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Conservapedia Revisited PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by ̆Brian Dunning   
Monday, 24 November 2008 00:00
By now most of you are aware of Conservapedia, an online wiki that bills itself as "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia". It's best known for its extreme Christian Conservative bias, but it's so whacked there's no way it could possibly represent the viewpoints of either most Christians or most conservatives. We've discussed it in the past for its promotion of Young Earth anti-science, but its take on the recent US election warrants another look.

Conservapedia's article on Barack Obama must be seen to be believed. We've been discussing it in a thread on Skeptalk, and here are just a few quotes from the article as of today:

President-elect Obama could become the first Muslim President, and may be sworn into office at his inauguration on January 20, 2009, using the Koran.

To announce his trip to Berlin in July 2008, Obama used posters which show a marked similarity to posters of Lenin.

Obama is the first person having ties to a known former terrorist to gain control over America's nuclear weapons.

Doctors from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons have stated that Obama uses techniques of mind control in his speeches and campaign symbols. For example, one speech declared, "a light will shine down from somewhere, it will light upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will say to yourself, 'I have to vote for Barack.'"

Obama said the Muslim call to prayer is "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset," and recited "with a first-class Arabic accent" the opening lines: Allah is Supreme! ... I witness that there is no god but Allah ...."

Obama's small donations are consistent with atheism and were perhaps influenced by his nonbelieving mother.

I didn't even scroll through 10% of the article to collect those quotes. My favorite bit is the photo of Obama trying on traditional clothing while visiting his father's native Kenya, a photo obviously included because of the clothing's superficial similarity to Arabic garb.

Who does an article like this serve? Intelligent criticism is much more compelling than nonsense. Off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen legitimate quarrels that can be made with Obama's stated policies, and I don't have to leave the planet Earth to come up with them. If Conservapedia's purpose is to promote conservatism, which can and is often done intelligently, why derail themselves with this total departure from sanity?

Conservapedia was originally conceived as an online educational resource for homeschooled Christian children. Conceptually that's a fine project to undertake, but if Conservapedia in its current iteration is considered by its founders to be on the right track, then I'd hope and expect intelligent Christians and intelligent conservatives to be the first ones to speak out against this attack on reason.
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I don't disagree, but...
written by Skeptic, November 23, 2008
I don't disagree with JREF's comments about "Coservapedia", but does JREF *really* want to get involved in commenting on political web sites? I, for one, cannot think of a worse time waster. Besides, doesn't it have its hand full commenting on woo-woo sites as it is?

I mean, if JREF comments about "Conservapedia", why not show the mistakes in "White Power" web sites, "Stalin was right" web sites, "Death to the Jews / Muslims / Americans / Saudis / Commies / whomever" web sites... the list goes on and on.

Simple silence is all most of those sites deserve.
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Yikes
written by bradleclerc, November 23, 2008
That is one big bucket of crazy right there.
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written by Skeptic, November 23, 2008
>>>>>>>Doctors from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons have stated that Obama uses techniques of mind control in his speeches and campaign symbols.

He sure did. They're known as "campaign slogans" and "arguments". Imagine that.
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It Seems Skeptics Have Sacred Cows Too, Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by DrMatt, November 23, 2008
I found it mildly entertaining in any case, as well as a warning of what pacses for mainstream thinking.
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written by DrMatt, November 23, 2008
And if you don't think crackpot theories of the left and middle aren't regularly covered here, you haven't been paying attention.
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written by Cuddy Joe, November 24, 2008
"If Conservapedia's purpose is to promote conservatism, which can and is often done intelligently, why derail themselves with this total departure from sanity?"

Um, because that isn't Conservapedia's purpose?

'Conservative' they may be, but they bear little resemblance to mainstream *political* conservatives. These are religious conservatives, nutbag fundies, and anything - including telling overt lies - is permissable in the service of their religion. The ends justify their means. But they are conservatives in the political sense of the word in the same sort of way that believers and woo-sters often call themselves 'skeptical'. Conservapedia is a religious fringe group effort and is just keeping its choir on the membership rolls, as well as fomenting fear to keep donations rolling in.

I think it's appropriate to story such websites and such orgs when there's a specific skeptical issue at hand, such as when they make attempts to shoehorn their beliefs into public school curriculi, but I'm not seeing that here. Sometimes it feels like the 'new' Swift is scrambling and stretching for pertinent content.
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written by GusGus, November 24, 2008
I think it's interesting that they rail about Obama being a Muslin and being an atheist in the same article. Which is it guys?

By the way, what if he IS a Muslim? Can't he still be president?
By the way, what if he IS an atheist? Can't he still be president?

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written by JeffWagg, November 24, 2008
Brian can speak for himself if he so chooses, but I believe he chose the Obama article not as a political message, but to show how this site is anti-reality while claiming to be a source of truth. It seems that many folks have gotten caught up in the politics of the issue when they're irrelevant to the point Brian was trying to make.
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Excuse me, I have to take a shower now....
written by Willy K, November 24, 2008
I just took a look at the web site in question. It's really quite grotesque. I felt like I was swimming in a cesspool. smilies/sad.gif

Someone who has a normal IQ and is not an Internet neophyte will only have to read the websites "Commandments" and then read the "Talk" pages to see that the article author(s) don't follow the rules of the website. They don't substantiate their assertions and on the "Talk" pages they answer each criticism in a childish manner by saying in essence "I'm right and you're wrong."

