Information icon.svg Please vote in the 2017 board of trustees election. The cabal thanks you for your service.

Conservapedia:Schlafly debate tactics

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Wigocp.svg This Conservapedia-related article is of largely historical interest, and not necessarily the focus of RationalWiki today.
Conservapedia was a major focal point in the early history of RationalWiki, but long ago ceased coming up with new ways to appall and amuse.
Our energies are now spent debunking other, fresher examples of religious fundamentalism and creationist claims.
For RationalWiki's less ancient content, try the cover story articles or a random article.
Conservlogo late april.png
Conservapedia
Introduction
Newcomer's Guide
What is going on?
Commentary
Best of Conservapedia
Blatant plagiarism
Differences with Wikipedia
Hijacked articles
"SDG"
"TZB"
"Fab Five"
Sysops
Timeline
CP in the media
In-depth analysis
Active users
Illustrated guide
Fun
Article Matrix
Greatest Insights
Parthian Shots

More about CP

Andy Schlafly has accumulated a battery of debate tactics which ensure that he (and, by extension, Conservatism) never, ever lose.

Schlafly Definition[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Postmodernism

A Schlafly Definition is a special type of debate tactic one observes most typically in an argument with Conservapedia founder Andrew Layton Schlafly. When backed into a corner, Schlafly simply will change the definition of a key word in order to effectively win the agument.[1]

While related to the Schlafly Stretch, the Schlafly definition does not require the same recursive pattern. Rather, a Schlafly definition can be used at any time to turn around the argument, making it close in function but not in content to the Schlafly Reversal.

Subjective vs. Objective[edit]

The most frequently-used Schlafly definition is his idiosyncratic usage of the terms "subjective" and "objective." For a quick refresh, see the dictionary definitions of subjective[2] and objective[3]. From this, it appears that Schlafly's definitions are almost backwards, but he still favours "objectivity" over subjectivity.

For example, in the following situation, Schlafly expresses disapproval on the main page of a "100 Most Influential Conservatives" list compiled by "clueless Brits" at the Telegraph. A user questions this overreaction on the main talk page:

The list from the Daily Telegraph states that it is conservatives who influence American politics, whereas the list produced here was simply top conservatives. So the Telegraph's list is really a rating of conservatism combined with influence rather than just the former. This explains some of the differences, and any others can simply be put down to differences of opinion...I see no need to go calling people 'clueless' for simply having a slightly different opinion. I bet every person on this website would produce a slightly different ranking of conservatives.[4]

Schlafly, not able to accept failure no matter how reasonable his opponent, responds with the Schlafly definition of "subjective":

Ranking conservatives is not as subjective as you pretend. It's less subjective than, for example, ranking the best baseball players. There may be minor differences, but most baseball fans would generally agree on the ranking. The ranking of conservatives is more objective, and the Telegraph is clearly clueless as illustrated by its ranking Lieberman ahead of Scalia.[5]

In case the rational observer has a hard time parsing this one, Schlafly's logic can be broken down the following way:

  1. A list of the greatest baseball players is subjective (which is odd, as rankings tend to be points based or stats based, which is pretty objective), however most fans would agree with it.
  2. A list of the greatest conservatives is less subjective than a baseball listing - because I say so.
  3. Therefore, such a list is completely objective, and anyone who disagrees is clueless.

Other Examples[edit]

Key Term Real-world definition Schlafly definition
abstract 1. considered apart from concrete existence: an abstract concept.
2. not applied or practical; theoretical.
3. difficult to understand; abstruse
something I could never prove, but want to claim anyway.[6]
obscure of undistinguished or humble station or reputation something or someone I haven't heard of (e.g. Giuseppe Verdi[7], Lord of the Rings)
open-minded receptive to new ideas or information unquestioningly receptive to my ideas or information (e.g. moral relativism and the Conservative Bible Project)
rant a bombastic, extravagant speech a post disagreeing with me which is longer than 3-4 sentences

Deny this and lose all credibility[edit]

"Deny this and lose all credibility" is a common Schlaflyism, and a clever way of winning an argument before it has even begun. Andy uses it commonly as a prelude to a discussion, in which he posits his latest brainfart as an undeniable fact, then insists any opponent agrees with the statement. If they do not, they are insane, deceitful, stupid, or all three, and hence have no credibility and are not worth debating. Its best use is when the statement that must not be denied is the crux of the argument which is attempting to be engaged, in effect stating "I will debate this topic with you as soon as you agree that my analysis is the correct one; if you do not, you are not worth debating," thus creating an scenario in which Andy cannot lose. More often, however, the "undeniable" statement will be entirely unrelated to the topic at hand, often about one of his "big three" issues: school prayer, abortion, or gun control.

Godspeed[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Conservapedia:Godspeed

"Godspeed" is Andy's way of saying, "Fuck you".

Last Wordism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Conservapedia:Last Wordism

Last Wordism is a neologism in which liberals supposedly must always have the last word. This is especially humorous in light of the Schlafly Rearguard.

Liberal Claptrap[edit]

Liberal claptrap has become another of Andrew Schlafly's standard catchphrases, along with "You're clueless" and "Godspeed." However, the latter two appear to have fallen out of favour recently.

Conservapedia defines "claptrap" as "pretentious but insincere or empty language. It can refer to any nonsense rants that purport to argue a valid point." As with all things liberal with Schlafly, "liberal claptrap" is meant as a snarl word, designed to denigrate any collection of thoughts and ideas that Schlafly sees as being liberal.

To date only two articles, specifically using the phrase, have been created on Conservapedia.

