Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Conservatives and their 'pedias

Are you a conservative?
Are you tired of the blatant liberal bias of encyclopedia websites like Wikipedia?
Well, then maybe its time you tried. . . Conservapedia!

Did you try it? Could you get through? No? Same here.

A little backstory might be good about now. For the past couple of weeks, pretty much every member of the Scienceblogs community has been writing about a new conservative website called "Conservapedia." The site was first revealed by Ed Brayton (who is, for my money, the best blogger on the web):

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."

Another ScienceBlogger, P.Z. Myers, has a nice list of the many fiendish liberal biases that permeate Wikipedia, according to Con'pedia:

The use of "BCE" and "CE" instead of BC and AD in dates.

Wikipedia has lots of articles about trivia, like music and movies.

Some articles use the British spellings for words.

They just want more credit given to Jesus for everything.

The whole worldwide community of English speakers edits Wikipedia; they're going to emphasize American (by which they mean not liberal) opinions.

Too many Wikipedia entries are "gossipy" or sound like something from the National Enquirer.

For those wondering about that last one, Ed Brayton provides a direct quote from the site:

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.

The site, as reported by too many ScienceBloggers to list by name, was founded by creationist Andrew Schafly. As one would expect, the site has become a soapbox for antiscientific nonsense. From John Lynch:
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.
That's the enitre article on Charles Darwin, the whole fucking thing. Their treatment of evolution isn't much better. Here's a driect quote from the site, again provided by Mr. Lynch:
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 a scientific theory that explains the process of evolution via natural selection. The basic principle behind natural selection, states that in the struggle for life, some organisms in a given population will be better suited to their particular environment and thus have a reproductive advantage, increasing the representation of their particular traits over time. Evolution has been largely discredited, though it is still taught in schools due to activist judges.

But the process of natural selection is not an evolutionary process. The DNA in plants and animals allows selective breeding to achieve desired results. Dogs are a good example of selective breeding. The DNA in all dogs has many regressive traits. A desired trait can be produced in dogs by selecting dogs with a particular trait to produce offspring with that trait. This specialized selective breeding can continue for generation after generation until a breed of dog is developed. This is the same as the "survival of the fittest" theory of the evolutionists. Many different types of dogs can be developed this way, but they can never develop a cat by selectively breeding dogs--that would be macroevolution. Natural selection can never extend outside of the DNA limit. DNA cannot be changed into a new species by natural selection. ....

Supporters propound upon the Theory of Evolution as if it has scientific support, which it does not. They switch tactics when pressed against the wall with solid scientific proofs against the Theory of Evolution by stating that evolution is "only" a theory. Using this flip-flop approach they try to have it both ways. They claim scientific support when none exists, and they claim it is only a theory when the theory straddles them with outlandish, impossible conclusion that violate scientific truths. Evolutionists simply ignore reality, slink into denial and walk away when presented with the scientific facts.

Speaking of activist judges, here's Mr. Brayton's reproduction of Con'pedia's article on "Judicial Activism:"
There are two major types of judicial activism practiced in the United States' court system:
1. Liberal judges striking down laws that uphold core conservative American values
2. Liberal judges refusing to strike down laws that subvert core conservative American values

The most famous example of this is Roe v. Wade

As a physicist-in-training, I was really pissed off by their entry on the theory of relatvity (courtesy of Chad Orzel):
Unlike most advances in physics, the theory of relativity was proposed based on mathematical theory rather than observation. The theory rests on two postulates that are difficult to test, and then derives mathematically what the physical consequences should be. Those two postulates are that the speed of light never changes, and that all laws of physics are the same in every (inertial) frame of reference no matter where it is or how fast it is traveling. This theory rejects Isaac Newton's God-given theory of gravitation and replaces it with a concept that there is a continuum of space and time, and that large masses (like the sun) bend space in a manner similar to how a finger can depress an area of a balloon. From this proposed bending of space the expression arose that "space is curved." But experiments later proved that space is flat overall.

I had long, beautiful hair once. . . then I read this, and ripped it all out.

Now you may be wondering, "Why doesn't Jeremy just quote from the site itself? Why is he ripping off the hard work of real blogger?" And thus, we return to the beginning. . .

If you tried the Con'pedia link at the top of the page, chances are that you, like me, sat for five fucking minutes waiting for the site to pop up, only to get a "This page cannot be displayed" message. According to Mr. Brayton, Con'pedia is blocking IP addresses. Apparently, a few people got together and decided that, well, Con'pedia is a self-parodying website anyway, why not make parody entries for the site? At least that's what they say: it actually looks like their trying to block their critics. I'm sure this is the case, seeing that even though I did not vandalize the site, or even attempt to visit it until today, I've been blocked, likely for visiting the highly critical ScienceBlog websites.

And as a result, I have, once again, completely missed the boat.

If anyone does does get through, be sure to comment on what horrors you have witnessed.

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