Wednesday, November 19

Wikipedia is part of the liberal elite media?

Did anyone else know this existed?? Apparently there are a select (dare I say rabid?) few who believe that Wikipedia is polluting the minds of American citizens with liberal & biased information. The solution? Something called the Conservapedia.

I found the link on feministing and decided I could go for some time wasting instead of homework. So I followed the link and poked around on the site. After just a few minutes, I decided that an aneurysm or shock induced heart attack would probably hinder my ability to complete graduate school. Of course, instead of actually going back to my work, I decided to blog about my encounter.

I can't decide if I highly recommend that you check out their site, or strongly caution anyone remotely interested in real dialogue against a visit. Call me crazy, but isn't Wikipedia the exact opposite of liberal and biased? The whole idea of a wiki is that everyone (regardless of political persuasion or interest) can edit the information, as long as it is credible and 'backed up' by citation. If the people at Conservapedia believe that their sources could stand up to peer review why not post their information to Wikipedia?

Instead of providing us with a more nuanced view of complicated issues, they basically attempt to scare people straight (pun intended). Examples:

1. *Abortion causes breast cancer.
2. Homosexuals want to take over, and make everyone else gay. If this were to happen, procreation in America would halt and our enemies could attack us & win. (I wish I were making this up..)
3. Dinosaurs are only "GENERALLY considered to be extinct." I knew it! All of those raptor nightmares are actually premonitions of events to come. I better stock up on rocket launchers..
4. Oh, people and Dinosaurs also co-existed.
Any measurements that prove otherwise (carbon dating shmarbon dating) are part of the liberal elite anti-religious plot.
5. Israel is perfect and all Muslims are bad. Now generally speaking, I'm pro-Israel. But I'm also realistic and recognize that no young democracy is without faults. I am also passionately against making gross generalizations against an entire religion. So yeah, the Conservapedia people have some nice info about the founding of Israel but that doesn't make it any more unbiased than the supposedly liberally controlled Wikipeida.

Ironically enough, I was semi-convinced last summer that the Wikipedia founders had an agenda and trolled for liberal pages to delete. Apparently I page I wrote did not have enough outside sources. This is true, but understandable given that the info had only been online for about 10 hours (8 of which were in the middle of the night) and I was ready to cite away as soon as I got up in the morning & had some coffee. By the time I got to the computer, the page had already been flagged and removed. The page that was flagged and deleted in seemingly record time was about a pro-choice organization..hence my Wiki paranoia.

Apparently, I had it all wrong. Wikipeida is actually trying to promote homosexuality, abortion and pornography by allowing open access to information and instituting rigorous research and citation requirements for all of its pages. Yikes!

* If you're concerned..check out what the National Cancer Institute has to say. Basically, some early studies that showed the possible link were seriously flawed (small sample size, case control instead of cohort etc. I'm getting all public health school geeky here with the explanation, so check out their info ) and all of the new, well-designed studies have found no link.