  • "Liberal Claptrap of the Week"img was created by Schlafly on 31 March 2010. The page is described as "a feature of Conservapedia that recognizes a particularly nonsensical or absurd article or statement resulting from a liberal mindset." However, since the initial posting, the page has never been updated again.
  • "Liberal claptrap based on Fields Medal"img was created by sysop TK on 19 August 2010 and played on Schlafly's misogynistic feelings towards a woman possibly winning the Fields Medal for mathematics. Ironically, a woman did not win, meaning that such statements as "The "glass ceiling" for women in mathematics has finally been shattered!" are no more than... er... claptrap.

Main page news usage[edit]

The remaining uses are mostly in the Mainpage news items, although it does occur on talk pages too, normally to shoot down a dissenting comment. It also makes an appearance in the list of "Best new conservative words," where an example explaining the word states, '"the professor wasted the rest of the class on his liberal claptrap."

Here are examples of it appearing on the Mainpage:

  • Torrent of liberal claptrap follows today's announcement of Al and Tipper Gore's marriage breakup.
  • "Newspapers likely to be free in the future: survey." Perhaps people are tired of paying for the liberal claptrap in today's newspapers!
  • "Countdown to the end of liberal claptrap: one month left before Election Day and the end of liberal control of Congress"[8]
  • In a classic moment, Andy managed to combine "liberal claptrap" with a "clueless" when he stated, "Clueless liberal claptrap: "Like Carter, Obama is Right But Doesn't Get Credit." [9]
  • "Liberal claptrap of the week: "Experts Rank Nancy Pelosi Among Greatest House Speakers!"[10] (whilst ignoring the experts include religious commentators and Republicans.)
  • "Liberal claptrap of the week: "Kentucky officials never saw Ark Encounter feasibility study." [5] Reality check: Noah didn't do a "feasibility study" either! [11]
  • "A state of emergency has been declared for 29 counties in Wisconsin, as a blizzard sweeps across the United States. Where's the liberal claptrap about global warming now?"[12]

Reversions[edit]

Andy frequently reverts edits to articles, claiming he is removing "liberal claptrap."[13] In addition, anything he disagrees with is fair game. For example, when pointed to a chart on abortion policies by the UN, he dismissed it as "liberal claptrap, spreading more misinformation than anything else."[14]

The biggest irony of all came when Schlafly removedimg "liberal claptrap" from CP's "Population Bomb" article - "claptrap" which he himself had addedimg some 18 months before.

Schlafly Rearguard[edit]

Any experienced defender of the Conservapedia realm will invariably find him or herself in the position of being mercilessly hounded by the forces of the Atheist Liberal "fact" lovers. When you are backed against the wall and within inches of the slavering jaws of the scientific method junkies, the Schlafly Reversal may not be strong enough to keep from being forced to acknowledge defeat. At this time, the only recourse available to a true Defender of the Faith is to employ a rearguard. In the school of military tactics, a rearguard is a small force left behind to stop or delay the advance of the enemy long enough for the rest of the army to make a retreat.

The first step is to secretly call for the help of another ally. Be sure to do this in a way that cannot be traced back to yourself. Secrecy will allow you to maintain plausible deniability.

When your designated rearguard arrives on the scene, be sure to immediately stop responding to any arguments going on at the time. The rearguard will then say something like this:

"No John, the point is that you are going to respect this website one way or the other. This site was founded on Judeo-Christian, conservative values, and it is you who is pushing otherwise. If you don't like it, you will leave."--Karajou 18:07, 27 May 2007 (EDT)
"THIS PAGE HAS BEEN TEMP. LOCKED. John Smith, Karajou, other Sysops, take this argument to TOE!. Now." --Sysop-TK /MyTalk 18:14, 27 May 2007 (EDT)
"Two things, John: 1. you're not going to push liberal beliefs here, and that includes a ToE belief; and 2. you're getting pretty close to starting a fight with your blatent [sic] statements of "cowardice" directed at Aschlafly. It stops now."--Karajou 17:51, 27 May 2007 (EDT)

This tactic is most effective when coupled with a series of user blocks and locking the offending article, rendering the debate effectively over by locking out the enemy at the gates.

As you can see the rearguards have allowed you to escape without having to admit defeat, and any locking or blocking is not attributable to you.

Examples:

  • Here we see Aschlafly getting his ass handed to him. In swoops Karajou to save his Master's butt. The timing is wonderful, the swabbie has waited until after Aschlafly has made his last post, then blocks the user. On the talk page this will look like a great victory for Dear Leader! having beaten back the atheist horde (of one) single-handedly.

Schlafly Reversal[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Chewbacca Defense
Andy Schlafly, developer of the Schlafly Reversal, using it IRL.

The Schlafly Reversal is a debating tactic used to extricate oneself from an unwinnable position, or as a way of summarily dismissing damaging statistics or logic. This tactic is dependent on allowing the opponent (who must be a Liberal for the Reversal to be effective) to put forth some form of "factual" argument using some variety of "statistic" or "science" which may be damaging to your own position. In the event that the opponent is not a Liberal, or if their political orientation is unknown, a simple randomly generated statistic "proving" the individual's "Liberalness" can be employed. For instance: "I do know, with 95% certainty, what your positions are on classroom prayer and evolution."--Aschlafly 10:26, 25 May 2007 (EDT) For help in fabricating the appropriate statistic see Schlafly Statistics. Hence, the opponent is now officially a Liberal.

At this time, the Schlafly Reversal is best used with the following phrases:

"Many liberals don't mind being deceitful and I don't waste time debating them.".--Aschlafly 14:24, 27 May 2007 (EDT)
"Remember, some liberals don't mind being deceitful, and all of us end up relying on things that are not true because of it." :-) --Aschlafly 13:40, 27 May 2007 (EDT)
"It's another liberal falsehood. I don't expect that falsehood to bother liberals, but it will matter to everyone else. It's going into the growing list of liberal deceit."--Aschlafly 16:53, 27 May 2007 (EDT)
"Remember, liberals don't mind being deceitful. We all get fooled by that, and that is why it is essential to track down the basis for a liberal claim before repeating it. God help all of us."  :-) --Aschlafly 14:07, 27 May 2007 (EDT
"...liberals crave attention and don't mind being deceitful."--Aschlafly 11:25, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

Note the use of the :-) to emphasize the non-threatening quality of your statements while at the same time exhibiting our own smugness.

