3, 2007

    American spelling at its best …

    Greetings from Iceland ;)

  20. #20 Joe
    March 8, 2007

    Conservapadia has really found the solution to all open questions! Impressive! 60 Years ago such “Information” would have been called Propaganda! I just remember that the US recently were divided into “The United States of Canada” and Jesusland. It seems that the Core / Nexus is now ready for the holy war! Greetz from good old Europe!


  21. #21 Elizabeth Smith
    March 26, 2007

    Take a moment, if you would, to read the page referenced below from Dr. Schroeder’s site. My apologies in advance if you find it to be a waste of your time. Thank you.

    B.Sc. Chemical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.)
    M.Sc. Earth and planetary sciences, M.I.T.

    Gerald Schroeder is a scientist with over thirty years of experience in research and teaching. He earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees all at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was followed by seven years on the staff of the MIT physics department prior to moving to Israel, where he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science and then the Volcani Research Institute, while also having a laboratory at The Hebrew University. His Doctorate is in two fields: Earth sciences and nuclear physics. His formal theological training includes fifteen years of study under the late Rabbi Herman Pollack, Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Noah Weinberg.

  22. #22 Josh
    March 26, 2007

    I fail to see the relevance of this to anything in particular, but you seem more interested in his resume than in his argument, which is incoherent and wrong.

  23. #23 Elizabeth Smith
    March 27, 2007

    I posted his resume here just to give a quick background on the man; I should have included less information. Yes, his argument on that particular page could have been worded a bit more clearly. I’m sorry to hear that you think he is wrong.

    I have been keeping you in prayer as I am certain the Lord is at work in your life just now. Please look for His footprints as you go through the milestones of your life.

  24. #24 Josh
    March 27, 2007

    The issue is not with his writing, nor with my opinion of him. I understand his words, but as an argument, it is not coherent. He misunderstands and misrepresents relativistic effects, he argues from conclusions and attaches great significance to meaningless numbers. If he feels better because he can contort the Bible to coincide with the scientific evidence, I’m glad for him. It’s good that he isn’t rejecting the scientific evidence outright, but he is misunderstanding it dramatically.

  25. #25 Elizabeth Smith
    March 27, 2007

    Relativistic effects are just that: relative, correct? If we do not allow for the ramifications of time and space on perception, what he says does indeed seem to be misrepresentative.

    The numbers are meaningless if you do not believe that the bible is God’s plan for us.

    Irrespectively, from the standpoint of salvation, subscribing to the theory of evolution and accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior are not mutually exclusive. To the detriment of the body of Christ, Christians argue with each other and non-Christians alike, about the origins of the universe. This pursuit takes the focus off of God’s message which is that He is offering us the gift of freedom through Jesus and that we should live as Jesus did, as servants to one another.

    “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
    James 1:26-27

    It is important to look upon the example of Christ and not to the behavior of Christians when evaulating the efficacy of Christianity or the humanity of the Savior, for as you know, all humans, including and especially Christians, will disappoint you.

    “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
    1 John 5-6

  26. #26 Josh
    March 27, 2007

    Relativistic effects are not just relative. They obey a variety of well-understood laws, and Schroeder’s argument contradicts those laws. Mark Perakh explains.

    I’m not really sure where the age of the earth came into the discussion, nor indeed how salvation came into the discussion.

    For what it’s worth, I think that it’s foolish to treat science and religion as if they were in conflict. Trying to rewrite the Bible so it makes sense as a science text seems to contradict the point, and you seem to be saying the same thing (which raises the question of why you brought it up in the first place). We’ll also set aside the rather glaring point that Gerald Schroeder is not a Christian.

    Saint Augustine was, and famously said:

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

    That’s what Conservapedia does (remember Conservapedia? this is a post about Conservapedia.), and it’s why Conservapedia is bad. Whatever you think of conservatism, of religion, of homeschoolers, etc., it’s bad when people make idiotic and unsupported claims about the empirical world. In the case of Conservapedia, it enforces a notion that there’s a different truth for conservatives, just as Schroeder or Answers in Genesis or the Discovery Institute suggest that there’s a different truth for Christians. That attitude hurts us as a society, and deserves to be opposed.

  27. #27 Martin Musatov
    March 29, 2009

    {1, 2, 4, 11, 33, 148, 906, 8887)