Andrew Schlafly, noticing that his blog is generating a little publicity (although still blinding himself to the idea that most of it is negative publicity), and expecting that he will hit the big time very soon, has written an essay listing a number of soundbites that Conservapedians can use for P.R. purposes.
In keeping with his usual standards of accuracy, all of the talking points are complete bullshit, many of them outright lies. In this side-by-side, we address each soundbite from this versionimg of the page.
| Conservapedia's soundbite
|| RationalWiki's reply
|Conservapedia is a powerful learning source on the internet that is free from liberal bias and gossip, and is concise in conveying information.||"Liberal bias", on Conservapedia, is synonymous with "disagreeing with Mr. Schlafly."
"Gossip" is synonymous with "inconvenient truths about conservatives." Gossip about anyone even vaguely "liberal" is not only permitted but encouraged.
See, for example, the articles about "professor values" and "Hollywood values" (professors and actors being, according to Mr. Schlafly, two "liberally biased" groups) and the frequent items of gossip about these people that appear in Conservapedia's news column, including links to blog entries in lieu of reputable news sources.
See also the unsubstantiated claims that President Obama is secretly a Muslim and a socialist, and is not a U.S. citizen.
A concise article on Conservapedia is what on other Wikis would be known as a "stub." On the other hand many of Conservapedia's more popular articles are not concise at all, but almost novel-length.
|Writing an encyclopedia is a much better way to learn than reading one. You can do that on Conservapedia.||Insofar as it is not a blockable offense at Conservapedia actually to contribute there, it is a blockable offense to insert a fact-tag into an article. On most subjects, doing research or hunting down primary sources is not encouraged.|
|The best of the public is better than any group of experts. That's the spirit of the Olympics: let the best competitor win. World records are set that way.||It is quite possible for an outsider to make a mark in the fields of science or medicine. Certainly Albert Einstein made the theory of relativity at a time when he was not ex officio a physics expert. But since Mr. Schlafly denies relativity and its several benefits, he could not have been referring to this.
Indeed, Mr. Schlafly fails to grasp that advances in science and medicine are not made in the same way as world records; to make such an advance, one usually needs to have some knowledge of the subject at hand so as to build on work that has already been performed -- what Isaac Newton called "standing on the shoulders of giants."|
|Don't just watch other people exercise, but exercise yourself. Don't merely read books, but write also. 200 years ago, most people wrote beautiful letters and diaries and books.||Admirable advice. However, Mr. Schlafly then trots out the false premise that most people's writing (or perhaps just penmanship?) was better in the past; no doubt due to the beneficial effects of homeschooling, etc. In doing so, he exhibits another mainstay of Schlafly Statistics by ignoring survivor bias. Pointing out examples of beautiful writing - even numerous examples - that have been preserved for 200 years ignores the much larger starting population of barely literate chicken scratchings that were justly burned for kindling or reached their ends in the outhouse. Even by modern standards, Conservapedia resembles one large grammatical error.|
|Isaac Newton translated parts of the Bible, and considered this effort to be the source of his scientific insights. He also said that everyone else he knew who translated the Bible had marvelous additional insights. You can obtain that benefit on Conservapedia.||The historian Stephen D. Snobelen said: "Isaac Newton was a heretic." Conservapedia's own article on Newton concurs with this judgment. Most of Newton's theological work was done later in life, after the bulk of his scientific work had been completed.
But at any rate, the low standards of quality applied to science pages on Conservapedia, and Conservapedia's rejection of the contributions of scientific experts, would suggest that this claim has something wrong with it.|
|Conservapedia uncovers the original intent in history, in the Constitution, and in the Bible.||History has no writer, so it is impossible to discover the "original intent" within it.
Concerning the U.S. Constitution, originalism is a recognized school of thought on the matter of constitutional law; however, Mr. Schlafly's own interpretation must ignore the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment and completely reinterpret the Second Amendment.
Concerning the Bible, the historical-grammatical method is also a recognized school of thought in this area. However, since Conservapedia possesses no one with any knowledge of ancient Hebrew or New Testament Greek, let alone enough knowledge of Bible history to make an informed judgment in that area (with the possible exception of Daniel1212, whose contributions have been summarily rejected), their exegesis consists instead of chopping out politically disagreeable verses and rewording the King James Version by, for example, substituting "intellectuals" for "scribes and Pharisees."
|Conservapedia avoids the censorship of conservatism that plagues other sites, such as Wikipedia.||Which means that Conservapedia has among its chief contributors a number of editors who were blocked from Wikipedia for being disruptive.|
|Conservapedia is the best site for recognizing liberal bias in education.||See the definition of "liberal bias" above.|
|George Orwell said: "all issues are political issues." Conservapedia recognizes that liberal bias infects science, the Bible, and everything else.||Eek! There's liberal bias in the drinking water! Help!
But on a serious note, here is where most Christians would jump ship, and have done, for they would generally hold the belief that if Jesus had said, "Thou shalt be a liberal," they would have to become liberals.
Joseph Farah, the far-right editor of WorldNetDaily, said of the Conservative Bible Project: "Basically, those 'conservatives' participating in this idea weren't really upset when liberals messed with the Holy Scriptures. They were upset only with how they messed with them."
