Column 16: A Pox on Thee!

Lone Grasshopper draws our attention to the fact that this is all Andrew Schlafly wants us to know about smallpox:

Smallpox is an acute, highly infectious, often fatal disease caused by a poxvirus and characterized by high fever and aches with subsequent widespread eruption of pimples that blister, produce pus, and form pockmarks. It is also called variola.

Well, that is… concise. It’s also pretty ridiculous, because there exists an earlier and much longer variant of this articl, which was actually really good. Well-written, informative and concise (at least in the non-Schlaflyan meaning of that term, i.e. imparting much information in relatively little space.)

Mr. Schlafly doesn’t want us to see that, however. He’s pretty adamant about it, too:

Revision as of 10:24, 4 June 2007 (edit) (undo)
Aschlafly (Talk | contribs)
(reverting again; don’t revert back to the longer version or else your account will be blocked)

Now, most of us know perfectly well that Conservapedia cares much more about having a large number of articles to parade on the Main Page than about the actual quality of those articles, but even then, this seems a little extreme. The logical conclusion is that there is something in the longer article that mr. Schalfly doesn’t want us to see, but which would be too obvious to remove specifically. My guess is vaccination is the problem. Probably this paragraph in particular:

Eradication

The annihilation of smallpox—the dreadful scourge of the human race—will be the final result of vaccination.” – Edward Jenner

Jenner predicted shortly after his initial trial vaccination that smallpox would eventually be eliminated as a threat to humanity. Although many western nations had achieved mandatory vaccination programs, other countries could not afford the expense. As early as 1958, the Soviet Union called from the eradication of smallpox by a volunteer effort. Beginning in 1967, the World Health Organization began a world wide vaccination campaign with the purpose of eradicating smallpox. The last natural case of variola major occurred in 1975, and the last natural case of variola minor in 1977.

Most reasonable people agree that the eradication of smallpox has probably been one of the greatest successes of modern medical history, saving countless lives through a coordinated effort of vaccination. Mr. Schlafly, however, seems to disagree, and there is probably a reason for that. Mr. Schlafly, you see, has the distinction of being General Counsel to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a strongly right-wing medical association which, among other things, is a strong opponent of mandatory vaccination. One can only guess what the good people in the AAPS think of a vaccination campaign like this one, especially a worldwide one perpetrated by an evil socialist international organization like the WHO. After all, one must not lose sight of the essentials here! And one could also guess that they might expect their General Counsel mr. Schlafly to… deal with differing opinions on his “trustworthy encyclopedia” in a smartly fashion.

Of course, some may argue that this is hardly in keeping with Conservapedia’s stated “neutrality to the facts”, but really – what does a little suppression of true and verifiable history and medical facts in the pursuit of economic benefit and ideological motives mean among friends?

Good night, and good luck.

UPDATE: Kelly Ramsey has a similar analysis of this issue and provides some more sources.

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23 Responses to “Column 16: A Pox on Thee!”


  1. 1 conservative June 23, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    I find it humurous that the folks at RationalWiki are criticizing Conservpedia on the quality of its articles.

    Here is what RationalWiki states on its main page near the very top of the page:

    “Welcome to RationalWiki! Stay for a while, and read about the anti-science movement’s latest home on the internet.”

    It seems as if one of the main impetuses for the creation of RationalWiki is that the individuals didn’t like criticism of the evolutionary position and didn’t like the abortion article either.

    So now that the people of RationalWiki have their own website what do they do? They create a unsourced article on the topic of “evolution” that few people want to read (only 451 views). They also create an abortion article with only one footnote that few people want to read (109 views).

    I find the irony delicious. Why not state on the front page of RationalWiki that we are not a serious website in regards to informing people and merely a site to whine about Conservapedia?

  2. 2 PalMD June 23, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Anyway, to get back on topic (not all that sorry to ignore the perseverating autistic child…must be his MMR vaccine), here is RWs brief bit on the AAPS http://www.rationalwiki.com/wiki/Association_of_American_Physicians_and_Surgeons
    and on vaccine hysteria http://www.rationalwiki.com/wiki/Vaccine_Hysteria

  3. 3 conservative June 23, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    PalMD,

    You can ignore the cricism but I would say that if you want to beat a dog you can always find a stick. It is easy to criticize but nobody ever built a monument to a critic. Why doesn’t RationalWiki get its own house in order instead of focusing so much time criticizing Conservapedia?

  4. 4 conservative June 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Re: previous post

    cricism = criticism

  5. 5 PalMD June 23, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Workin on it

  6. 6 PalMD June 23, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    Andy doesn’t like vaccines, but it’s not clear why. I understand his reason for the HPV vax, although I think it’s nuts, but I’m not sure about the rest. I think it’s part of his cult-like isolationism…complete separation from society, home schooling, no vaccines, helping instill fear of anything on the outside…

  7. 7 Flippin June 23, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Pal,

    Do you think his hysterical approach to the topic of vaccination is in part based on the sanctimonious Luddite status he revels in? It seems to me to accept vaccines would be to accept “science.” (One might also point to his use of the internets.)

    This is the hypocrisy of Andy’s position that intrigues me. It also makes me feel sad for the people he intends to lie to. I have no sympathy for Robs, TK, Karajou, and the other ‘tard henchmen he keeps in his posse. However, just as Ames wrote in his letter to Sharon, it is sad to think they will not know the incredible freedom that comes with not expecting the world to “be” a certain way.

    I’m off to the races now, but I wish there were some way to attract more people to this site, and others–not for vandalism, but to at least tell the truth.

