Wikipedia too liberal for you?

Plug: The current Cites & Insights includes another set of comments and controversies related to Wikipedia. If you prefer mediocre HTML to well-designed PDF, you can get the article by itself..

I have a number of misgivings about Wikipedia. Liberal or “anti-American” or “anti-Christian” bias wasn’t one (or three) of them.

But one of the Schlafly clan of True Americans knows better. The result is Conservapedia. (You may have trouble getting through. The site appears to have none too robust servers. Or maybe someone came to their senses…) [Oh, and thanks to Mark C. Chu-Carroll at Good Math, Bad Math for the tip!]

I kid you not. As of right now (February 21, 2007, 5:15 p.m. PST), the entry for “kangaroo” ends with this wonderful science under “Origins”

Like all modern animals, modern kangaroos originated in the Middle East and are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah’s Ark prior to the Great Flood. It has not yet been determined whether kangaroos form a holobarmin with the wallaby, tree-kangaroo, wallaroo, pademelon and quokka, or if all these species are in fact apobaraminic or polybaraminic.

After the Flood, kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia. There is debate whether this migration happened over land — as Australia was still for a time connected to the Middle East before the supercontinent of Pangea broke apart — or if they rafted on mats of vegetation torn up by the receding flood waters.

I’m not making this up. Evolution–or, rather, “The Theory of Evolution”–is fairly strange, and the discussion and debate pages are nothing short of magnificent. For those of you interested in religion, you’ll want to know this fact, from the main page’s “”Today in History” for February 2:

Did you know that faith is a uniquely Christian concept? Add to the explanation of what it means, and how it does not exist on other religions.

What’s wrong with Wikipedia? Prime examples seem to be that some articles use CE instead of AD for dates after 0 and that some articles use British/Canadian spelling. Both of which sound pretty suspicious to me.

Assuming this site stays around, I’d expect conservative scientists and other thinking conservatives to denounce it or at least separate themselves from it. But maybe that’s giving it more attention than it deserves.

8 Responses to “Wikipedia too liberal for you?”

  1. Sarah Clark Says:

    *headdesk*

    well, to each their own, I suppose…

  2. Jennifer Macaulay Says:

    Wow!!!! Thanks for the link. I particularly like the line “Christianity receives no credit for the great advances and discoveries it inspired, such as those of the Renaissance.”

  3. Jason Says:

    Conservapedia? Sounds about as original as the “1/2 Hour News Hour.” What’s next? ConservaTube? RightSpace? Second Right-to-Life? Ayn at Random?

  4. walt Says:

    I rather like Ayn at Random. I’m surprised RightSpace isn’t already operating (and maybe it is!). But I’d guess most Ayn supporters would be less than thrilled with Conservapedia as it now stands!

  5. Daniel Cornwall Says:

    Hi Walt,

    Have you considered whether the Kangaroo article might have been posted by a prankster? I grew up fundamentalist (since recovered) and never heard anything like that.

    Another thing to look for would be to see how the article changes over the coming days and months. Even if a somewhat weird creationist sincerely believed in the kangaroo article, perhaps Justice Scalia or William F. Buckley will drop by and change it back to a somewhat more mainstream version.

    Given the newness of the tool, I don’t think it’s time to start equating conservative with ignorance.

  6. walt Says:

    I’m not equating conservative with ignorance. I know enough intelligent conservatives not to make that equation. I may be equating Conservapedia with ignorance, but that’s not at all the same thing. (For that matter, my brother-in-law is one of the leading lights of ID, and he’s extremely intelligent and not at all ignorant. Doesn’t mean I agree with him…)

    Actually, ignorance is the wrong term in any case.

    If you can get to the site, check out a few other pages; I think you’ll find that the Kangaroo item is not atypical.

    When you grew up, plate tectonics weren’t that solidly established. Trying to make plate tectonics and a literal view of the Bible fit together causes mental gymnastics like believing that continental shift happened since the Flood. And, of course, that humans were around for the Flood. That’s some fast restructuring of the earth–but it limits the number of sciences that have to be thrown out the window.

    I’m told the entry on Gravity is interesting as well, but I can’t get back to Conservapedia…

  7. Daniel Cornwall Says:

    Mea culpa! Mama mia culpa! I did see the entry on gravity, and other things. I have to concede that the founders of Conservapedia are indeed creationists who believe things that freshman physics should have cured them of.

    I thought about revising the entry on gravity, pointing out that the fact the Moon is receding from the Earth at 3cm a year merely shows that gravity isn’t the only force acting on the earth-moon system. Then I realized that I wasn’t responsible for fixing the entire Internet.

    In my now humble opinion, the thing to do is see if people, particularly politicians, start using it as a reference resource.

  8. walt Says:

    I never got to the Gravity entry; not enough spare time to keep retrying as the server times out.

    In the end, I think it’s another example of why satire is so difficult these days: The targets tend to be so much more extreme than any plausible satire.

    Of course, given the unfolding story at Wikipedia–Seth Finkelstein’s covering it here, here –the best piece–and here–I wonder whether Wikipedia doesn’t need to be renamed Walesopedia?


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