Conservapedia: A Dumb Idea

In all of the dumb ideas to come out of the right, perhaps Conservapedia is the dumbest. Billed as “a conservative encyclopedia you can trust,” it is destined to fail miserably to expand outside the clutches of a few conservative cultists.

Wikipedia has succeeded because it has been open and accessible to all. Anyone of any political persuasion can participate in building and growing Wikipedia, not so with conservapedia — though it may claim otherwise. Wikipedia, now commonly cited in judicial opinions and other works of note around the nation, does have a liberal bias, but only because of the participants. Conservapedia has the potential to draw away from Wikipedia the conservatives who choose to participate there, while failing to gain popular traction due to its very name — an upfront banner of separatist conservative anxiety against the liberal biases of an online encyclopedia anyone can edit.

It’s a bad idea. Conservapedia, attempting to justify itself lists 32 examples of bias at Wikipedia including such horrors as:

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.

and

Wikipedia often uses foreign spelling of words, even though most English-speaking users are American. Look up “Most Favored Nation” on Wikipedia and it automatically converts the spelling to the British spelling “Most Favoured Nation.” Look up “Division of labor” on Wikipedia and it automatically converts to the British spelling “Division of labour,” then insists on the British spelling for “specialization” also.

How dreadful.

I do not deny that wikipedia has a liberal bias. It certainly does, as does modern academia. But conservatives do themselves and the public a disservice by walling themselves off. Christ said to the apostles, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,”* not “wall yourselves off from the world and only talk to each other.”

Conservapedia is a dumb idea.

*I looked up “The Great Commission” on Wikipedia to make sure I had the quote right.

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Erick Erickson

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4 Comments

  • Here I’ll say something nice. It looks intelligently designed.

    But I think there are enough echo chambers on the right and left that no side needs something like this.

  • Totally agree. Wikipedia does tend to have a liberal bias, but the way to reverse that is to encourage more participation from conservatives.

    This is a major problem within evangelical circles as well. Close to 50% of Americans profess to being Christians. So why is it that our society continues to spiral away from Christian principles? Why is our influence on culture decreasing instead of increasing?

    Because of the unbiblical idea that we should withdraw from the world instead of changing it. We may not be “of the world”, but we are in the world – and our purpose here is to enjoy God and bring Him glory. It’s hard for God to use us for His glory when we’re hiding in the church.

  • Dennis perhaps some Christians think their moral code is their own and should not be forced on those who don’t agree.

    Take the 10 commandments for instance. Anyone who has ever read the big 10 would have a hard time agreeing that all of them would make for good laws in our secular nation. Heck Commandment One isn’t a good idea for our country.

    As for Evangelical influence decreasing in general I think some would dispute that. If it is though perhaps it’s due to over reaches, such as the Terry Schiavo case, that the public has witnessed.