For some it’s Columbus Day. But why not also celebrate it as Anti-Flat-Earth Day*. It’s a holiday so I’m going to repost a classic, “Conservapedia: The theory of relativity is a liberal plot.”
I’m reposting it in honor of the Flat-Earth anti-science crowd — starting with Robert Bryce, of the Manhattan Institute, who tried to make a mockery of Science in the Wall Street Journal concerning a recent experiment related to Einstein’s theory.
But of course we have the larger point that Chris Mooney made in his column on how “Today’s Right is Overwhelmingly More Anti-Science Than Today’s Left.” And that brought out the American Enterprise Institute’s Kenneth Green who pulled a Charlie Sheen.
Progressives don’t need an alternative to Wikipedia because we are fact-based and science-based. Indeed, science is the foundation of progress. Perhaps that is why so many conservatives are anti-science and why the extremists among them set up the Conservapedia, which claims to be “The Trustworthy Encyclopedia,” and brags “Over 290 million Views & Over 900,000 Edits.”
And yet after all those edits, they still have the same unadulterated nonsense on the theory of relativity and all of science that I wrote about 2 years ago. And so I would ask you to put on your head vises — or your cranial containment field, if you dropped a dime on the deluxe model — and go back to the future.
First though, it’s worth noting that the Conservapedia entry for Christopher Columbus states, “As conservative historian Wilcomb Washburn explains, if Columbus had not discovered the New World, the process of European discovery might have been very different. Rather than standing as a symbol of inexorable forces, Columbus is better seen as a representative of the spirit of inquiry, Christian religious zeal, and the notable achievements of Western Civilization.”
Yes, Columbus is a representative of the spirit of inquiry in the same way that Conservapedia is representative of an attempt to destroy that same spirit of inquiry, a spirit that created modern science, one of the most notable achievements of civilization.
The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world. Here is a list of 24 counterexamples: any one of them shows that the theory is incorrect.
I would have filed this under Signs of the Apocalypse, but we are way past that. This is more like, Signs that the Apocalypse happened a long time ago but we were all too busy watching American Idol to notice.
Yes, there is a Conservapedia and its main benefit to society is that it apparently occupies the time of the great many conservatives who post meticulously-footnoted articles like the one above, titled, “Counterexamples to Relativity.”
It is hard to know what is the most mind-boggling thing about this particular article. Footnote 1 reads:
See, e.g., historian Paul Johnson’s book about the 20th century, and the article written by liberal law professor Laurence Tribe as allegedly assisted by Barack Obama. Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold.
Really? The Bible outsells The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by a hundred-fold? Well then it must be literally true word-for-word. That’s how we know, for instance, that the Sun moves around the Earth*. But still, I am puzzled how this is a counter example:
You can click on the second link to read the story in the conservative translation of the Bible — didn’t know there was a conservative translation, did you, ye of little ideological faith?
But I don’t see how that story of Jesus healing somebody proves action at a distance instantaneously. Indeed, in the conservative translation of the relevant verse
So he asked them the exact hour when he began to feel better, and they told him, “His fever broke yesterday, at about one pm.”
Then the father realized that this was the exact hour when Jesus said to him, “your son lives,” so both he and his entire house believed.
Silly conservatives. You would need to demonstrate that the healing took place exactly when Jesus spoke to disapprove the special theory of relativity — rather than say a tiny fraction of a second later. But in your retranslation, the testimony is only “about one pm” — rather than the King James version:
And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
And for the record, I was taught relativity, understand it to be very well verified, and I continue to read the King James Bible. It contains much one can learn from and is one of the two definitive rhetoric texts in English along with the complete works of Shakespeare. But I digress.
You may be wondering how Barack Obama ”allegedly” used the theory of relativity to mislead people. For that you have to go to the Conservapedia entry on the “Theory of relativity“:
Some liberal politicians have extrapolated the theory of relativity to metaphorically justify their own political agendas. For example, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama helped publish an article by liberal law professor Laurence Tribe to apply the relativistic concept of “curvature of space” to promote a broad legal right to abortion. As of June 2008, over 170 law review articles have cited this liberal application of the theory of relativity to legal arguments.