The Reversal can even be used in the political arena:

"Democratic Senator and Presidential candidate Joe Biden is listed on famousplagiarists.com for his widely publicized copying from British liberal Neil Kinnock and then pawning it off as his own, and then initially denying he had done anything wrong. This was not the first time Biden had plagiarized. The resultant exposure of his unacknowledged appropriation of Kinnock's work forced Biden out of the 1988 presidential race,[8] but he's back running in 2008 and liberals do not seem to mind his prior deceit one bit."

In the hands of an expert the Reversal can be used to even change history:

"Freud is taught to high school and college students without any admission of his deceit."--Aschlafly 21:17, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
"The insistence on liberals describing Franklin as a deist continues to amaze me. I'll bet the correlation between those who insist Franklin was a deist and liberals is nearly 100%. It doesn't matter if the claim is made by a scholar or a student. Liberals want Franklin to have been a deist, even though Franklin himself implicitly rejected that label and prayed for divine intervention, something deists rejected."--Aschlafly 12:22, 24 May 2007 (EDT)

A variant of the Schlafly Reversal was observed on 21 May 2007 when an opponent's lengthy counterargument was itself turned into a proof for one's own position:

"Whew!!!! You protest far too much in denying that that prosecution today by Germany of homeschoolers (hundreds of them) is a remnant of Nazi Germany. You protest far too much in denying that free speech is not fully allowed in Germany. [...] It's amazing how much effort you put into denying that the prosecution of homeschoolers is from that era, when numerous American articles confirm that it was." --Aschlafly 14:31, 21 May 2007 (EDT)
"You're not fooling anyone. There are remnants of totalitarianism still existing in Germany, and your defense of it illustrates the continuing problem. Thank you for your postings because others would have doubted that people defend jailing homeschoolers." --Aschlafly 18:10, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

It should be noted that using the Reversal can lead to undesired consequences. Wily Liberal opponents may even try to use the Reversal against you. In the event that this happens the following defense is effective against the Reversal (but only for Conservatives, Republicans, and politicians):

"Sure, some deceits are justified, just as self-defense can justify killing in rare circumstances."--Aschlafly 18:24, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

In the even more unlikely event that the Reversal does not work, your only recourse is to retreat. The first step is to throw your opponent off somehow, an effective way of doing this is by a lame attack on his or her user name:

""John", which I don't think is even your real name,"--Aschlafly 17:16, 27 May 2007 (EDT)

Quickly followed by:

"Don't post to my talk page and don't try to engage me in debate unless you abide by simple rules that avoid falsehoods, and that correct them promptly when made. Thank you."--Aschlafly 17:16, 27 May 2007 (EDT)
"I know liberals insist on having the last word. But this is my talk page, and the last word will be mine. Don't post here again on this issue. Thank you and Godspeed."--Aschlafly 14:08, 25 May 2007 (EDT)

The Ancient Mayans predicted the world would come to an end on December 21, 2012.Do You Believe That? Many leading historians predict this will occur if and when Andy combines the Schlafly and Russian Reversals, resulting in a split in the space-time continuum and reversing gravity itself. An example of such might be "Andy, why is the evolution article locked?" "In (liberal) Soviet Russia, article request to unlock YOU!!"

Mathematical formulae[edit]

Hopefully your new understanding of the Schlafly Reversal will make you unbeatable in any argument or debate you are engaged in, no matter how bad your position or understanding of the topic may be. Remember, the following logic always works:

Agree with aschlafly → You are correct → Therefore, I am correct.

Disagree with aschlafly → You must be a liberal! Gosh! <insert random statistic proving you are a liberal> → Liberals exhibit deceit. → You are lying. → Therefore, I am correct.

See, you are always correct when you use the Schlafly Reversal (not to be confused with Reverse Cowgirl).

Schlafly's Law[edit]

Schlafly's Law states:

Anyone who brings classroom prayer into an argument which is not about prayer or school requires no further serious consideration and is considered to have lost the argument.

It is named in honor of Andrew Schlafly, founder of the blog Conservapedia, who uses classroom prayer as a hard-and-fast benchmark for conservatism. If you're all for classroom prayer you're okay by Schlafly. If you recognise that there is more than one religion and it's not a teacher's place to promote religion in a classroom - even if you love Ronald Reagan, own plenty of guns, deny climate change and evolution - then you're a smelly librul and not to be trusted. Hence why he brings it up against anyone who may be giving him a good spanking in a political discussion. This man can bring classroom prayer into anything. And we really do mean anything, with about, say, 92.8% certainty.

Schlafly Slip[edit]

The Schlafly Slip is one of several debating tactics used to extricate oneself from an unwinnable position. It is similar to the Schlafly Reversal, but while the Reversal introduces a tangent to the (losing) argument, the Schlafly Slip is a direct exit tactic, in effect "giving the slip" to the debate opponent.

The distinguishing characteristic of the Schlafly Slip is that it uses one of several dismissive lines used to exit the debate in order to save face, accompanied by a declaration that this is the final statement on the matter, often threatening the other poster (either explicitly or implicitly) with banning for "Talk, talk, talk" or Last Wordism.

