Opinion

Believe it or not: a “conservative” Wikipedia

Major kudos to those Republicans who have boldly stepped out of the party box and objected to the neo-con trend which has attempted to make “loyalty” the new “competence” and “conservative” the new “objective.”

A self-proclaimed-moderate friend recently directed me to Conservapedia, a reactionary encyclopedia he described as, “further evidence of a very disturbing postmodern trend to shape ‘reality’ to fit one’s preconceived values, rather than developing values from reality.”

According to its own “Conservapedia: About” page, Conservapedia was created by-I kid you not-“58 advanced homeschooled (sic) and college-bound students,” and its catch phrase is, “Tired of the LIBERAL BIAS every time you search on Google and a Wikipedia page appears? Now it’s time for the Conservatives to get our voice out on the internet!”

I’m sorry, but if you think that a search engine has a liberal bias, chances are that you’re the one who’s out of touch with reality. And since when did the definitively insular education of home-schooled kids make them objective authorities?

Articles on Conservapedia feature a few sentences about a topic, as well as a references section complete with flimsy, “anything goes” citations. And despite the fact that the Conservapedia Commandments-their term, not mine-prohibits posting “personal opinion,” articles often include an entire section on criticism of the term or topic in question. In other words, personal opinion is not allowed, but bandwagon thought/group opinion is part of the format.

My favorite article is the one on evolution. Two of their sections are “Lack of Any Credible Transition Forms” and “Little Consensus Regarding Evolutionary Process,” and the doubt they attempt to plant is based on Darwin’s original, 140+ year old doubts, namely, “Darwin himself admitted that his theory required the existence of ‘transitional forms.’ He saw no such transitional forms, but hoped that someone in the future would find them.” Oh, and they try to exclude all fossil evidence. Details.

They have an entire page devoted to “Examples of Bias in Wikipedia,” which criticizes Wikipedia of being anti-American and anti-capitalist, solely based on its article on the Bell Trade Act, and six times as liberal as the American public. It also criticizes Wikipedia of gossiping, being supportive of abortion, and “often” using non-American spelling (Ironically, I think conservatives will agree that the Wikipedia article about Conservapedia is remarkably accurate). Some other highlights: in the article about Joe McCarthy, they devote an entire section to “Support from Ann Coulter,” and in the article about “moon theories,” they use the term “non-creationist scientists.”

The logical fallacies that the larger neoconservative agenda is prone to are fittingly caricatured by Conservapedia. This funny, yet scary, website is the next step in the conservative slippery slope of truth alteration, and hopefully, it will be the last straw.

Sh*t has finally hit the fan, and hopefully the recent extreme steps of the neoconservative agenda, such as those made by Alberto Gonzales or Dubya’s handling of the war in Iraq, will have convinced people to think the issues through before you commit to a position or support a leader. And then posting that commitment on Conservapedia.

Bethany Quinn is a senior majoring in Latin American Studies and Photography. She may be contacted at b.quinn@umiami.edu.

March 23, 2007

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.