Well, folks, here it is — the encyclopedia you’ve been waiting for if you’re afraid of the truth and want to live in your own little everything-is-wonderful world. It’s called Conservapedia.com, “The Trustworthy Encyclopedia”. I don’t even know where to start with this one. It’s wikipedia except they abandoned the Neutral Point of View concept, and decide to write everything from a conservative Christian point of view (which is fine), but then treat that point of view as fact (which is not). Its criticisms of Wikipedia are funny — a Wikipedia article can present all kinds of facts about something like homosexuality, but because it doesn’t explicitly say “Homosexuality is immoral” or “wrong” or “an abomination”, they view this as an endorsement and therefore Wikipedia has a liberal bias. Because you are allowed to describe years and time periods using BCE/CE in place of BC/AD, Wikipedia has an anti-religious bias. Because you are allowed to use British English rather than American English on pages about British topics, Wikipedia has an anti-American bias.
The articles use all kinds of faulty logic — how can evolution be true if smart people like Archimedes, Aristotle, and Isaac Newton didn’t propose such a theory? Plus, Hitler believed in evolution. A quote even hints that Hitler’s evolutionary beliefs caused him to believe that Germans were superior to other races, and that Jews were to be segregated. Ergo, if you believe in evolution, you are evil. Also, atheism is obviously evil because Stalin, Lenin, and Karl Marx were atheists. And of course, the old standby, “If science cannot currently conclusively prove something, it must be false” (eg. evolution, the Big Bang, a genetic basis for homosexuality). Yup, definitely trustworthy.
Here are some “trustworthy” “facts” that I learned from Conservapedia:
- The opening paragraph of the article on homosexuality says “homosexuality has a variety of negative effects on individuals and society at large“
- homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to be engage in promiscuity, violent behaviour towards their partners, homicide, pedophilia, cigarette smoking, and illegal drugs
- most hate crimes against gay people are not actually hate crimes, and hate crimes committed by gay people against heterosexuals are vastly underreported
- abortions cause breast cancer
- the theory of evolution is evil — “a vast majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position since World War II have been atheists“
- “a virgin is a person of either sex who has not married“
Obviously there are going to be articles that have incorrect facts on them; I’m sure you could go through Wikipedia and find plenty of incorrect information. However, the article on homosexuality has thirty-five sections, 290 references, and at least two thousand edits. It’s not like someone added some incorrect or misleading information — many people have. The virginity page doesn’t even mention sex, but to give an accurate description of what virginity is would require actually discussing sex, and we can’t have that, now can we? In order to “protect” people from a description of sex (and come on people, this can be done without an explicit description of how it is performed), they choose to publish something that is patently untrue. And I’m supposed to take this site seriously?
The Conservapedia article on Wikipedia is also particularly “trustworthy”. The following quotes all take place within the opening two paragraphs of the article:
- “Despite its official “neutrality policy”, Wikipedia has a strong liberal bias“
- “It has millions of entries on topics ranging from an explanation for “duh” to singles by obscure rock bands to arcane British royalty.“
- “Initially, Wikipedia was hosted on servers operated by Bomis, Inc., a company that also sold pornographic pictures.“
There’s even a page on how Conservapedia differs from Wikipedia. One of the 16 listed reasons is: “We do not allow liberal censorship of conservative facts. Wikipedia editors who are far more liberal than the American public frequently censor factual information. Conservapedia does not censor any facts that comport with the basic rules.” This is laughable, since Conservapedia not only allows but encourages conservative censorship of liberal facts, though I suppose they are up-front about it. Also, they treat the Bible and biblical scholars as a source of “facts” and conveniently ignore scientists whose findings don’t agree with their agenda.
Do I want my kids perusing Wikipedia? To be honest, no. There are indeed explicit and disturbing pictures on some pages, as well as explicit descriptions of things that an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old really do not need to have described to them. However, Conservapedia, while family-friendly, presents opinions as facts, and tries to spin homophobia, general intolerance, and anything that disagrees with their beliefs (however misguided) as “faith”. Faith has as much to do with hating gay people as Islam has to do with murdering Americans. A few extremist crackpots ruin it for the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims, and similarly, the people who created this site are simply Christian extremists teaching hate and masquerading it as faith. I won’t let my kids anywhere near this site until they are old enough to be able to distinguish facts from bullshit presented as facts.