Examples:

  • Example one: I don't have any more time to show how wrong you are
", I'm not going to spend all day responding to your logical errors and non sequiturs. This is my last response." [15]
  • Example two: There's no point in continuing to debate a closed mind
", there are plenty of open-minded people with whom I can discuss issues. I'm not going to waste more time discussing issues with you until you demonstrate a more open mind." [16]
  • Example three: Shut up and build my encyclopedia, and your questions will answer themselves
"Lots of questions by you, ''. Contribute more, and more substantively, and you won't be so bewildered in the future." [17]

Schlafly Stretch[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Moving the goalposts

The Schlafly Stretch describes a debate tactic in which a party, desperately trying to defend a losing position, puts forth logic and/or evidence that stretches credulity to an impossible extreme rather than simply conceding the point.

The first distinguishing characteristic of the Schlafly Stretch is that while debate often involves stretching a point to reach a desired conclusion, the stretch of logic generally has a basis in reality, while the Schlafly Stretch has no such constraint.

The second distinguishing characteristic of the Schlafly Stretch, compared to a simple case of Moving the goalposts, is that it is built on itself in an almost recursive pattern. As the validity of each logical reach is challenged, an even more untenable stretch of logic and/or evidence is invoked to defend it.

The third distinguishing characteristic of the Schlafly Stretch is that the person using the technique typically has a personal emotional investment in the outcome of the debate. This is critical, because the need for personal validation is the driver that allows even an educated individual to stretch logic to extremes that they would ridicule if done by others.

The Best of the Public[edit]

The classic example of this technique is in Andrew Schlafly's defense of his statement that "The best of the public is better than a group of experts." In defense of his "new conservative insight", Schlafly responded to critics who pointed out that the "best of the public" are typically experts in a given discipline by redefining what "expert" means:[6]

Challenge:
This is an interesting discussion, though I'm having a hard time seeing the difference between an expert and the "best of the public." Isn't an expert precisely that, someone among the public who was gifted enough at something to go through specialized training and become even better?
Schlafly Stretch Response:
...an "expert" is a particular type of person who pursued a particular credentialing path. It usually entails years of specialized learning from ages 16 to 25, at the sacrifice of other activities or pursuits. Typically experts are from middle or upper class families that value credentials. Women who have children during those ages -- the most natural ages for childbearing, are disqualified. Also, criticizing the mainstream or saying something politically incorrect is a disqualification. Only a tiny percentage of the public fits this narrow track of an "expert".
Challenge:
That's an interesting distinction, the first time I've heard it put that way. Still one point for me is unclear. Are you saying that the "best of the public," as per your definition, is made up of people who do have expertise in a field, just not the credentials required for them to be called "experts?" Or are you saying, rather, that one does not need to invest time and hard work in a field at all to contribute meaningfully to it?
Schlafly Stretch Response:
...you still seem to cling to the "expert" point of view, as though being "smart" means having superb insights, while not being "smart" means an incapability to do so. In fact, excellence can appear from unexpected places. Bob Beamon set a record for the long jump that lasted perhaps 30 years even though he was not generally a great long-jumper. Or purely mechanically, a broken clock is more precise than a working clock is, twice a day. Some of the very best songs (e.g., American Pie) have been by artists incapable of anything comparable.
Challenge:
Actually, I have a very open mind about this, as it's been clear to me for a long time that creativity and inspiration are very different animals than competence and technique. And all of these are still different from the issue of "credentials" you gave earlier. Your "American Pie" example blurs the lines between these: it was a great song written by a competent professional singer/songwriter. The fact that Don McClean was able to write a song at all shows that he at least knows how to sing, how to play an instrument or two, how to set text to a melody, and how harmony works together with melody. Any one of these are considerable technical achievements, and that's why not everyone can write a song, much less a good one. The fact that he hasn't come up with anything comparably great has little to do with his abilities as a musician, and more to do with a lack of inspiration or creativity.
My biggest question is still with the definition of expert. Ideas are different things than achievements, don't you agree? Would the Wright Brothers have succeeded without expertise in engineering, math, and a deep understanding of scientific trial and error? Those skills did not fall from the sky. So are you saying that your definition of "expert" is only a matter of credentials, regardless of abilities obtained through practice and hard-earned knowledge? Or are you saying that the "best of the public" don't need credentials or an ability to turn ideas into achievements?
Schlafly Stretch Response:
...an "expert" is someone who has traditional credentials, is recognized by his peers, and plays the system often to maximize credit for himself. If you're suggesting I'm somehow against learning and hard work, I'm obviously not. Contributions by non-experts typically, but not necessarily always, are by people who picked up their own knowledge through hard work and non-conventional paths. There can be "flashes of genius" too, like the woman who woke up in the middle of the night with verses to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." If you're determined to deny a role for inspired wisdom, then obviously I'd disagree with you about that.
This continues to degrade, with the critic eventually calling "bullshit!", which is answered by even greater levels of Schlafly Stretching:
Challenge:
Your main point, as I understand it, is that in every field there is a group of credentialed experts who are the gatekeepers of all ideas falling under their domain. Because of their narrow-mindedness and orthodoxy, they are unable to produce any radically new insights. Therefore, people who fall outside of this group, "the best of the pubic" as you call them, will produce the most interesting insights. Have I understood this much correctly?
The problem with this model is, if there's no group of credentialed experts in a certain field, then there's nothing to compare. If "the best of the public" represents anyone outside of this elite group, then without the elite group everybody counts as the best of the public.
According to your definition there is no group of recognized experts in creative fields; you can't go to the university and get a songwriting degree, there are no distinguished professors in songwriting at Princeton (last I checked). In your last post, you said something about "expert" musicians, but then you're falling back on the traditional definition, not your own. The fact that your original definition doesn't work with pop music means that either the definition is flawed, or the examples do not match your definition.
My basic position is, I'm in total agreement with the spirit of your argument: that essentially, the best ideas come from outside of the established modes of thinking. But I believe the main page does not yet express that concept with clear-headed logic, as there are too many examples that do not fit with your definitions. You've embraced a very narrow definition of "expert" and are unable to use it consistently through to the end.
Schlafly Stretch Response:
You keep returning to music and ignoring all the other fields, but the same observation holds true in music. One-hit wonders are an undeniable phenomenon, and they surpass the best of the experts. The "credentialing" in music includes acclaim by peers and the prestige of insider awards and status, just as in other fields. The Beatles were experts, yet no song they produced was as good or as appreciated as the one-hit wonders.

