Conservapedia: Masters of Deceit

Fox News deceives

I went by Conservapedia the other day to see what their most popular articles are. A year or so back, almost everything on that list had to do with homosexuality. I’d say they were a bit fixated over there. I was rather surprised to see a much more balanced list this time:

Popular articles at Conservapedia

There are only two anti-gay articles on the whole list! Our little conservative buddies are growing up! They’ve moved out of their anal fixation. Where are they now? According to Freud, after the anal phase comes the phallic phase. I doubt they’ll be moving beyond that. Something tells me they’ll be dicks forever.

31 Flavors of Creationism

The Discovery Institute invented Intelligent Design Creationism as an attempt to get past the ban on teaching creationism (i.e., religion) in the schools. To this end, they go out of their way to try to tell everyone that ID is nothing like creationism.

That’s why they hate it when bloggers like me append “creationism” to their term “Intelligent Design” whenever we write about it. It’s wholly appropriate that we do so. “Intelligent Design” is just a modifier. Modifiers need to have the noun they modify attached. You can say “cactus” or you can say “tall cactus” if you want to be more specific. You can’t just say “tall” when you’re talking about tall cactuses!

Likewise, “creationism” is way too vague these days. There are so many flavors, that it is usually best to specify which flavor we’re talking about. It’s awfully good of the Discovery Institute to let everyone know which flavor they support. They’re just being sloppy linguists (is that like cunning linguists?) by leaving off the noun.

That’s why this placement on the Conservapedia list is kind of funny:

ID creationism is on the list

All they need to do is get rid of that extraneous second bullet character.

An Article Written by the Authority

Many articles on that list would be fun to read, but I can’t fisk them all. Since I have to choose, I’ll choose the one that stands out the most: Deceit.

Conservapedia is the master of deceit. Nobody lies better than them. Their article on Deceit, therefore, must be superb! Let’s have a look.

They start off with a definition:

Deceit is the deliberate distortion or denial of the truth with an intent to trick or fool another.

That’s a pretty good definition. I told you this would be a great article!

Christianity and Judaism teach that deceit is morally wrong, but public schools do not.

That’s a really broad statement, considering how many public schools there are. None of them teach that lying is wrong? How does Conservapedia know this? By divine inspiration? Hey, there’s a footnote attached to that statement. That must give us the reference. It says:

For example, the Old Testament says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

Those morons! That doesn’t support their wild claim about the schools! I guess they do get their information by divine inspiration.

Deceit helps promote various belief systems with the public…. Nearly all of these examples consist of deceit that was embraced by many people in order to advance an ideological goal.

Embraced deceit is deceit that is knowingly allowed, defended or even promoted for ideological purposes. Not only did the perpetrators of the deceit promote it, but their allies were complicit also. Embraced deceit is common.

Creationists embracing their deceit


That’s a really interesting definition, especially in light of the Darwin Was Wrong conference. The creationists are embracing deceit so strongly that it’s looking a little kinky.


The rest of the article consists of 20 “examples of deceit”. Here’s what they say about these examples:

Most prominent modern examples are of liberals hoping to mislead the public through propaganda.

This implies that deceit isn’t even in the conservative repertoire. All you have to do is turn on Fox News or most talk radio to disprove that claim.

Furthermore, some of the examples that Conservapedia gives are incredibly flimsy. For example:

There are claims that president Barack Obama is a Muslim. If true, this would be a massive deception of the American public.

There is no credible evidence that this is true, so how is this an example of “liberals hoping to mislead the public through propaganda”? It’s definitely an example of deceit, but one of conservatives trying to mislead the public about Obama’s religion.

Some examples are accurate in principle, but contain fraudulent side claims:

Extremist, hyper-liberal regimes such as the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, Communist China, and North Korea elevate deceit into an instrument of political statecraft. Systematic liberal lies are the basic currency of daily governance, and propaganda delivered through state organs is as essential to these regimes as a free press to the United States.

While it is true that totalitarian regimes keep themselves in power through constant lies and deception, the claim that these countries are “hyper-liberal” is unfounded. First of all, “hyper-liberal” is an undefined term. Secondly, liberal values are (among others) freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. None of those countries embraces those values, and therefore are not liberal by definition.