Additionally, the only political view that the Conservapedians and George Orwell hold in common is anti-Stalinism. It is interesting that a "conservative" site should heed the words of a socialist, taking a position that is opposed by most people and in particular most conservatives.
|Economics is very hard to learn when taught with a liberal bias. But it's to learn in a conservative way: a bigger government means more interference with the free market, and less jobs.||Going by the quality of Mr. Schlafly's on-site economics classes, economics "taught with a liberal bias" means economics taught properly, with actual case studies and exercises that actually exercise the brain. And the curriculum followed in most economics classes definitely does not take issue with the idea that a command economy is not as productive as a market economy, or the idea that government interference with the free market can produce more problems than it solves.|
|Why not Wikipedia? Wikipedia is the house of atheism on the internet. It's television in black and white. Volunteers are abandoning it like rats fleeing the Titanic.||Psychological projection much?|
|What are examples of bias in Wikipedia? Wikipedia censors criticism of liberal science, like evolution or global warning [sic]. Wikipedia refuses to give credit to Christianity, and even uses "Common Era" rather than "A.D." for dates.||Evolution is not in any wise a "liberal" theory. As to global warming, it is true that many left-wingers have used the scientific research on global warming as an excuse to advance highly immoderate and self-defeating reform proposals, but on the flip side of the coin, many pro-business groups have been found pumping money into the pockets of global warming denialists.|
|How is Conservapedia better? Conservapedia broke the story about climategate on its Main Page on the very first day: November 19th. It took the liberals at Wikipedia over two weeks to give priority to this shocking revelation, and even now its entry tries to downplay the corruption.||The story hit Wikinews on November 22 and Wikipedia had the story on its front page news column on November 24. Five days is not "over two weeks."
Indeed, Mr. Schlafly wrote this soundbite essay barely two weeks after November 19, by which time the story had dropped off Wikipedia's front page, removed by the same user who added it.|
|Isn't the balkanization of news sources a bad thing? No, it's good thing [sic]. Society is decentralizing. This enhances freedom. We don't all use the same email address, the same restaurant, or the same barber.||Mr. Schlafly might be surprised to learn that the left-wingers he despises are much in agreement with him on this point, with many of them concerned about the consolidation of news sources under companies like Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. The only difference is that they believe this introduces a conservative bias to the news.|
|What have you learned on Conservapedia? I've learned that the shape of pretzel is in imitation of arms folded in prayer, and that the first official Thanksgiving was in gratitude for the Constitution.||Major dilemma. Do we tell the Conservapedians that the first official Thanksgiving was proclaimed in 1777, before the Constitution was written, or do we let them make fools of themselves on the air?|
|What has Conservapedia achieved? Conservapedia broke the "climategate" story about the political corruption of science in global warming. Conservapedia also points out errors in scientific journals run by liberal so-called experts.||Conservapedia's first mention of "Climategate" cited a blog entry that in turn cited some other blog entries. Their track record of actually pointing out errors in scientific journals is not exactly stellar either.|
|How have students on Conservapedia done? They've gone on to top colleges and also earned many scholarships. Writing on Conservapedia is a much better way to learn than reading biased textbooks.||The success of Mr. Schlafly's students, it can safely be said, is despite his teaching rather than because of it. Not to mention that Mr. Schlafly is somewhat flexible about what constitutes a "top college," abruptly changing his negative opinion of Wheaton College when one of his students was accepted there.|
|Which is one of your favorite entries? Liberal style. It's easy to identify a liberal simply by looking at his high talk-to-substance ratio. A Conservapedian even wrote a computer program which confirmed this.||Mr. Schlafly's method of "liberal" detection is very poor, as he has incorrectly identified a number of self-identifying conservatives as "liberal" and did not identify several parodists working among the Conservapedian ranks before they outed themselves.
MarkGall, the author of the (possibly mythical) Liberal Style Bot, is a former Conservapedian who resigned the Wiki in protest against the lack of thought going on there.|
|What is a conservative approach to science, language, translating the Bible, etc? The conservative approach is to respect the data, the original intent, and the logic without distortion by atheism, liberal love of position and control, and political correctness.|
|Facts are facts, and how can you take information or facts and view them from a conservative point of view? That begs the question of what the facts are. As we've just seem [sic] in climategate, the scandal concerning liberal claims of global warming, just getting the facts is a challenge when liberals control the data.||Mr. Schlafly is exhibiting here his willingness to ignore any facts that do not fit his conclusion: instead of "facts," they are classified as "liberal deceptions." And, speak of the devil:|
|If you go out assuming that the facts will conform to conservatism, then aren't you potentially biasing everything you write about? Conservatism is logic, so I'm worried [sic] about it being contradicted by anything. Emphasizing logic helps understand the facts better. Conservatives have an open mind and respect the honest facts and original intent.||Note the Freudian slip in the first sentence. Mr. Schlafly should be worried about that; it is only a short step from saying "Conservatism is logic" to saying "My brain is a lump of Jell-O."|
|Does conservapedia reject evolution? Conservatives have an open mind, but there are about 40 counterexamples that disprove evolution, such as the beauty in nature. Evolutionists deny the existence of beauty, but it is everywhere.||Or, in a word, yes.
Concerning the 40 supposed "counterexamples" to evolution, see our side-by-side reply to that page.
When Mr. Schlafly says that "evolutionists deny the existence of beauty," what he means is, "I'm annoyed that nobody accepts my autumn foliage argument for Gospel Truth."