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Conservapedia:Teaching Closed-Mindedness

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Wigocp.svg This Conservapedia-related article is of largely historical interest and is no longer the focus of RationalWiki today.
Conservapedia (and religious fundamentalism to an extent) 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 pseudoscientific claims, authoritarianism, and deceit.
For RationalWiki's less ancient content, try the cover story articles or a random article.
Conservapedia's Teaching Closed-Mindedness essay Irony meter RationalWiki's response

Extent of knowledge[edit]

Insisting that nearly everything is known, contrary to Isaac Newton's approach that we know almost nothing.

5/5

As opposed to insisting that the infallible answer to everything is "it's in the Bible", and claiming to know all the answer's to the universe's mysteries without even considering alternative possibilities.

It seems unlikely that anyone (scientifically) even insists that everything is knowable[1][2] let alone known.[3] We have certainly learned a lot through science since Newton's time and will continue to learn more about the universe, although we must accept that some aspects are likely to remain mysterious.

Bullying[edit]

Bully, disparage and ridicule students until they accept liberal viewpoints.

5/5

Conservapedia, and Andy in particular, are the paragon of this sort of behavior (though not always towards students). Andy is widely known to tell people he will not discuss anything with them until they agree with him on particular issues. Liberal views are automatically considered incorrect, illogical, as well as possibly insane and evil. A liberal who claims to have achieved well academically will be called a liar.[4] It hasn't taken long for the talk page of Conservapedia's "Teaching Closed-Mindedness" essay to degenerate into bullying, sneering and strawmanning by Andy and especially Bugler.

Strawmen[edit]

Demonizing conservatives while misrepresenting their positions.

5/5

Every liberal-* article on Conservapedia is full of strawmen. The whole raison d'etre of Conservapedia is to demonize liberals.

This is dizziness-inducingly ironic, coming only a few white space characters after his own misrepresentation of the opinion of the entire scientific community.

Censorship[edit]

Censorship of opposing views, such as classroom prayer, meaningful debates, and dissenting views at school.

5/5

Conservapedia is practically an exercise in censorship. All contributions, however factual, which do not fit in with the prevailing views are deleted.

How is school prayer at all related? Students can introduce the issue in school multiple ways: students can discuss the political issue, and they can pray themselves. How does this equate to censorship? Positions against prayer in school are secular or non-christian in nature, not liberal.

Critical thinking[edit]

Training students to accept what a majority of people think, and then misleading them about what the majority do think.

5/5

As opposed to training students to believe what an uncertified history teacher believes is the truth based on his socio-political values, and that evidence to the contrary is the result of fraud, or teaching kids that every word in the Bible is absolutely correct and then redefining which words actually belong in the Bible.

Where is the "misleading ... about the majority view"? He's presumably referring to things such as the Roman Catholic Church accepting the theory of evolution officially and otherwise, a view he's been rejecting with the closed-mindedness he attempts to project in the essay as seen here and here.

Bandwagon[edit]

Trying to make it appear "cool" to take a particular (liberal) position.

4/5

Who exactly is supposedly guilty of this? What is "cool" is largely defined by consensus, not by what individuals tell us is a "cool" stance to take.

Conservapedia uses argumentum ad populum far more than liberals.

Conservative view: Just because so many people accept it, does not make it particularly true. Using the same logic as conservatives, one can presume that the same principle can be applied to the Bible.

Oh yes, it is also cool to wear purity rings.

Emphasis[edit]

Over-emphasize unchangeable things like race, and exaggerate the existence of scarcity.

3/5

Conservatives, of course, never do this. Unless we're talking about affirmative action presidents, women in the military, or the need for domestic offshore oil drilling.

Mental illness[edit]

Deny that illogical, atheistic viewpoints result in mental problems.

5/5

Andy came up with his hypothesis that mental illness is primarily caused by liberal education a few days before posting this. Considering he supplied zero evidence for this, only extreme conjecture, it is hardly surprising that people deny this is true. Of course, Andy would never even entertain the idea for a second that conservativism could somehow cause mental illness, despite the fact there is equal evidence for both hypotheses (i.e., none at all).

Certainly illogical viewpoints could be a symptom of mental illness (not necessarily a cause of it), but there is plenty of logic in favour of atheism, whether or not those with opposing views choose to see it.

Acceptance of theories[edit]

Presenting theories (such as evolution and anthropogenic global warming) as established facts.

5/5

Two words: Biblical literalism.

Rationalism teaches that facts and theories should be judged on the supporting evidence. Religions seek to exempt themselves from this kind of logic.

Youngsters[edit]

Teaching youngsters that it is "open-minded" to be liberal and censor the other side.

5/5

As opposed to indoctrinating youngsters that all other religions are evil? (OMG... what if Obama was a Muslim?)

Andy should get it through his head that this sort of doublethink is a communist idea, not a liberal one; liberals are much opposed to censorship, and editors at the "biased liberal newspapers" have a tendency to print every crank letter they receive, in the name of being "open-minded."

Conspiracies[edit]

Try to silence and deter criticism of liberal behavior by accusing the critics of being "conspiracy theorists."

5/5

From Conservapedia's "Conspiracy theory" page:

Common elements of Conspiracy Theories

  • The world is divided into 'Us' and 'Them'. We're GOOD, They are EVIL.
  • Our opponents are evil and subversive... possibly not even human.
  • "They" are causing all our troubles – WE are blameless and without fault.
  • Time is running out and we must act immediately to avoid disaster!

This pretty much sums up Conservapedia's worldview regarding liberals/homosexuals/atheists/feminists.