Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I have discovered the joys of Conservapedia.

"Conservapedia is a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American. . . Conservapedia is an online resource and meeting place where we favor Christianity and America . . . . you will much prefer using Conservapedia compared to Wikipedia if you want concise answers free of "political correctness".

In fact, it is so far out there that I actually had difficulty at first coming up with snarky comments about this bed of lies and misinformation. Certainly, in trying to spread this dreck they have made themselves obvious targets for hacking and parody but the sincere views expressed are the most disturbing.

For example; "Did you know that faith is a uniquely Christian concept?" This assertion seems based solely on the use of the word "faith" in various documents. It's used a lot in the New Testament and only rarely in the Old Testament and never in the Koran. You can see what that implies about these other "faiths."

"Young-earth creationism, which holds that the earth is about 7000 years old, is consistent with many observations, such as the existence and nature of the freshwater Great Lakes, the young moon and the Grand Canyon. Opponents repeatedly attempt to censor the sale of publications by the U.S. Parks Service near the Grand Canyon containing differing views of its development."

Young-earth Creationism is, in fact, inconsistent with all observations of the Great Lakes (created 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age), the young moon (formed in a massive collision 4.5 billion years ago) and it is the Creationists that have been able to limit the speech of US Park Service rangers who know that the Grand Canyon is 5 to 6 million years old but cannot say so. When their facts are slim or contradictory, they simply lie.

So, I looked up this Young Moon thing.

"The Moon is currently receding from the Earth at less than 6 inches per year. The Moon could never have been closer than about 150,000 miles or it would have been broken up by tidal forces. If the rate of recession is assumed to have averaged about 6 inches per year, the Moon's present distance of about 250,000 miles implies a young age for the Moon of no more than one billion years. Under the non-creationist claim that the Moon somehow broke away from the Earth, the Moon's rate of recession must have been faster in the past, and thus the Moon would have been only 150,000 miles from the Earth far more recently than one billion years ago. This contradicts the claim of non-creationists that the Moon and Earth are somehow several billions of years old."

I like how the entire body of geology is marginalized under "non-Creationists". I'm surprised they didn't use "Anti-Creationists" or perhaps "Heretics." Of course, their assumption is false because the math involved in the conservation of angular momentum does not lead to a simple mathematical progression of a steady 6 inches per year for a billion years. (That's why Isaac Newton invented calculus.) If fact, it was the calculations of physicists that lead to the conclusion that the moon was younger than the Earth by about 50 million years instead of having formed at the same time. This discrepancy lead directly to the theory that the moon was formed by an impact of a Mars-sized body on the Earth.

"The Moon's surface lacks the abundant iron that permeates the Earth, thereby proving that the Moon did not come from the Earth. This deficiency of iron on the Moon disproved the primary theory that the Moon must have originated by breaking off from the Earth. There is no plausible non-creation theory of origin for the Moon at this time."

Another pack of lies. An early molten planet has the light stuff (silicates) floating at the top and the heavy stuff (iron) at the core. Slam two of them together and most of the splash (that will become the moon) will be silicates. Iron on the Earth's surface isn't actually all that abundant when compared to everything else. The earths crust is mostly silicates and lighter elements (like aluminum) but convection (volcanoes, plate tectonics and the like) has brought some of the heaver stuff up to the surface where we can get to it making it seem that iron is more abundant than it actually is. The Moon, lacking the internal heat necessary to move this stuff around, has some iron at the core but is pretty much all silicates at the surface. The Creationists (or Anti-scientists or perhaps Delusional Theist Morons) don't offer any evidence to support their claims, they just say that the scientists don't know or can't explain. Is that an ad hominem argument or is it merely lying?

Hmmm, they don't have an entry for plate tectonics. No surprise. The way South America and Africa fit together like a puzzle and the relatively consistent expansion of the Atlantic Ocean (magnetic striping on the ocean floor caused by regular geomagnetic reversals provide that number) leading from a single continent 200 million years ago throws a fly in their 6,000 year old Earth ointment. Oh, wait. . . they'll just lie about that, too.

"Our solar system is one of the few that has only one sun. Only one sun and only one moon: this uniqueness may reflect the existence of only one God."

Oh, yea. That's unbiased.

On an unrelated note, Conservapedia has a terrific entry for the endangered Pacific Northwest Arboreal Octopus:

"The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (Octopus paxarbolis) can be found in the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula on the west coast of North America. Their habitat lies on the eastern side of the Olympic mountain range, adjacent to Hood Canal. These solitary cephalopods reach an average size (measured from arm-tip to mantle-tip,) of 30-33 cm. Unlike most other cephalopods, tree octopuses are Amphibian, spending only their earliest life stages and mating seasons in their aquatic environment. Because of the moistness of the rainforests and their well designed skin adaptations, they are able to keep from becoming dried out for prolonged periods of time."

OK, so it's a hoax entry, but I still want one as a pet. I wonder how long it will last before Conservapedia's "centralized authority takes steps to reduce bias and provide balance" or otherwise check their facts. Conservapedia makes a tremendous self-righteous stink about bias at Wiki but all they really do is present their own biased views and try to convince us that it's "The Truth." Much like Fox News tries to convince us they are "fair and balanced" by repeating the mantra over and over and blaming all their woes on the so-called "liberal media."

Conservapedia has locked their membership so that otherwise intelligent people don't signon and muck up their perfect wingnut world with inconvenient things like facts or with ridicule and parody. That will ensure that Conservapedia becomes even more insular and isolated from reality making for more entertaining reading.

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