Humor Before Christ[edit]

Schlafly once declared it to be a "mystery" as to whether humor existed before Christ. Numerous people questioned that startling assertion. Note how Schlafly continually narrows his definition of "humor".

Challenge:
Perhaps this entry could be clarified: is there a particular form of humor that the author had in mind? There are examples of jokes, riddles, puns, comic figurines/images, anthropoligical notes of humorous conversations, etc. from both pre-Christian times and from post-Christian 'first contacts' with cultures that had had no previous exposure to Christianity.
Schlafly Stretch Response:
You misunderstand what a Greek "comedy" was. It was not a humorous performance as meant by the term today (after the onset of Christianity).
Not bad so far. Schlafly points out that the ancients may have had a different idea of what comedy means than does the modern world.
Challenge:
Aschlafly is right in saying that the term "comedy" did not mean exactly what it does today, but KimSell is right that the works of playwrights such as Aristophanes certainly included humorous elements such as wordplay, farce and grotesque exaggeration (often surprisingly coarse by our standards). I'd also cite the episode where the children mocked Elisha in 2 Kings 2:23-24 as an example, albeit fairly base, of pre-Christian humor.
Schlafly Stretch Response:
The pre-Christian examples don't withstand scrutiny. Mockery or crude comments are not quality humor, and may not be humor at all.
Schlafly is himself not amused by crude humor, so it may not be humor at all.
Challenge:
The Greek comedy tradition was well-established by the sixth century BC and contains aspects of sexual farce, parody of 'serious' literary styles, and mockery of specific political and public figures. Comic performers wore characteristic costumes that included fat suits, huge genitalia, and grotesque masks that are still in use in modern comic performances. Greek vases depict these comic characters engaged in antics; I recall in particular a vase depicting two grotesque dwarves helping a third dwarf up a ladder or ramp - Three Stooges level humor. (The poster adds numerous other examples.)
Schlafly Stretch Response:
To one with an open mind, your vulgar "examples" tend to reinforce the basic observation: (real) humor was lacking before Christianity. Crudeness or vulgarity or mockery is not true humor, and Greek "comedies" were not attempts at humor in today's sense.
Schlafly acknowledges that there may have been humor before Christ, but insists it wasn't good humor.
Challenge:
For the elucidation of all: "The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature" describes Aristophanes as an "Athenian comic poet". Eleven of his plays survive. I know of at least one that has been performed in modern times - "The Wasps". I have a CD of it (2 CD set actually) Originally, it was produced in 422 B.C. and is a satirical comedy, poking fun at the Athenian jury system of the time and the state of contemporary politics. It is a comedy of manners, with elements of parody, occasional crudity and slapstick. Sounds like the Restoration writers to me. Or Voltaire. Even Shakespeare indulged in a bit of crudity at times. Modern productions, of course, update some of the scenes. (The poster goes into a further discussion of ancient comedy.)
Schlafly Stretch Response:
The above discussion is interesting, and I'd like to learn more about "The Wasps." But certainly much of the above, such as vulgarity, is not "humor" as defined primarily by the dictionary: the "ludicrous" or (more importantly) the "absurdly incongruous." There are dim-witted people who are amused by compulsive profanity or, as on this site, by mindless vandalism. Parody and sarcasm is also immensely entertaining to the easily amused. But this is not "humor" as defined by the dictionary, and I still haven't seen any compelling examples of pre-Christian humor. A performance like "Trading Places" would qualify, but it didn't exist. It's interesting how strenuously some people object to the proposition that humor did not predate Christianity. Surely your minds are not so closed as to think the proposition to be automatically impossible
Schlafly whips out his trusty Merriam-Webster's dictionary to define humor "officially". Note how he dismisses parody and sarcasm as not being humor, a rather amazing claim on the face of it, especially since he has himself written (very bad) parodies.
Challenge:
That being said, I do indeed believe that humor as it has been defined here predates Christianity. The plays of Plautus and Terrence especially come to mind. Mr. Schlafly, you cited specifically the film Trading Places, yes? Well one of the Roman Plautus's more well known plays, Menaechmi is similar in wit and predates the birth of Christ by...I believe around two hundred years, though I could be wrong on the exact number. It specifically deals with a pair of estranged twins and ultimately draws it's comedy from their machinations when the come together in Sicily and one twin's wife mistakes the other for her husband while her real husband is getting back at her by giving away some of her belongings to a prostitute. It is a play whose intention is to evoke laughter and gaiety through use of situational irony and circumstance. The "mistaken identity" theme is a widely recognized hallmark of humor and the play was later adapted by William Shakespeare in "A Comedy of Errors". This is only a single example and if it is insufficient to convince you then I can provide more.
Schlafly Stretch Response:
I'm not familiar with that work and welcome specific "humor" that you think is in it. I caution you, however, against automatically assuming that the play must have been intended to be "humor" as "Trading Places" is. Most ancient "comedies" were not really "humor" in the modern sense of the word, but were charming poetry. "To err is human; to forgive divine" could have been in a "comedy" in the ancient sense of the term, but it is not "humor".
That proved to be Schlafly's final comment on the "mystery". He resorted to essentially redefining ancient "comedy" as "charming poetry", which was something of a Schlafly Slip.

Schlafly Trimming[edit]

Let's hope not

Schlafly Trimming is a cover-up tactic deployed by Andy Schlafly to hide content on Conservapedia that would embarrass even him. The excuse of "trimming" is used when the content was added by a Sysop or other user he has placed trust in, and whose edits to Conservapedia generally pass with impunity. Unable to muster up the guts to simply tell said Sysop or user that the content is inappropriate for the main page, Andy simply deletes the content under the pretence of trimming.

