Archive for August, 2008

Leifr Eiriksson is not amused!

As you may or may not be aware, early August witnessed a curious incident – to briefly summarize, Andrew Schlafly stumbled across an obscure article that mentioned there was no evidence that the Vikings who reached North America in the early 10th century had ever sailed as far south as New England – a fairly uncontroversial statement. However, in Mr Schlafly’s mind – and in Conservapedia’s News column – this got turned into the more unusual claim that the Vikings had never been to North America at all. Instead, the whole story about Leifr Eiriksson and his intrepid crew who landed in Vinland is merely a liberal myth intended to downplay the “Christian achievement” of Christopher Columbus.

As might be expected, certain CP editors, including your author, took a careful exception to this interpretation, pointing out particularly that there is ample historical and archaeological evidence for a brief Viking presence in North America, that Leifr Eiriksson was just as much a Christian as Columbus, making the whole discussion somewhat pointless, and that the freaking article didn’t even say what he claimed it said. As might be expected, Mr Schlafly refused to budge an inch, even going so far as to claim that the Viking artifacts excavated at L’Anse aux Meadows was planted there by the archaeologists who discovered the site. For interesting parts of the discussion, see especially Talk:Main Page and Talk:Leif Erikson.

Now, it is well-known to regular readers – to the extent that a blog on de facto hiatus can have regular readers at all – that the CP Column has never been known to mince its words, so I will be unapologetically frank here. While perhaps the question of Vikings in North America may seem less immediately important by comparison, I believe that what we have witnessed in this situation is in essence of the same species as Holocaust denial – the gross distortion, or even attempted falsification of history to serve a political agenda.

For that reason, following these events, I have decided that I will waste no further of my limited and precious time on that piece of group delusion. You just don’t mess with Leifr Eiriksson.┬áThere has to be a limit somewhere.

Besides, RationalWiki‘s What is Going on at Conservapedia now does a usually excellent job at documenting and discussing the various inanities that happen at CP, so this blog has really outlived its usefulness. We thus consign it to history.

In other news, you might or might not be interested in my other, newly-launched blog, Vox in Deserto, which will feature all sorts of interesting commentary about medieval subjects and other things. For instance, the very first post contains a quote by the Venerable Bede. For those who might be in doubt, I can inform you that this fact in se shows that this blog will be not just great – this is practically a given thing – but truly sublime.

As for Conservapedia, I may mention them at Vox from time to time. In the meantime, I wish those poor souls a good night and good luck.


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