Some of the examples, though, are just based on incomplete information. The best example they give is Julius Rosenberg:

For over 50 years many liberals denied that Julius Rosenberg had spied for the communist Soviet Union. Then, in September 2008, a co-conspirator finally admitted the truth in “Figure in Rosenberg Case Admits to Soviet Spying.”

What the liberals were upset about was the scanty evidence and miscarriage of the justice system that occurred in that case. There was reasonable doubt about Rosenberg’s guilt. By our standards of justice, he should not have been executed. How does finally getting the facts 50 years later prove deceit?

Alas, Conservapedia will never get the facts. Not now. Not in 50 years. Not ever.

17 Responses to “Conservapedia: Masters of Deceit”

  1. arkonbey Says:

    I’m having trouble getting past calling the Soviet Union, North Korea and communist China ‘Hyper-Liberal’. That is such an obvious contradiction.

    The massacre at Tieneman Square, the brutal crackdown on dissent by Stalin, and the deprivation of North Korea’s general population while the elite enjoy privilege are decidedly not liberal, let a lone hyper-liberal, actions.

    In fact, by the Merriam-Webster definition those actions are the opposite of liberal:

    2 a : marked by generosity : openhanded
    b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way
    c : ample, full
    4 : not literal or strict : loose
    5 : broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms

    A query on deceit: do liberals acknowledge deceit by members of their party more often than conservatives acknowledge deceit by their party? Case in point: Mentioning the Obama/muslim rumor. Conservapedia makes no mention that the rumor in itself could be deceit, only mentioning that Obama could be deceiving the world by really being a muslim.

    Stop going to conservapedia. It hurts one’s brain and makes one angry at not being able to address the stupid.

  2. 4ndyman Says:

    Ron: In general, I enjoy your posts, but I’ve got to call you out on your misuse of “reasonable doubt.” It is always reasonable to doubt that someone is guilty of a crime. A jury is asked to find a defendant guilty if they believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the evidence reveals his guilt.

    Reasonable doubt is the elbow room of a jury’s decision. It’s written in so that each member of the jury doesn’t have to be 100% sure of a defendant’s guilt or innocence. We’d never get anything done in courts if you had to be 100% sure.

    Keep writing!

  3. Parrotlover77 Says:

    By our standards of justice, he should not have been executed. How does finally getting the facts 50 years later prove deceit?

    That assumes the co-conspirator was not lying.

    I have no horse in the game here. I was not even aware of this person. He may have been guilty as sin, but I wouldn’t say one person’s admission 50 years after the fact should be considered ‘getting the facts right.’

    Also…

    There are claims that talk show host and professional whiner Gleen Beck licks sweaty donkey balls every night before going to bed. If true, this would be a massive deception of the American public.

  4. Ron Britton Says:

    4ndyman:

    A jury is asked to find a defendant guilty if they believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the evidence reveals his guilt.

    I guess I don’t understand the concept then. If there is reasonable doubt, then the prosecution hasn’t proven their case beyond that. I would vote to acquit.

  5. Ron Britton Says:

    Parrotlover:

    I have no horse in the game here. I was not even aware of this person. He may have been guilty as sin, but I wouldn’t say one person’s admission 50 years after the fact should be considered ‘getting the facts right.’

    It has been a while since I read about this case. My recollection was that the evidence was tenuous at the time of the conviction, but the country had been whipped into such a state of anti-communism that pretty much all you had to do back then was accuse somebody of communism and that pretty much sealed their fate. Imagine a Muslim getting a fair trial anywhere in the U.S. in the days after 9/11.

    As I recall, in the decades since, more evidence about his guilt has come out. I believe there was some damning evidence that came out after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The consensus of historians is that he was definitely guilty. We didn’t actually need the confession of a co-conspirator 50 years later to come to that conclusion.