This pretence is made apparent by the fact that Andy has absolutely no interest in actually trimming content from the main page, instead allowing both the "In the News" section and "Featured content" section to expand to colossal lengths.

Most of this trimming is aimed at content added by User:Conservative, who insists that the main page be a one-stop shop for his vast amounts of utter crap.

Examples:

  • ASchlafly trimsimg a piece of Ken's shit from the News about liberals being wet.
  • ASchlafly trimsimg one of Ken's pride and joys - "Featured Article: Evolution" - from the main page
  • ASchlafly trimsimg his picture from the Gallery of American Heroes, added by TK
  • ASchlafly trimsimg his own paean about Art Robinson

You're clueless[edit]

"You're clueless" is a very useful synonym for "you seem to know more about this subject than me". It can also be used in the context of "I don't understand you and will block you now". On occasion, it can be used to say "I do not have a reference to deny that", "those are awfully big words" or "I am frightened by your superior intellect". It is a popular phrase in the limited vocabulary of Andrew Schlafly, and can be found littered throughout his "encyclopedia".

Ironically, Andy's use of the phrase is often appropriate, as those to whom it is directed are indeed clueless. They lack the essential clue to unlock the bizarre, fumbled thought processes that have led to the statement, judgement, or observation they are commenting on or complaining about. Frequently, editors find themselves quite at a loss in this way, when "discussing" matters with Andy on his blogopedia, and in each case "clueless" is indeed an accurate description of their state of mind.

Every known use of the phrase follows:

