Saturday, August 30, 2008

Conservapedia: We assume our points are true!

Due to school and other commitments, I haven't been able to blog as much as I had been. But Conservapedia decided to make an ass of themselves yet again over ideology.

In the "In The News" section, which has become "Rants and tidbits about how bad liberals and the rest of the world is, and insights into how extreme conservativism is right," the following was posted:

Deaths from cocaine and ecstacy abuse in England and Wales rose by 1,274% between 1993 and 2007, from 23 to 293, while total Illegal drug poisoning cases rose by almost 3% 2006-2007 to total 2,640. Drugs experts say the rise in cocaine abuse is caused by the influence of drug-taking celebrities such as singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, musician Pete Doherty and "supermodel" Kate Moss. Liberals still deny the toxic effects of Hollywood Values.

The link offered goes to a Mail Online article written by Charlotte Gill. The article has this quote:

Clare McNeil, of drug treatment charity Addaction, said: 'Cocaine is seen as a middle-class drug associated with success and money.

'People think they can copy celebrities and do a quick line because it doesn't have the same stigma as other class As but it's actually just as destructive.

'People are often ignorant of the risks of combining alcohol with cocaine for example, which can increase the risk of liver and heart disease, strokes and epilepsy.

'The increase in deaths among men in their 30s and 40s is worrying. It suggests that more people are continuing to experiment with drugs well into adulthood.

'At one time young people would dabble then stop as they settled down but these kind of figures suggest an epidemic."

Sounds pretty damning. Until someone visits Addaction's website, that is.

A recent news wire report concerning figures from the Office of National Statistics on deaths related to drug poisoning inaccurately quoted Addaction on its response to the figures.

Several parts of the quote as it appeared in the news story and as subsequently repeated in a number of national newspapers were incorrect.

The charity does not believe that cocaine use has risen because ‘people think they can copy celebrities’. There is no clear evidence to suggest a link between young people’s behaviour and celebrity drug use.

Addaction has also not said that the recent increase in drug-related deaths involving cocaine suggests an ‘epidemic’. Drug-related deaths involving cocaine have steadily risen since figures were collected and are now at their highest level since 1993. This is very concerning and much more needs to be done to reduce what are largely avoidable deaths. However, it cannot be inferred from these figures that more people are using cocaine and or that the problems has reached ‘epidemic’ proportions.

In fact, the report offered by Addaction never mentions, blames nor even relates anything in connection with celebrities, Hollywood or such.

Since the Gill article reaffirms Conservapedia's ideology that Hollywood is bad (i.e. "Hollywood values are characterized by decadence, narcissism, rampant drug use, extramarital sex, sexually-transmitted disease, lawlessness and death"), goes to show how bad liberals and Hollywood are for the world, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Conservapedia: Caught in blatant lies AGAIN

Wow, you'd think that Conservapedia, "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia," would try to be either one or the other. Somehow they've decided that lying is a far better way of getting their viewpoints across than just informing people of their own points.

Let's go through it one step at a time.

allegedly born in Honolulu, August 4, 1961

Is there rumor he was hatched? One of the pod people? That maybe he was born on the fifth or maybe in 1960 instead, thereby making him older and less desirable?

Oh, yes, on Obama's page on CP, it links this to an Israeli Insider page that tries to "debunk" the birth certificate. Strangely, after all the "this looks suspect" and "we think" arguments, one thing was never done.

Not one of them contacted the State of Hawaii and asked them to confirm the authenticity of the scan of the birth certificate.

I wonder what the State of Hawaii is hiding . . .

In 2007, Obama was the most liberal Senator.

Wasn't this said of Kerry in 2004? Funny how two people who don't vote similarly enough are both rewarded with "most liberal" titles. Or, it's something just made up to reflect someone's ideology about a candidate.

After all, there's no "liberal" playbook. So how can one measure whether a vote is liberal? Are there only two positions, liberal and not-liberal?

If elected, Obama would be the first Affirmative Action President.

This is just plain disgusting. Affirmative action is a method to ensure that minorities are represented in the workforce by placing quotas based on population on large companies and government organizations. Without debating whether affirmative action is successful in what it set out to do or whether it should be continued, using it to describe Obama's win if he gets the 270 votes of the electoral college is insane.

Obama has been in public office based on popular vote for years. If he wins in November, was it because the White House or the government HAD to hire him? Or was it because he won enough electoral college votes?

This is more stupidity than a lie.

Obama during the Pledge (credit: Time)

The image caption shows Obama without his hand to his heart, while Governor Richardson, Senator Clinton and another lady have their hands over their hearts. The caption says this was during "the Pledge," most likely referring to "the Pledge of Allegiance."

Now, first, how many times has any American gone to any event and had the Pledge of Allegiance done? I've been to sporting events, concerts, public rallies, school functions, Fourth of July events from the cities here . . . Never once has there been a Pledge of Allegiance done.

In fact, the photo from Time Magazine is during the National Anthem. And, guess what? The anthem of this nation does not require one to put a hand over the heart. There is no pledging, no swearing an oath, just participating in singing or, if one chooses, just listening.

Other conservative blog pages use this very same picture, and at least the dozen I checked searching "Time Magazine Obama" that had this photo listed it happening during the National Anthem. So does Time Magazine itself.

But "The Trustworthy Encyclopedia" decided that making it "the Pledge" made Obama seem more unpatriotic than CP keeps saying he is. I guess when people lie about Obama, it must be true!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Conservapedia: Liberals lie about history, but we agree with them!

In Conservapedia's news today, there was a posting trying to solicit the services of their home schooling American History course. Since Conservapedia is wrong in so many ways on a variety of subjects, it's difficult to think that they would get American History right.

