Conservapedia

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Conservapedia is a wiki which was established as an American conservative, Christian alternative to Wikipedia. The site was founded by Andrew Schlafly, a son of Republican grand dame Phyllis Schlafly.[1]

According to the popular mythology Conservapedia was started by Schlafly and his class of homeschoolers as counterpoint to the perceived anti-conservative, anti-Christian and anti-American bias of Wikipedia.[2] Schlafly cites the frequent use of British-English spellings, use of the terms CE (common era) and BCE (before common era) instead of AD and BC, failure to give Christianity sufficient credit for the Renaissance and preponderance of pro-evolution articles as proof of these "Liberal" biases.[1]

The site mainly provides a home for Schlafly to blog about Liberals, public schools, classroom prayer, the dangers of vaccines, and a deep-rooted dislike for President Barack Obama[3], who was at Harvard Law School at the same time as Schlafly.[4].

The aim of the site was to provide a family-friendly resource for home-schoolers "without the bias". However, the site has its own deep-rooted biases and promotes a literal Biblical worldview with support for young-Earth creationism and Intelligent Design as well as a strongly anti-homosexual, anti-liberal, anti-Darwinism, anti-abortion ethos[5].

The site was started in November 2006 with articles being written by Schlafly's home-school class[6]. However, few homeschoolers now contribute to the site except for their coursework which is mixed with the mainspace material[7].

Notoriety

Conservapedia was lampooned on The Daily Show for its creationist and anti-homosexual articles[8] but also attracted widespread attention on the internet for what has become known as the the "Lenski Affair" (or the "Lenski dialog") and for the Conservapedia Bible Project, an attempt to reword the Bible and removing "liberal bias".

The Lenski Affair

In June 2008, New Scientist published an article[9] concerning the work of National Academy of Science member Richard Lenski and a student in which they observed evolutionary change in the laboratory of Escherichia coli bacteria. When this was brought to Conservapedia's attention, it attracted the interest of the site owner, Andy Schlafly. As a creationist, Schlafly could not accept Lenski's findings and decided that Conservapedia should be allowed to verify the data for themselves. Schlafly therefore drafted a letter to Lenski in which he expressed scepticism of the findings and demanded that Lenski present his proof for evolution in the laboratory[10]. Lenski responded courteously that the evidence was presented in his paper. Still not satisfied, Schlafly drafted another letter demanding that as Lenski's work was publicly funded, the raw data should be made available to Conservapedia for review[10]. It was Professor Lenski's response to this[10] which generated much mirth in scientific and blogging circles[11]. Despite the humiliation, Schlafly wrote a third letter[12] to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, alleging flaws in Lenski's paper. PNAS dismissed Schlafly's claims and declined to publish his letter in the journal[13].

The episode is also recounted in Chapter 5 of Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show On Earth[14].

Bible Retranslation Project

The Conservapedia Bible Retranslation Project stemmed from a belief that recent translations of The Bible did not sufficiently emphasise conservative values and ideas, and was suffused with liberal politically correct phrasing.[15]

Contact Details

Website: http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bobbie Johnson, "Conservapedia - the US religious right's answer to Wikipedia", Guardian (UK), March 2, 2007.
  2. Stephanie Simon, "A conservative's answer to Wikipedia, L.A. Times, June 19, 2007.
  3. Conservapedia moots that Obama is the first Muslim president of the United States
  4. Photo of Harvard Law Review Board, Schlafly is standing 2nd from left on next to back row, Obama is seated centre in middle row.
  5. Conservapedia: Examples of bias in Wikipedia
  6. Conservapedia's entry on Conservapedia
  7. World History Course homework
  8. Daily Show: Lewis Black Exposes Right Wing Media Paranoia
  9. New Scientist: "Bacteria make major evolutionary shift in the lab"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Bad Science: All time classic creationist pwnage
  11. P.Z.Myer's Pharyngula Science blog: "Lenski gives Conservapædia a lesson"
  12. Conservapedia:Letter to PNAS
  13. Conservapedia: Response to PNAS letter
  14. Wikipedia: Conservapedia - Lenski dialog
  15. Conservapedia: Bible Retranslation Project

External resources

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