I have mentioned this before, but it dawned on me again, this afternoon, just how racist bigot Andrew Schlafly’s little hate blog, Conservapedia, fails as an educational resource. It’s not just Schlafly’s bizarre approach to education – one in which be believes that concise is good, too much information is bad and that reading books – or at least books full of “liberal claptrap” is a very bad thing.

It’s also not helped by the fact that CP is run by a bunch of power-mad, right wing maniacs, more interested in imposing their will upon the few remaining editors, than contributing to – or checking the quality of – information on the wiki. Then again, not one of them, from Schlafly down, has the necessary qualifications to pull it off – a glaring shortfall that Schlafly handily covers up, by insisting that “the best of the public” is better than any expert.

Case in point, to prove that they have no clue. Take senior administrator Brian Macdonald (aka Karajou), CP’s resident swabbie. This man spent literally hours building up the bird articles on Conservapedia – adding around 1,000 new articles over the course of a few weeks. It really was a herculean effort, especially given that the only other person doing any work was Ken Demyer, spitting out his inane and insane “essays.”

And yet, as with all things Conservapedia, it was fatally flawed. You see, Brian went to all that work during July and then got bored, or distracted, or needed to block editors again. What he left behind was not only utterly useless, but also indicative of Conservapedia as a whole – it looks ok on the surface, but you only need to scrape back the thinnest level to reveal the vacuous shortcomings and stupidity of the project.

As an example, I saw an article for “Princess Stephanie’s astrapia”. I clicked on it, secretly hoping it was something to do with the underwear of Monaco royalty. Sadly I found out it was a bird. A bird of paradise, apparently, from the category it’s in… and besides knowing it’s full scientific classification, I have no idea what it looks like, where it’s found, what it eats, or even for that matter, who classified it. So much for the “trustworthy” encyclopaedia. Admittedly, Wikipedia’s article isn’t much longer, but at least I can see what the bloody bird looks like and where it lives.

It sort of sums Conservapedia up, in the fact that they provide you with each and every brain-numbing step of its classification (19 levels as opposed to WP’s 7) and yet can’t even tell you what it eats. And they’re happy with this state of affairs!

About PsyGremlin

PsyGremlin is a former Conservapedia sysop (although the position was earned nefariously), stand up comedian, DJ, and is currently a self-employed financial adviser, who impersonates a responsible adult at least 5 days a week. However, highlighting and poking fun at the crazies out there remains his first love. Well besides pork crackling. And custard. And cricket.
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11 Responses to Birdbrained

  1. The ghost of GaryJ says:

    It’s an encyclopedia for home schooled children. If you don’t like the birds articles, finish them yourself. Otherwise, you’ll only have to a wait a short time for the students to get to flesh out the articles, post their own photographs and paintings of the birds, and put up recordings of their calls. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how industrious conservative Christian home schoolers are. Will you apologize to Karajou when school is back in season and kids show up in droves to follow his excellent biology lesson plans? I doubt you’ve got the sac to admit a great man like Karajou has the unparalleled educational insight he does. But we all know the truth, don’t we? Asshole.

    • PsyGremlin says:

      Yeah. Those conservative hordes will be here any day now. Any day now…

    • SamHB says:

      Yes, I will apologize when “kids show up in droves”. Excellent biology lesson plans? I didn’t know he was such an expert in this field. Unparalleled educational insight? Ditto.

      I’ve been watching CP for over 3 years, and people don’t sign up in droves (for constructive purposes, at least.) Furthermore, the last big push to create lots of articles on one topic was the cribbing of US ships from the US government, done by one person. Also stillborn. (That is, if we don’t count Ken “I’d flunk the Turing test” DeMyer and his many fine articles.)

      So, yeah. I’m waiting for kids to show up in droves and finish the attention-span-impaired bird articles.

      • PsyGremlin says:

        Don’t forget the (in)complete history of Civil War battles, also left half-done – and half-baked – by everybody’s favourite swabbie. When you add Terry Wobblebottom’s half-done Bible templates, it’s no wonder “wanted pages” is cluttered up their junk – scientific classifications, battlefields and obscure Bible people… legacy of the admin’s ADD.

  2. Robbert says:

    I don’t really see how an encyclopedia you have to entirely fill in yourself as a student qualifies as “unparalleled educational insight”. Call me old fashioned but back when I was in school, I never had to write my own textbooks and I prefer it that way. Incidentally, the Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia is native to New Guinea, so I doubt the students will be bringing in their own photographs of the bird in droves any time soon.

    I feel so, so sorry for those poor home schoolers, I really do. I can only imagine that in a few years time, when they’ll be denied entry into any half decent university because they’re so deficient in all sorts of knowledge and they realise their elders, whom they trusted, have been playing games with their futures, they’ll be hopping mad.

    • Kels says:

      Fact is, if the students had a quality teacher (i.e., the polar opposite of Andrew Schlafly), they would be guided in doing the research and writing the articles, therefore teaching them several skills at the same time, including research, organization, writing, critical thinking, how to give and receive critiques, etc. Even better, they’d be motivated because it was their thing, they’d decide on subjects and whatnot (among having other more formal classes, of course).

      But for that to work, you’d need at least one, probably more, competent adults willing to put the time in on the kids, a closed wiki that’s only open to the students and guides/teachers, and no particular ideology beyond what the kids bring with them.

      Obviously, this is nothing like what Andy gave us, but what do you expect?

      • PsyGremlin says:

        Of course, outside of their homework, none of the kids actually post to CP anyway, except maybe for Addison. This is odd, given that Andy created CP with the intention of providing a learning centre for his kiddies. It’s quite likely that they’ve all turned up their collective noses at it – especially after Andy’s “girls and boys’ exams.”

        Watch children need to learn and participate is a nurturer, a guide, and Andy and his goons are none of those.

        • Kels says:

          More likely Andy realized using it as a resource is actually work, and promptly let it slide. One assumes he came up with the idea on the basis he could sit back and let the kids educate themselves, and he’d be able to charge the parents for it.

  3. CS Miller says:

    How much education do women need to lie back and think of Kinder, Küche, Kirche?

  4. Genghis says:

    My favourites are the ships articles copy-pasted from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Pointless detailed articles about obscure vessels of which there are about 200 from USS Abraham to Ben Morgan then just a handful of names for the rest of the alphabet. Just the thing that a homescholar needs, a detailed knowledge of American ships but only beginning with the letter A.

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