Monday, October 12, 2009

There is something wrong with these people.

Talk:Essay:Quantifying Openmindedness - Conservapedia

I've been meaning to write about Conservapedia for a while. There is something truly amazing about this site, what with the Conservative Bible Project and their list of the best conservative terms (going back to pre-restoration England if I recall correctly) as well as their concerns about the Homosexual Agenda corrupting pure terms for sexually deviant uses (oh the horrors of the closet!). Now, I'm not as must as a linguistic prescriptivist as I claim, but I do think that words mean something (damn it!) and this sort of helter skelter willingness to play fast and loose with facts and fairness astounds me, but that's my filthy liberal leanings showing through.

But in the link, on the talk page, Andrew Schlafly is vehemently and aggressively arguing against Newtonian geometry. That Newtonian gravity is not grounded in inverse squares. His comments are amazing. People try to explain what is happening and he returns to claiming that science is close-minded, and only anti-science is open-minded.

That is, claiming that you have a scientific (observable) model for the world that does not require an infinite amount of miracles makes you close-minded.

These people are literally opposed to facts. In a way that the corrupted vision of postmodernism everyone's always throwing at the left can't ever even hope to touch.

They hate facts.

This is what is so frightening. And possibly what makes them so endlessly alluring. Or at least entertaining. The only authority they recognize as legitimate is God or Guns. (See the discussion about "peace" in the bible-rewording-project) Perhaps preferably a God With Guns (Charlton Heston?). (Although I wonder if this isn't part of the warmongering that happens about the Middle East. Not only do they have all that oil, but they're Muslims. And possibly building nuclear weapons. And if Allah has more guns than Jehovah, do they have to switch sides?) And God doesn't dole out facts, you know fact-facts that often. Facts have a distressing power to change our minds. As does understanding them. And science is distressingly full of facts. But science-facts aren't, you know, forever facts. Newtonian gravity wasn't forever, our understanding of gravity changes. Like social mores do. And language. And gods.

That doesn't mean that it's possible that inverse squares "could be" to the power of 2.00001 instead of 2. That doesn't mean that magic hand-waving about Adam riding a Brontosaurus 6,000 years ago is as likely as a (what is the estimate now?) 13.5 billion year old universe. Science admits of mystery in a way that the folks at Conservapedia cannot. Science admits of beauty and grace and wonder in a way that the folks at Conservapedia cannot. We don't know what the hell dark matter is, but we have evidence for something like it and we have to figure it out. Because we're human animals. And we have to find things out, especially if we have really cool toys. I heard an interview with a particle physicist about a year ago, I can't hope to give you a citation so just believe me, right before CERN was started up for the first time. And the interviewer asked this physicist what he was most excited to discover. And the physicist responded that he really hoped they'd find something they couldn't explain. That particle physics would be proved wrong with the flick of a switch (which is how I can't help but picture CERN). Because that'd be cool. And interesting. Because science wants mystery and beauty and questions. Science wants discoveries.

Science wants there to be monsters on the edges of the maps.

I was reading part of the travesty that they're making out of the conservative bible. There is no poetry in these people. I was reading, (who knows, it's been 15 years at least since I've had a religion class), I think Matthew and the parable of the seeds.

You know, where Jesus is talking all allegorically to the people and the apostles want to know why he's talking in riddles. And all I could think reading that was, if you believe you have to read a book literally, word for word and believe everything it says, and the hero of the book you have to read literally, word for word and believe everything it says tells you to engage in interpretation - what on earth can you hope to do?

If it weren't for their creepy insistence on guns, discrimination and injustice, I might just pity them.


  1. It's such a frightening site I can barely go there. They may hate facts, but they sure love ideology!

  2. I can't stop looking! It's terrifying.

  3. There is only one, simple, statement to say about Andrew Schlafly and Conservapedia.