Re: [asa] Conservapedia

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Thu Mar 01 2007 - 15:25:57 EST

Dear Terry,

I think you misunderstood what I was saying.

I wasn't proposing that I or anyone on ASA should "hack" onto the
conservapedia website.

What I was proposing was that I should, in the same spirit as Wikipedia, be
able to obtain an account (as Indeed I have one on Wikipedia), and that I
would contribute a balanced and neutral article on Theistic Evolution. An
encyclopedia is supposed to be unbiassed, and conservapedia promotes itself
as an encyclopedia. I therefore felt it was appropriate that they should
have an article on TE.

The reference to "hacking" was to the practice that often occurs on
Wikipedia where other people try and distort the neutrality of articles by
deliberately manipulating the text to bias it towards their own point of
view. A fascinating example of this may be found on the Wikipedia article
on "Electrical Sensitivity", where opposing factions are each trying to
tweak it towards their viewpoint.

I was suggesting that we should try and see if a genuinely unbiassed and
neutral article on TE would suffer a similar fate & if it did to note the
changes on a blog site and ask the question whether the conservapedia people
are really interested in lack of bias (their criticism of Wikipedia is that
it is liberal-biassed).

So - to clarify - I was proposing to write an unbiassed article & then see
if it really remained unbiassed. I'm sorry if I gave the opinion that I was
proposing to hack the site. That was not my intention.

However, it appears impossible to edit the Conservapedia site at the
moment. You have to have a user ID to be able to edit the articles (you
don't in Wikipedia), and they have disabled the facility to create a new
account. It's easy to see why, because a lot of mischief was created by
people giving themselves accounts. The spoof entry on "Tree Octopus" was
originally created by a user calling themselves "TrueReaganConservative",
and was a slight re-write of a spoof article from somewhere else.

> In a pluralistic society/world don't groups have the "right" to
> promulgate their views without critics' interference.

Yes, but that's not the way Wikipedia (and other encyclopedias) are supposed
to work Wikipedia promotes the concept of NPOV (Neutral Point Of View).
Conservapedia is supposed to be a "clean" alternative to Wikipedia, and
hence ought also to adhere to NPOV ideals. If it's just a site to
promulgate conservative views, then it isn't an encyclopedia IMO. For all I
know, Wikipedia might well be liberal-biassed, but if Conservapedia is to
counter this, then it must be scrupulously unbiassed.


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Received on Thu Mar 1 18:49:20 2007

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