    Conservapedia seems ignorant on that other stuff and is saying “See! We told you he was guilty!” Yes, but “liberals” told them that an unfair trial is an unfair trial. “Liberals” (i.e., Americans who have read the Constitution) originally doubted his guilt. That part may have changed, but the violation of his civil rights hasn’t.

  6. Thomas Says:

    Let’s all remember that Conservapedia was founded because reality, itself, has a liberal bias.

  7. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Ron, when you say “they”, are you being rhetorical, or is more than one person involved? I was under the impression that Andy Schafly was solely responsible for that abomination.

    The Schlaflys – living proof that mental illness is inheritable.

  8. K-Fed Says:

    I think they were confusing their ideologies when they wrote that ‘hyper liberal’ bit about North Korea and the USSR.

    In a strictly economic sense, these communist countries are very far left with oodles and oodles of government intervention into the economy.

    But in a social sense, rampant oppression, lack of freedom of speech, suppression of dissent, and authoritarianism in general is very far-right.

    A far-left social uprising would constitute something more along the lines of that nutso Weather Underground or whatever. You have two sides of your social scale: anarchy and totalitarianism. Anarchy is on the far-left and totalitarianism is on the far-right.

    Silly Conservapedia.

  9. Another Steve Says:

    K-Fed,

    If you can give me a minute, I’m sure I can get more confused:

    …that nutso Weather Underground…”?

    There must be some other site than the one I know about. weatherunderground.com is a wonderful weather site. Maybe better than any other weather site on the web.

    Suspecting that I’ve just put my foot into my mouth…Could you please explain?

  10. OtherRob Says:

    Man, it’s just getting harder and harder to be a thoughtful conservative, isn’t it? I like to think of myself as thoughtful and that the beliefs I hold that could be labeled “conservative” have come about — evolved if you will — from all of my experiences and observations of the world and my reactions to them. I don’t think this is true of the folks who write articles for Conservapedia….

  11. Ron Britton Says:

    Another Steve:

    You might find this informative.

  12. Ron Britton Says:

    Jeff:

    Andy Schafly is the “mastermind” (if I can really stretch the term) behind Conservapedia, but he has help. Fail that large is beyond the capabilities of just one person.

  13. TB Tabby Says:

    The Conservapedia definition of “Liberal” is “person who does anything bad, ever.”

  14. 4ndyman Says:

    TB Tabby:

    Conservapedia’s actual definition of liberal is actually a bit scarier: “A liberal (also leftist) is someone who rejects logical and biblical standards, often for self-centered reasons. There are no coherent liberal standards; often a liberal is merely someone who craves attention, and who uses many words to say nothing.” (Emphasis added)

    The article goes on to list some of the illogical and self-centered causes that most liberals support, including tax-payer funded public education, gov’t programs to rehabilitate criminals, disarmament treaties, opposition to domestic wire tapping un the Patriot Act, and the theory of evolution, which is “a key component of atheistic ideologies in the Western World.”

    For more fun, look up their definition of conservative.

  15. Jeff Eyges Says:

    That Andy is scary insane. Like, almost Westboro Baptist insane. Ought-to-be-taken-into-custody-for-his-own-protection insane.

  16. Jeff Eyges Says:

    4ndyman, I didn’t mean you; I was referring to Andy Schlafly

  17. KennyCelican Says:

    Actually, ideologues of any stripe can wind up being a bit nutty. If someone really were ‘hyper-liberal’ or a ‘radical liberal’, in the sense of being so committed to liberal ideals that they were ready and willing to kill people who consider liberal values to be less than the ultimate expression of humanity, they would qualify as ‘nutty’ in my personal lexicon just for the cognitive dissonance they’re carrying around.

    I would posit that rational Liberals are less likely, but not unable, to get inside their own OODA Loops, than rational Conservatives. Yes, the latter exists; their core value might be summed up as ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, whereas the rational Liberal response to that might be ‘if you haven’t tried it, how do you know it’s not better’.

    Unfortunately, I see far too much ‘Smite the Unbeliever’ from both sides of the Liberal / Conservative fence. Anyone that dedicated to a static ideal is almost doomed to get inside their own loop, at which point they’re not going to be good for anything except throwing knee jerk accusations.