We were all taught it, but it's just another false liberal myth: that the non-Christian Vikings (Leif Ericson) reached North America before the devoutly Christian Christopher Columbus did. This is yet another attempt to deny and downplay Christian achievement by distorting history. See American History Lecture One, which will teach students what is true and false about American history.

So if Conservapedia is supposed to be used as reference for students that doesn't include these liberal myths and falsehoods, and Conservapedia's course on American History will teach the truth, why does Conservapedia's entry on Leif Ericson (the very entry linked in the news posting) say:

Encouraged by the constant need of land to farm, Leif organized a voyage and bought Bjarni's ship and headed west in about A.D. 990. He followed Bjarni's route in reverse, making three landfalls after about 4 1/2 days.

The first of these he named Helluland or Flat-Stone Land which is now Labrador.

There is strong evidence that he established a Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. From the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, there was a controversy about whether or not the Norse reached North American before Columbus. The issue was finally laid to rest in 1960, when artifacts of Scandinavian origin, dating to about 1000 AD were discovered in Newfoundland.

According to some sources, Erikson was a Christian convert, and spread his new religion to his colonies. . . .

(Excerpted for "Norwegian Explorers on the ODIN website, produced for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.) Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1995 ed. "Leif Ericson."

The article cites five sources for Leif reaching North America. One, two, three, four and five. None of these mentions any Christian persuasion in the famous Norse explorer.

Yet the article doesn't cite these "some sources" as to Leif's Christianity. In fact, the article's source, the excerpted part, written by Linn Ryne, reads like this:

In 986 Norwegian-born Eirik Thorvaldsson, known as Eirik the Red, explored and colonized the southwestern part of Greenland. It was his son, Leiv Eiriksson, who became the first European to set foot on the shores of North America, and the first explorer of Norwegian extraction now accorded worldwide recognition.

The date and place of Leiv Eiriksson's birth has not been definitely established, but it is believed that he grew up on Greenland. The Saga of Eric the Red relates that he set sail for Norway in 999, served King Olav Trygvasson for a term, and was sent back to Greenland one year later to bring Christianity to its people.

There are two schools of thought as to the subsequent course of events. One of these is that Eiriksson, en route for Greenland, came off course, and quite by chance came to the shores of northwestern America in the year 1000, thus preceding Columbus by nearly 500 years. However, according to the Greenland Saga, generally believed to be trustworthy, Eiriksson's discovery was no mere chance. The saga tells that he fitted out an expedition and sailed west, in an attempt to gather proof of the claims made by the Icelandic trader Bjarni Herjulfsson. In 986 Herjulfsson, driven far off course by a fierce storm between Iceland and Greenland, had reported sighting hilly, heavily forested land far to the west. Herjulfsson, though believably the first European to see the continent of North America, never set foot on its shores. Leiv Eiriksson, encouraged by the current talk of potential discoveries, and the constant need of land to farm, bought Bjarni's ship and set off on his quest of discovery.

He appears to have followed Bjarni's route in reverse, making three landfalls. The first of these he named Helluland, or Flat-Stone Land, now generally regarded as having been Labrador. The second was Markland, or Wood Land, possibly Newfoundland. The exact location of the third, which was named Vinland, is a matter of scholastic controversy, but it could have been as far north as northern Newfoundland or as far south as Cape Cod or even beyond this.

Eiriksson and his men spent the winter in Vinland, at a place they named Leifsbud-ir, returning to Greenland the following year, 1001.

It was left to Eiriksson's brother, Thorvald to make the next voyage to the new-found territory, for strange as it may seem, Leiv Eiriksson never returned there. Subsequent attempts at settlement of Vinland were unsuccessful, due to strong friction between the Viking settlers and the native North Americans.

Though many still regard Christopher Columbus as the discoverer of the New World, Eiriksson's right to this title received the stamp of official approval in the USA when in 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson, backed by a unanimous Congress, proclaimed October 9th "Leif Ericson Day" in commemoration of the first arrival of a European on North American soil.

[Again, no mention of Leif's Christianity. Conservapedia seems to have included that somehow, without citing its source.]--[Incorrectly read the part of the Erik the Red tale. Confusing in the first few readings, but it appears that the saga of Erik the Red refers to Leif; or at least, it could. Likely my misinterpretation, my mistake. But below, I relate how this is shaky.] It also fails to mention that the United States has acknowledged that Vikings were the first Europeans to land in North America, not Christopher Columbus and the Spanish.

Looking at the history of the page, it seemed as though the Christian myth was pushed from the very beginning. According to the history page, the original incarnation of the page included:

Leif Eriksson (or Leifur Eiríksson) was born in Iceland 970 and died 1020. He was son of Erik the Red who was an outlaw from Norway, living in Iceland. He founded two colonies in Greenland and it is generaly believed that he was the first European to arrive in Northamerica which he called Wineland.

* 999 Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red travels to Norway, to serve king Olaf Trygvasson's. Leif becomes christian.
* 1000 Leif Eriksson sails back to Greenland and brings christianity with him.

Sources I've found, including MSN's Encarta encyclopedia, say that the Christian story comes from a tale about Leif's family written more than two hundred years after his death. As recorded history in the 10th and 11th centuries were kept mostly by religious sources, and the tales were written generations after Leif died, the details are shaky at best.

There is physical evidence of Leif's voyage to Newfoundland. There are details of Norway's king, for whom Leif worked around the start of the eleventh century, was Christian and not pagan. It is likely Leif could be Christian. It is also likely he remained pagan throughout his life. Regardless, his religion has no impact on whether or not he set foot on North American shores almost five hundred years before the Spanish.

So why would Conservapedia state that liberals lie about "non-Christian Vikings" finding North America first, all while linking to and promoting this lie? Another wonderful example of "The Trustworth Encyclopedia."