Take a look at the "Atheists vs. Creationists" article. Did you know that, according to them, Creationists usually win these debates? smilies/cheesy.gif

I think that the web site in question will implode on it self.

Willy K
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written by cwniles, November 24, 2008
yeah, I was looking at the sites evolution page and it really should have been labeled "anti-evolution" as it seemed to be more bashing of evolution that providing facts about it. The fact that this site refers to itself as an educational resource and not a political zine, blog or whatever, is the problem.

In the "About Conservapedia" section I found the following.
"No other encyclopedic resource on the internet is free of corruption by liberal untruths"

yeah, it's free of liberal untruths, sadly, it is chock full of conservative untruths!
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written by Cuddy Joe, November 24, 2008
Conservative and liberal are political terms, whereas Conservapedia is religion-driven.
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written by Ricsuth, November 24, 2008
On first quick skim noted the wonderful contradiction of his being both Muslim and Atheist! BS doesn't even come close. By way, over in blighty at UK Skeptics we have a poster called WeThe Sheeple giving it the 'Obama hypnosis and mind control' baloney based on a wacked out paper. Expect it is here on JREF somewhere as well. Does anyone agree that this might be a deliberate right wing effor to undermine? Guess they did not bank on just how bloody mindedly skeptical skeptics are!

http://www.ukskeptics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3149
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I agree
written by Stargazer, November 24, 2008
Some seem to think that Randi isdoing something wrong when he points out that Conservapedia is heavily biased at best and full of lies at worst. However, it's not a matter of opinion whether those statements are either spun the wrong way or lies. He quoted the Conservapedia article on Obama, and we don't have to do much else, at least not if the readership of SWIFT consists of literate, informed people. They already know it's total bunk.
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written by Cuddy Joe, November 25, 2008
The author is somebody named Brian Dunning, not Randi. Conservapedia is so bad, so obvious, it could easily be mistaken for a parody site like The Onion.
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Alexa Traffic Ranking of Conservapedia
written by bulletproofcourier, November 26, 2008
Looks like Conservapedia has no real visitors:

http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details/conservapedia.com/Barack_Obama
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written by Moogan, November 26, 2008
There's too much political inuendo and commentary on here lately. It's obvious the JREF is bent to the left, and that's fine, but political discussion is not what I want to read here. I'm outta here...permanently.
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Skepticism includes politics too; and it must!
written by HiEv, November 27, 2008
Skepticism does not end where politics begins; quite the opposite. That fact should not offend you, nor any of the other facts presented in this article. The point is that the gullibility of the public is not only played upon by con-artists regarding spooks and magic powers, but in far more important matters that affect the ability of the people to properly choose the best candidates to lead them.

Revealing the fraud of Sylvia Browne and her ilk is important, but honestly, isn't making sure that the information the public receives regarding their potential leaders, the authors of future bills and makers of other important decisions that will affect the lives of millions, more important?

This was an important election in a critical time period; the JREF authors would be fools to turn a blind eye to all matters of such importance simply because it touched upon politics. Political matters deserve skeptical treatment, and thus deserve discussion here from time to time. This is especially the case when they touch upon misunderstandings or lies regarding important subjects due to woolly or mystical thinking. This is no different than the other discussions here of, for example, fakery and fraud regarding medical devices and advice. Gullibility affects lives, and this blog shines a light on those lies.

If you have a problem with the facts presented in the article, please do speak up. However if you're just going to complain because political discussions, no matter how important or relevant they may be, offends your delicate sensibilities, then I think you may need to consider that the problem lies not on the JREF's end, but on your own.

Mr. Dunning, thanks for the article. Many sensible people have a hard time believing the ignorant rhetoric that exists out there without seeing it with their own eyes. Thank you for bringing this topic to our attention. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by BillyJoe, November 28, 2008
A message for those who continually object to the type of articles published:

In the words of "The New Scientist" and Richard Dawkins, if you don't like it you can just:

#v
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written by BillyJoe, November 28, 2008
Oh, come on, if it's good enough for Richard Dawkins...
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written by Diverted Chrome, November 29, 2008
"Conservapedia was originally conceived as an online educational resource for homeschooled Christian children."

Which it continues to be; a fine example of the nature of homeschooled conservative xtian extremist nutbags.

@Jeff
"this site is anti-reality while claiming to be a source of truth"
Just like both the ultracon movement and xtianity. Stands to reason the site would mirror the movement.

@Cuddy Joe
"Conservative and liberal are political terms, where as Conservapedia is religion-driven."
Which in the minds of this user-group are one and the same thing. They don't believe in separation of church/state (and as such do not believe in democracy/freedom itself) so their socio-revolutionary goals are clearly political.
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