Browsing: Conservapedia (Wikipedia for Conservative Christian Americans)

I have a theory that in this world the powers that be try to maintain control over the population by keeping people divided, lazy, greedy, angry, horny and misinformed.

Particularly misinformed.

This theory has received something of a boost in recent days with my explorations of Conservapedia - a conservative version of Wikipedia

(Please note that I've found access to Conservapedia a little patchy over the last few days - there has been a surge of interest from the nerderati I suspect which may be overwhelming their server capacity)

Wikipedia is a publicly editable online encyclopedia, working on the premise that its articles are kept up to date and accurate by the ongoing, often simultaneous scrutiny of thousands of members of the Wikipedia community.

Anyone is able to contribute to a Wikipedia article and anyone is able to edit existing content - changes are noted and trackable and articles can be reverted to earlier forms if it is seen that someone is posting incorrect information.

Conservapedia works on a similar basis but has been developed as

a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American. On Wikipedia, many of the dates are provided in the anti-Christian "C.E." instead of "A.D.", which Conservapedia uses. Christianity receives no credit for the great advances and discoveries it inspired, such as those of the Renaissance. Read a list of many Examples of Bias in Wikipedia.

Conservapedia is an online resource and meeting place where we favor Christianity and America. Conservapedia has easy-to-use indexes to facilitate review of topics. You will much prefer using Conservapedia compared to Wikipedia if you want concise answers free of "political correctness".

I guess this makes sense - after all, as Stephen Colbert says,

reality has a notoriously liberal bias

There have already been a swag of great (and hilarious) posts about Conservapedia in the blogosphere, so rather than re-invent the wheel (please note that the wheel, just like gravity and evolution is only a theory), I might just offer up some choice quotes from the commentary to date.

Actually, before I do this, I think I need to directly quote the "Gravity Controversy", just so you know I wasn't just being sarky.

Gravity controversy

Some have criticized gravity, reminding us that it is only a theory, and that no scientist has ever seen a graviton or a space curve. Furthermore, experiments done by NASA prove that the Moon is receding (moving further away) from the Earth at a rate of 3.8cm per year, directly contradicting the theory that masses attract one another[1].

Indeed, astronomers can observe that all stars in the universe are moving away from one another. The considerable disagreement between scientists about the theory of gravity suggests that, like evolution, the theory will eventually be replaced with a model which acknowledges God as the source of all things, the Prime Mover, and the only real fundamental force in the universe.

Ok, so back to the blogosphere - Jon Swift in particular has a great post about this - check it out here

For years homeschooled children have had to rely for all of their information on Wikipedia, which is full of dangerous ideas that homeschooling was supposed to prevent from seeping into the home.

Now, finally, there is an alternative, which doesn't have any controversial ideas at all: Conservapedia. Conservapedia is based on good Christian values, unlike Wikipedia, which I gather from the name, is based on Wiccan.

In Wikipedia, according to the founders of Conservapedia, "Christianity receives no credit for the great advances and discoveries it inspired, such as those of the Renaissance." But Conservapedia gives Christianity its due for being so supportive of the work of Galileo and Copernicus.

He goes on to highlight about a dozen articles from Conservapedia, including this doozy

Theory of Relativity: "Nothing useful has even been built based on the theory of relativity.…'All things are relative' became popular as atheists and others used relativity to attack Christian values.

There remains enormous political support for the theory of relativity that has nothing to do with physics, and Congress continues to spend billions of dollars unsuccessfully searching for particles predicted by the theory of relativity."

Now it's easy (and fun) to draw attention to the unconventional opinions of others (and boy, how deep did I have to dig to phrase that politely) but the scary thing is that not only are there a number of people out there who will take the "information" they glean from Conservapedia as fact, they believe (are led to believe more accurately I guess) that people with different view points are "the enemy".

Conservapedia also posts a list of the Conservapedia commandments (I'm surprised that there aren't 10) which are meant to ensure that content is accurate and impartial.

Check this out.

The Conservapedia Commandments

This page is the only rule page on Conservapedia. These guidelines are kept simple in order to avoid the arbitrary and biased enforcement that is rampant on many other websites. If you would like to propose an amendment to the Conservapedia Commandments click here

Ok, so let me just be clear - more rules leads to arbitary and biased enforcement?

The Commandments

1. Everything you post must be true and verifiable.
2. Always cite and give credit to your sources, even if in the public domain.
3. Edits/new pages must be family-friendly, clean, concise, and without gossip or foul language.
4. When referencing dates based on the approximate birth of Jesus, give appropriate credit for the basis of the date (B.C. or A.D.). "BCE" and "CE" are unacceptable substitutes because they deny the historical basis. See CE.
5. As much as is possible, American spelling of words must be used.[1]
6. Do not post personal opinion on an encyclopedia entry. Opinions can be posted on Talk:pages or on debate or discussion pages.

Edits which violate these rules will be deleted. Users who violate the rules repeatedly will be blocked. A blatantly inappropriate entry, such as vandalism or obscenity, can result in immediate blocking without warning.

1. ↑ You will only be blocked for violating command 5 if you repeatedly change words from American spelling to another spelling.

This is probably my favourite aspect - we don't care what the hell - sorry, heck - you say about any topic under the sun, just make sure you don't use that deceitful foreign spelling. (And when I say foreign, of course, I mean English, coincidentally enough the name of the language.)

I will make one important (and serious) point here - I respect everyone's right to hold dear to whatever set of beliefs, ideas and values that they choose. This is a big mysterious universe that no-one has all the answers to and there is room enough for all manner of ideas.

I also believe that people have a right to politely try to share these beliefs with others - the development of culture and civilisation comes from the spreading of ideas and knowledge.

Knowing that we don't know everything is the greatest knowledge we possess - it's not necessarily very comforting or easy but (in my humble opinion) it should lie at the base of all ideas.

Fundamentalism - the absolute belief that your set of ideas are right and anyone who doesn't share them is foolish/pitiable/damned at best and a sworn enemy at worst is where this world has gotten things rather wrong. (And I apply this equally to all forms of belief from organised religions to Atheism as well as political ideologies).

Now of course, this is just my opinion and I reserve my right to hold it and to mock express wonder at those of others.

Update: Ok, while perusing the Examples of Bias in Wikipedia page on Conservapedia, I did note that they deny the Theory of Relativity post that I quoted earlier in this posting.

On examination, the Conservapedia article doesn't read like that any more - although, given the nature of Wiki based encyclopedias, it may well have at the time that Jon Swift and the Wikipedia crew were looking at it.