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Entry 485, on 2007-03-01 at 14:43:37 (Rating 4, Computers)

Wikis seem to be a popular new technology. Well, they aren't actually that new, but they do seem to be gaining more exposure as a useful tool, probably because of the popularity of Wikipedia, the wiki-based free encyclopedia. The latest wiki I became aware of today is the Conservapedia. This is a wiki powered encyclopedia of conservative dogma.

A prominent feature of their "home page" is an article criticising Wikipedia for being biased. I'm sure they have a point, because any information source which is created by humans will be biased. The question is how much bias is there, and how detrimental is it to the usefulness of the information source as a whole. I find Wikipedia to be an excellent source of information. Some articles are marked as being potentially biased, but the vast majority of the information there is reliable.

The ironic thing is that the Conservapedia is grossly biased, in fact, based on what I have seen, it is useless as a source of information. Anyone wanting to find truthful, unbiased facts would be better to know nothing.

For example, here is a section from their article on evolution: "Creationists can cite material showing that there is no real fossil evidence for the macroevolutionary position and that the fossil record supports creationism: In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation..." I can't imagine what they must be thinking. There is no way the fossil evidence supports any form of Creationism I have ever heard of, and it clearly supports evolution (the distinction between macro and micro evolution is artificial since the same processes drive both).

Then they parrot this old argument: "Evolution Violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics". This has been explained for many years and it simply isn't true. The second law does not apply in this situation for several reasons, the most important being that the evolutionary environment on Earth is not a closed system.

Here's a criticism of Wikipedia: "Wikipedia allows the use of B.C.E. instead of B.C. and C.E. instead of A.D. The dates are based on the birth of Jesus, so why pretend otherwise? Conservapedia is Christian-friendly and exposes the CE deception." I'm not sure what their real problem is here. Both formats are widely used, and acceptable elsewhere. Why should an encyclopedia be "Christian friendly"? Is that really supposed to be a good thing? Surely being "religion neutral" would be a a good thing in the context of a general information source.

I presume this site is serious. Maybe I've been taken in and its just a clever spoof. But I'm afraid I have to conclude that its a genuine encyclopedia for morons: the internet's first moronpedia!


Comment 1 (376) by George on 2007-03-02 at 20:21:36:

The Conservapedia is a fair alternative to liberal web sites like Wikipedia. Are you not prepared to accept any alternative points of view? Your criticism shows you don't want alternative opinions challenging what you believe. Is that really a scientific way of thinking?


Comment 2 (377) by OJB on 2007-03-02 at 20:25:14:

I am happy to consider any alternative points of view as long as there are facts to back up the alternative view. Just repeating nonsense which has been discredited years ago (such as the criticism of evolution related to the second law of thermodynamics) is just tedious.


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