Okay, I won’t mince words. Conservapedia sucks. I find the whole idea of a separate encyclopedia based on a narrow viewpoint revolting. If the facts don’t back up all of your positions, maybe you should change your positions, rather than going off to build your own parallel universe (including your own encyclopedias!) where bias rules? It’s scary that the theocrats and the neocons in this country basically live in their own separate world where they don’t have to hear, nay, even think about things they disagree with. They have their own news channel, their own radio stations, their own schools and educational materials (some that proclaim the Earth is only thousands of years old!), their own churches, their own sport (NASCAR), and now even their own collaborative encyclopedia? How can a group of people just decide to collectively disassociate with reality to such a degree? Here’s the mission statement from the front page of their site:
Conservapedia is a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American. On Wikipedia, many of the dates are provided in the anti-Christian “C.E.” instead of “A.D.”, which Conservapedia uses. Christianity receives no credit for the great advances and discoveries it inspired, such as those of the Renaissance. Read a list of many Examples of Bias in Wikipedia.
Conservapedia isn’t an encyclopedia, it’s a propaganda mill trying to disguise itself as an encyclopedia. And failing miserably. Let’s take a look at a quote from their abominable article on evolution:
Ironically, the thory of evolution is often disproved simply by the existence of those who argue against it. Intelligence, indeed the grasp of rote reason, seems beyond even the most articulate of the anti-evolutionists – a startling development, considering the difficulty of survival in modern times. Ostensibly, wolves, liberals and flagrant “street abortionists,” would easily predate upon these huddles masses – however, and perhaps due to the power of their De Jesus, many do not meet their ends this way; allowing thus for the continued distribution of their holy seed.
What the hell is that?! Is it supposed to be a coherent argument? Is it really supposed to be an encyclopedia article?! Why do blatant hostility and utter ignorance towards science always seem to go hand-in-hand with conservatism? Update 2007-02-25: I should’ve caught it earlier, but this section was a joke. Here’s a look at the opening section to the article on George Washington:
George Washington (1732-1799) was unanimously elected President of the United States of America and the Commander-in-Chief in the Revolutionary War! He was also a devout Christian, with his adopted daughter once stating that if you question Washington’s faith you may as well question whether or not he was a patriot!
Washington is perhaps the person other than Jesus who declined enormous worldly power, in Washington’s case by voluntarily stepping aside as the ruler of a prosperous nation! His precedent of serving only two terms was then voluntarily followed for 140 years!
Washington frequently invoked Christianity in his work! As General, he commanded that chaplains be included in every regiment: “The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country!
Notice how every sentence ends in an exclamation mark! Every single freaking sentence in the article! It even goes on for a few more paragraphs which I’ve mercifully decided not to quote here! It’s like the writer is in a perpetual state of amazement and awe! Even over mundane facts! Note that this article doesn’t really talk about George Washington too much, but rather, uses it to advance propaganda about George Washington’s religion!
One final thing that upsets me on a very deep free content movement level: there is no licensing information anywhere. I guess using an open source content license is too “Communist” for them, but the alternative, not using a license, is even worse. I have no idea what legal grounds they’re on with this, but it’s likely they’re setting themselves up for a world of hurt because none of the people contributing content to Conservapedia are releasing their work under any sort of license. It’s questionable if it’s even legal for Conservapedia to be redistributing and modifying this content at all. They could try to pull some draconian nonsense in the future claiming that they own all of the content that was submitted to them, but without an explicit release, that’ll never fly. And with an explicit release, who would bother contributing? Why would you want to work for free so someone else, who merely hosts the damn thing, gets all of the benefit from it? The beauty of Wikipedia is that you retain copyright to every contribution you make. It’s your’s. It is licensed so that other people can use it, modify it, and redistribute it under the terms of the GFDL, but you are still the ultimate owner. That is why Wikipedia has been so successful, and why Conservapedia is likely to fail (well, that and how ludicrous the whole concept is).
Addendum: Lots of people have been covering this Conservapedia lunacy. Here are some good links: