Wednesday, April 20, 2011


To say that Conservapedia is a conservative knockoff of Wikipedia would be technically correct, but it's so much more than that. Its members will take any topic and give it an ultraconservative, rabidly pro-American, literalist evangelical Christian, anti-science, anti-reality slant. (At right is their old logo, complete with hilariously ironic typo.) RationalWiki's page "What is going on at CP?" does a great job of documenting their most noteworthy antics.

The fearless leader of Conservapedia is Andy Schlafly, a home-school teacher and lawyer who has absolute authority over his domain. Say anything to anger him or any of his cronies? Insta-ban. They even have a habit of completely erasing embarrassing edits, but thankfully RationalWiki takes image captures to combat this (e.g. this bizarre speculation that Obama's birth certificate might reveal him to be an atheist). It's all very Orwellian and seems somewhat contrary to their supposed belief in small, unintrusive government. Andy himself has also made some particularly crazy comments over the years. Among them:
  • It's a good thing when bookstores close, because most books other than the Bible are liberal "claptrap."
  • Having the female main character in a Disney film aspiring to run a restaurant is outrageously feminist and anti-conservative.
  • Liberals ought to criticize... the Great Wall of China... for some reason.
  • Earthquakes occurring on fault lines is a liberal dogma.
  • Atheists can't explain why fish died en masse, so we should look to the Bible for answers. (Nevermind that we can explain it.)
  • Aha! It was unusually cold in North Carolina for a week. Global climate change must be a big lie!
  • "Real" humor (whatever that means) didn't exist until the birth of Christianity.
  • He apparently really hates soccer. It's an unintelligent sport that requires little vocabulary and has strong ties to socialism.
  • Gay marriage is partly to blame for high unemployment levels in Spain.
Of course, Conservapedia's insanity isn't limited to a few offhand comments from its founder. Here are some of the site's silliest projects and articles:
  • They believe that modern translations of the Bible have a pro-liberal bias, so they launched the Conservative Bible Project. It consists of replacing any words and phrases from the King James Version that they don't like.
  • They suspect that Obama is secretly a Muslim and was born in Kenya. And his main article is named "Barack Hussein Obama" for good measure.
  • According to their Best New Conservative Words page, the number of "conservative" words is magically doubling every century. Most of the listed words have little or nothing to do with conservatism.
  • They have long lists of supposed counterexamples to evolution and an old earth, ranging from the merely wrong to the laughably ridiculous.
  • They're convinced that Einstein's theory of relativity is somehow related to moral relativism, so they've produced a page of "counterexamples to relativity." Jesus instantly healing a man from far away is one of the listed disproofs.
  • In the infamous Lenski dialogue, Andy Schlafly demands to see the "raw data" from Richard Lenski's landmark E. coli evolution experiment and gets a well-deserved smackdown.
  • All manner of strange and irrelevant articles about atheism. Why are atheists so fat (*cough*)? Does Richard Dawkins have machismo? Why doesn't he appeal to Asian women? Inquiring minds want to know!
I fully realize that not all Christian conservatives think and act this way—I was one for a few years, and am living with a few currently. Even so, Conservapedia is an endless source of unintentional humor and a great example of how irrationality can pervade every aspect of a person's thinking, from religion to science to politics.

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