  • 2007:
    • "Maestro, you're clueless", Andy on the Thad Cochran issue, 5 June 2007 (No fixed link for the first recorded use of the phrase, due to being in an Archive)
    • "..., but they are likely clueless about what was really in the bill." Andy on Immigration Bill, 29 June 2007
    • (Almost) "I don't think that reporter has a clue about the direction of Conservapedia or Wikipedia or education in general." Aschlafly 15:27, 4 July 2007 (EDT) (Here we are seeing it being evolved from "you have no clue")
    • "Also, you're clueless", Andy on copyright, 12 July 2007. (No oldid)
    • (Near miss) "...,but frankly I doubt you have a clue about economics." Andy on Economics, 12 July 2007. (Evolved into "You are clueless" ten days later; see below)
    • "Wumps, you're clueless", Andy affirms that wandalizm is an indictable offence, 13 July 2007 (Archive again, no oldid)
    • "National Review is clueless", Andy on their Forrest Gump review, 19 July 2007 (Here we see an innovative and more open, flexible use of a term normally applied to an individual)
    • "Order, I'm afraid you're clueless about economics", Andy recommends his Economics course, 22 July 2007.
    • "You're clueless about what drives traffic to Wikipedia", Andy on Search Engine Optimisation, 30 July 2007.
    • "You make up falsehoods about Conservapedia and are clueless about uncyclopedia also.", Andy defends himself from the "vicious henchmen" who run Uncyclopedia, 27 August, 2007.
    • "INTregued, you're clueless", Andy affirms the National Enquirer is a gossip rag, 30 August 2007.
    • "...find a good dictionary if you're still clueless. Thanks and Godspeed." Andy on deceit, 9 September 2007.
    • (Near miss) "Unfortunately, many of today's top college math progams graduate studens who haven't a clue about number theory" Andy on Mathematics, 9 September 2007.
    • "TomLee, whatever you do, don't go into the field of public relations because you seem to be clueless about what motivates the media.", Andy on the sexuality of professor Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series, 5 November 2007.
    • "your ideological rant above is clueless about the truth", Andy denies Dawkins is a Professor, against all evidence, 26 November 2007.
  • 2008:
    • "You're clueless, HMayo", Andy knows about local crime, 13 February 2008.
    • "Wow, you guys are really clueless", Andy affirms Britney Spears is an actress, 20 February 2008 (No oldid)
    • "You are clueless, Jimmy", Andy on Obama, 25 February 2008
    • "No, you're clueless", Andy affirms the common usage of 'Second Generation Atheist', 26 February 2008
    • "Both you are clueless if you don't realize what modern feminists think." Andy knows all about Feminism, 3 March 2008.
    • "You are clueless. Drug use and promiscuity are Hollywood values, and they cause death", Andy on Hollywood values, 6 March 2008 .
    • "You're a parody of a clueless liberal", Andy tries to make a lulz, 8 March 2008
    • "'PalMD', you're clueless", Andy laughs at PalMD's suggestion that he's an "expert in human medicine", 8 March 2008.
    • "You're clueless. Obama has zero military or executive experience", Andy gets his facts wrong about Obama's travels, 29 March 2008.
    • "Mathewson, I'm afraid you're clueless. Please stick around here and learn some things with an open mind. It's common knowledge that a generation ago scientists overwhelmingly believed in life in outer space. See, e.g., Exobiology. Rest assured I was not relying on what a majority of scientists reportedly believed. You are." Andy becomes sputteringly clueless himself, 5 April 2008.
    • "Gulik5, you're clueless also." For the ridiculous assertion that Andy always insists on getting the last word. And just to prove how wrong that is, he threatens to... block anyone who replies. I wonder what it feels like to live a life utterly devoid of the capacity for self-examination? 5 April 2008.
    • "Peter, you're clueless about the dangers of sending a 13-year-old girl off to a liberal college." Andy decides that when it comes to dangerous institutions like Oxford, he knows better than the experts, 6 April 2008.
    • "The author is clueless about the person he is writing about". Andy pontificates on a Scientific America [sic] review of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, 11 April, 2008.
    • ""DaBoss3", either you're clueless or you're in liberal denial", Andy dismisses an editor's better understanding of the nature of the trade mag Variety, April 18th, 2008.
    • "AdenJ, you're clueless. Hindus are quite receptive to the Bible", Andy defends his top-quality research on Liberal Gullibility, April 25, 2008.
    • " You're clueless. Ideas have consequences, and denying that does not help.", Andy fights off the liberal hordes, April 27th, 2008.
    • "..either you're in liberal denial or your clueless..." (sic), Andy defends school prayer, May 4th, 2008.
    • "Bongabill, you're clueless", Andy insists he is great at statistics, May 4th, 2008.
    • "Wow, JEdgar, you are clueless". Andy explains that those on the Right are by definition, always right, 23 May 2008.
    • "AdenJ, you sound clueless about politics", Andy knows far more about both Australian and New Zealand politics than anyone, including people who live there, 23 May, 2008
    • ""Liberalnproud", you're clueless. Labour Party leader Gordon Brown is a socialist and it looks like even the Brits are getting fed up with him." --Aschlafly 13:11, 1 June 2008 (EDT)
    • TerryH joins the growing cohort of pleasant language users at Conservapedia (call Ed!): "Are you really as clueless as the above post suggests?" 4 June 2008
    • "StatsMsn, you're clueless." Andy on whether a particular quote from Obama was referring to abortion or sex education and whether liberals support abortion as contraception. 20:42, 8 June 2008
    • "Many people could read the version you reference and come away completely clueless about how classroom prayer does not exist due to censorship of it." (italics in original), Andy on unobscuring the truth.
    • "AdenJ, you're clueless about Christianity." 'Nuff said. 17 June 2008
    • "You're clueless about my motivation and your account has been blocked for violating our 90/10 rule." 18 June 2008
    • "Boatie, you're awfully naive .... Boatie, you're clueless." Andy rejecting the notion that Richard Lenski might not see the point in gathering up all his old data for someone like Andy who has no capacity or desire to understand it. 1 July 2008
    • (Almost) "You have no clue as to what you're even talking about, neither do you have a clue as to what these IPs are or where they came from." Karajou, 10 July 2008
    • (Almost) "It's doubtful Obama has a slightest clue about -- or interest in -- American history." Aschlafly, 21 July 2008
    • Full on! "Rather, it's clear that Obama is clueless about what really happened at Pearl Harbor, and about much of American history." Aschlafly, 21 July 2008
    • "Obama did NOT go to grade school in Hawaii, so you seem nearly as clueless as he is", Andy smacks down the future President. (Archiving killed the page history, but it's in the 'Pearl harbor' section), 7 August 2008
    • "You're clueless", a brief put-down from Andy while debating The Invisible Hand of Marriage, 9 August, 2008.
    • Close enough: "Logic indicates that the AP hasn't a clue, obviously." - Aschlafly 15 August 2008
    • "Folks, you're clueless about the meaning of gossip. Newspapers and press releases do print gossip all the time. We do not and have had that in our rules since our beginning.", ASchlafly, 1 September 2008
    • (Near miss) "Second of all, I doubt you have a clue what a conservative really is", Andy on Who's running the Rhodes Scholarship, 7 September 2008
    • "Wow, JonC is clueless about what affirmative action is", Andy is all-knowing about affirmative action too, 8 Oct, 2008. (Archiving means no difflink, it's in the American History Midterm Exam section).
    • "You're both so clueless about law-and-order that it is hardly worth debating further." Andy talking about Obama voting down a particular (gang) law, 30 October 2008.
    • "I did reflect on how the BBC (and Economist) perceive American conservatives, and concluded they are clueless.", Andy reflects on liberal British media, Nov 16, 2008. (This discussion is actually a twofer: about an hour earlier, Schlafly offered this: "The BBC is liberal ... and clueless about American politics." ("ellipses" in original).
    • "FernoKlump, don't be clueless." Andy on the suggestion of ending public schooling, 17 November 2008
    • "Several here are either clueless about the very promiscuous homosexual lifestyle, or are aware of it and seek to mislead others", Andy knows all about teh gayz, 25 Nov 2008.
    • "You're clueless about Islam", Andy, acknowledged scholar of Islam makes himself clear, Nov 26th, 2008.
    • ""Boomcoach" may be easily amused but he is clueless about what the role of a president even is". Andy on the role of President of the United States, 30 November 2008
    • "You're apparently clueless about Obama's beliefs and your postings demonstrate that you're clueless about the swearing in process also." - Two for the price of one from the master! 18 December 2008
  • 2009:
    • "You're cluelessimg, Myles." 28 January 2009.
    • "Peter, you're cluelessimg about the dangers of sending a 13-year-old girl off to a liberal college." 6 April 2009.
    • "You're cluelessimg. Try reading homeschooling with an open-mind and then let's discuss. Contributions by homeschoolers far surpass, in proportionate terms, contributions by people who went to public school. / Before I waste time further on this discussion, can you indicate how you do on open-mindedness test?" Quoted extensively for complete hilarity, OMT link moved from "essay" to "CP" and left red for now. 10 December 2009
    • "Zack, you're cluelessimg." 14 December 2009.
    • "Matthew, you're cluelessimg here." 29 December 2009
  • 2010:
    • "The British list of top ten conservative movies of the decade is clueless and obscure: the author should have read our entry and found these examples: Spider-Man, Dark Matter, the Patriot and Flash of Genius." On the main page, no less! 1 January 2010
    • "Once again, the clueless Obama..." Andy finally takes his shot at the guy whose shoes he has never been fit to polish. 27 January 2010
    • "...the cluelessimg and lazy Obama..." 5 June 2010
    • "The clueless img L.A. Times claims this answer is wrong..." 2 October 2010
    • "Cluelessimg liberal claptrap..." 12 October 2010
  • 2011:
    • "Thanks to liberal restrictions on oil drilling and Obama's clueless foreign policy, gas prices continue climb". Cluelessness again hits the Front Page!. March 7, 2011