Before clicking on the link to the footnote, PLEASE PUT YOUR HEAD IN A SECOND VISE!
The second law of thermodynamics, a fundamental scientific principle stating that entropy increases over time as organized forms decay into greater states of randomness, has come under fire from conservative Christian groups, who are demanding that the law be repealed.
The truly sad thing about the Conservapedia entry is that it treats the theory of relativity like global warming or evolution — as some insidious liberal plot that needs to be debunked using pseudoscience.
And so we learn that one of the counter examples to relativity is:
The universe shortly after its creation, when quantum effects dominated and contradicted Relativity.
But where in the Bible does it say that the universe, shortly after its creation, was dominated by quantum effects to the exclusion of relativity? Geez. I have no freaking idea where these guys get their information!
Seriously, or rather, semi-seriously, how can you possibly quote astrophysics to refute relativity? Why even bother?
Weirdly, the entry on the theory of relativity includes this:
Creation scientists such as physicists Dr. Russell Humphreys and Dr. John Hartnett have used relativistic time dilation to explain how the earth can be only 6,000 years old even though cosmological data (background radiation, supernovae, etc.) set a much older age for the universe.
Conservatives need to get their story straight on Einstein! Is he liberal — conservative?
*If you go to the Conservapedia entry on Copernicus to find out what conservatives believe about whether the Earth goes around the Sun and that part of Joshua that suggests the Sun does move around the Earth, you learn this:
The reception to his work was initially positive within the Catholic Church. Years later, the Church reconsidered in connection with claims by Galileo that the Copernican model had been proven correct. Copernicus’ book was suspended until corrected by the Index of the Catholic Church in 1616, because the Pythagorean doctrine of the motion of the Earth and the immobility of the Sun “is false and altogether opposed to the Holy Scripture”.   These corrections were indicated in 1620, and nine sentences had to be either omitted or changed. The book stayed on the Index until 1758. In the 20th century, scientists adopted a view closer to the Church scientists. The consensus is now that motion is relative, that Earth-centered and Sun-centered coordinate systems are equally valid for astronomical calculations, that Galileo’s main argument for the Copernican system was fallacious, and that the doctrine of the immobility of the Sun is false.
Yes, the earth-centered system is equally valid to the sun-centered … because of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Darn it, I forgot to put my second vise on!
And how do we know that the doctrine of the immobility of the sun is false? The footnote says:
“The Sun orbits around a black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.”
But were does the idea of black holes come from? Here’s the Conservapedia entry on black holes:
Black holes are theoretical entities popularized by pseudoscience despite their implausibility and lack of ever being directly observed. Suggested by the controversial theory of relativity (see Counterexamples to Relativity), black holes are postulated to be collapsed objects, usually stars, which have become so dense that within a certain radius their escape velocity exceeds the speed of light. Thus, they absorb all matter and energy within that radius. Light and matter can enter, but nothing can ever escape.
Damn you, glossy magazine!
So black holes are another relativistic liberal plot. But if so, that how can they be cited as evidence that the doctrine of the immobility of the sun is false? So that means the doctrine of the immobility of the sun must be true — and the literal translation of the Bible is false. And that means all of Conservapedia must be bunk….
Ironically, few things have done more to undermine religion than this bizarre notion that every single word of the Bible is literally true — or, to be more accurate, that every single word of whatever particular translation somebody likes, and whatever particular books one accepts as part of the Bible, are literally true.
But still, this all begs the question, who actually wastes their time coming up with all of this Conservapedia nonsense?
Happy Anti-Flat-Earth Day!
Note: I am aware that Columbus didn’t disprove the “flat earth myth,” but then he “was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas” either. So it’s even more fitting that today is anti-flat-earth Day.