    Oh, and a point to Conservative, on that last thread, it doesn’t matter who says Evolution is a lie, or whatever–no matter how popular they are. Look at George Bush–he doesn’t believe in evolution and he’s an idiot. There is no “god of science” to make the case to. That is what you have Andy for.

  8. 8 Flippin June 23, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Conservative,

    BTW, the red lines under your text mean the word is misspleled.

  9. 9 PalMD June 23, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    For some people, there is a fear of vaccines, since they don’t remember the fear of the pre vaccine days. For andy, i think it’s part of his desire to control…to create drones to follow him. It is really a classic proto fascist movement.

  10. 10 Flippin June 23, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    I haven’t searched, does he object to things like Polio vaccines which have obviously helped humanity? OR is it just the idea that a vaccine is “pushed” on some unsuspecting Christians? I’m really lost in this debate.

  11. 11 PalMD June 23, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    It’s not clear what his view on every vaccine is but he says:
    “Thus it appears that strict vaccination mandates do not have any significant disease prevention effect in the USA.” This is, of course, patently false…mandatory vaccination has saved more lives than any other medical intervention. It appears he may feel the secular government is inherently corrupting, and that any mandates from the federal gov’t are bad, unless they are to instill morals. For instance, I don’t know how he would feel about a federal ban on abortion, as opposed to allowing individual states to ban it.

  12. 12 Flippin June 23, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    Hmm, a very interesting point to consider. I think the authoritarian views he holds would require a strong federal system, but theocratic in nature. That’s conjecture of course, thankfully we have a constitution that protects us from his kind of rule.

  13. 13 PalMD June 23, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    The Framers anticipated his kind…they saw them all around, especially in the New England that predated them by 100 years. The had no interest in more Cotton Mathers.

  14. 14 juliansmith June 24, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    I’ve left CP over this: http://www.conservapedia.com/User:Totnesmartin

    (I’m Juliansmith here as i didn’t want to get TK’d for commenting under my CP name.)

  15. 15 Trashbat June 24, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    How long before Andy uses his Parthian Shot quote over that!

  16. 16 PalMD June 24, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    He’ll use it. He’s no better than any other cult leader like Jim Jones or David Koresh. He cloaks himself in the garments of legitimate Christianity, but despite this, his true colors are showing. I used to think he was just a little bit out there at the far end of fundie-land, but now it’s clear. He is dangerous.

  17. 17 Flippin June 25, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    Well, I don’t know that he’s gone that far, yet. But I think the best thing we can do now is not to vandalize, (not that we all did) and not to attack on their site (which not all of us do.) I am adopting the approach of “enough rope.”

    I find it not at all surprising that Sharon never wrote back to respond to Ames (or if she did, it was not public.) It seems to me that Andy exerts a measure of control over his minions, including his coterie of young girls, that should concern even the most conservative parents. But as this deletion (see: smallpox) shows, he is not about to create an encyclopedia that disagrees with him whatsoever.

    That said, I think he and Fred Phelps have a lot in common. As I studied Phelps in grad school, he is the type of person who communicates as much through intimidation as through persuasion. Andy follows this model and history tells us there will always be willing followers of such a strong, clear-spoken leader. TK, Karajou, RobS and the rest are just doing what comes naturally: following. I think it is because they lack the fortitude to question someone they see as so powerful. They are simple, uncritical individuals who are really incapable of leading themselves. No hedging here: they are barely coherent at best and almost completely removed from reality at worst. The strange thing is they will not see how corrupting an influence Andy is until it is probably too late. Simply put: these are the guys who coaxed the unwilling to drink the Kool-Aid.

    I have no more hope for those at CP. I think they are now playing a dangerous game w/ Andy–feeding his ego and driving his “final solution” for Wikipedia.

    I also thing we need to think about a new term for the henchmen. They aren’t really trolls anymore. I suggest ogres–willing followers with the same tired rhetoric spewing forth like so much bile. Were I a Christian, I’d pray for them.

    I really think we’re gonna wake up one day and some of these folks will have tried to ride out of here on a comet, or some shit.

  18. 18 hyperbole June 25, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    I do think Andy is heading in the direction of dangerous cult leader. TK is a bit different from the rest. RobS seems there to push his weirdo agenda. Karajou seems the biggest follower/enforcer. He’ll be the one mixing the KoolAid.

  19. 19 Flippin June 25, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    TK only seems different because he talks to people at RW. Rob is a paranoid wannabe and Karajou is just sad. They’ll all stir, I’m sure.

  20. 20 Just me June 25, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    The comparison to Cotton Mather isn’t apt in this case. Cotton Mather was a strong advocate of smallpox vaccination (and was physically attacked for it. After he vaccinated his son, someone threw a bomb into his house. So, not apt in this case.

  21. 21 La Cabale June 25, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Interesting. I was thinking more of the Calvinist intrusion into government…

  22. 22 Trashbat June 25, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Flippin Jun 25th, 2007 at 1:26 pm
    “Well, I don’t know that he’s gone that far, yet. But I think the best thing we can do now is not to vandalize, (not that we all did) and not to attack on their site (which not all of us do.) I am adopting the approach of “enough rope.”

    I’d be hard pushed to think of any RW contributers (myself included) that regularly vandalise CP these days. There certainly seem to be a number of active vandals at the moment but I doubt they have anything to do with RW. Still, we’ll probably get the blame…XD

  23. 23 Gulik3 June 28, 2007 at 9:07 am

    At this point, what’s there to vandalize? The stuff they write makes them look worse than any craziness I could cobble together.


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