Pre-Andy usage[edit]

The following is empirical evidence that the phrase "you're clueless" evolves from the earlier "you have no clue" used by other people:

  • "Clearly you have no clue what you're talking about, so cut it out until you do know what you're talking about." Scorpionman (now User:Scorpion, Blocked by TK (inactivity) 6 May 2009) on arguments regarding evolution, 16 March 2007
  • "This comment just shows that you have no clue what communism means." User:Order on communism, 17 March 2007
  • "And they haven't clue now, as they didn't then, what's happening in the real world." RobS on anti-war protests, 19 March 2007
  • "...we see mindless partisans who haven't a clue as to what they beleive in, other than nihilism." RobS on McCarthyism, 29 March 2007 (EDT)


  • "I'm going to give you a clue as to how to identify the big lie that subverts the 1st Amendment into the complete opposite of its original intent." AmesG got hit by Roopilots6 on Law, 2 April 2007
  • "What's frustratating is, they actually hold immense poltical power, but haven't a clue what to do with it." RobS on the liberals on Wikipedia, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
  • "I get the impression you don't have a clue about the subject." RobS (presumably) to User:Order regarding election, 11 April 2007
  • "The Science flaws section of his website highligts even more flaws in modern science here and he was links to articles in which scienctists admit that the don't have a clue how the world works here." Mmeelliissssaa on Geocentric theory, 25 April 2007 (EDT)


  • "Are you completely clueless??" Rob Pommer schooling Ken on adding a Dead Sea Scrolls section in the Bible article, (between 24 April and 7 May 2007, undated and archived) (Here we see the evolved form emerging)
  • "In addition, you have obviously no clue about school situation in Germany. " schifra schooling Andy on homeschooling in Germany, 21 May 2007

Students learn from the master[edit]

Also see the temporal difference between "you are clueless" and "you have no clue" in the learning curves of Andy's Acolytes Apostles Disciples.

  • (Near miss) "you appear to listen to too many crackpots and bibliosceptics who haven't a clue what they are talking about." PJR on the authenticity of the Gospels, 18 July 2007
  • (Near miss) "...,that is the term Psychiatrists give to a condition that simply means "we haven't got a clue."" Rob Smith on schizophrenia, 15 August 2007 (EDT)
  • (Near miss) "And, please get a clue before trolling here!" TK combating a troll on George W. Bush, 31 August 2007
  • (Near miss) "Seems pretty obvious you haven't a clue who Jesus was or what his "teachings" were." Rob Smith on a Jesus joke, 6 December 2007
  • (Near miss) "You have no clue to what you are talking about", PJR on evolution, 14 January 2008
  • (Near miss) "..., but as you have already shown that you don't have much of a clue about the creation model, that's not saying much." PJR on Flood geology, 15 January 2008
  • (Near miss) "They, of course, don't have a clue as to why" Karajou on decline in circulation of newspapers, 27 January 2008
  • (Near miss) "...the paleontologists quoted in the article had no clue what they were talking about." PJR on transitional fossils, 1 February 2008
  • "Phoenix, you're clueless", Crocoite on the putting the blame on liberals on messing up the world, 9 March 2008. (The first example of cross-pollination of the term)
  • (Near miss) "...,you really don't have a clue about the idea that you are attempting to refute." PJR on refuting YEC, 10 April 2008
  • "You've shown several instances of Liberal style here, and you're clueless." IndianaJ accusing someone being a liberal, 4 May 2008. Ed Poor breaks all irony meters by issuing a warning, 21 May 2008. (Presumably) Our update on Ed's Talk page, 25 May 2008
  • "Are you really as clueless as the above post suggests?" TerryH on putting gigantic images on a short article, 4 June 2008
  • (Near miss) "You also obviously have no clue about Islam", StatsMsn on Islam, 14 June 2008
  • "Oh, nobody's objecting to you flying when clueless." Carafe schooling Andy, 14 June 2008
  • "He's so clueless he probably thinks Japan dropped an atomic bomb on Pearl Harbor!" Kajillion jumps on the bandwagon on the catchphrase (after Andy) on Obama, 21 July 2008
  • Riposte! "Moreover, according to everything i have seen here, Mr. Schlafly, you seem to have no clue what you are talking about." - Stitch75, 22 July 2008 (EDT)
  • (Near miss) "You have absolutely no clue as to what is happening in the past or right now." Karajou fighting the liberal horde, 1 August 2008
  • "WillD's clueless and insulting intervention ignores (deliberately?) the advent of a socialist government in 1997" Bugler jumps in on the crime rate of violen crimes in UK, 17 August 2008.
  • "Jinx, you're clueless." Jinx hi Jinx! got hit by AliceBG on the expected voter turnout, 2 September 2008.
  • (Near miss) "Showing once again that the left doesn't have a clue who Jesus is." Jinx hi Jinx! tried to blend in, 10 September 2008
  • "Not only are you wrong. You're clueless." AliceBG really gets the hang of it, on relation between Holocaust and evolution, 12 September 2008
  • (Near miss) "You don't have a clue!" GrandpaNicolas (Sock of someone) jumps in discussing identity of Bugler, 18 October 2008
  • "Matthews, completely cluelessimg that the point our Founding Fathers understood was that it is much harder to repress a free people that is armed, derided Rubio in the Sideshow portion of his June 22nd Hardball" (emphasis in original), TK on gun control, 24 June 2009

Clueless graph[edit]

Clueless andy.gif

Graph last updated 1 Feb 2009.

Condemnation of usage[edit]

On 21 May 2008, Ed Poor stood up for decency on Conservapedia and condemned the usage of this insulting phrase. Inexplicably, his comments were not directed at the originator and main deployer of the phrase, but at another editor.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]