The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Conservapedia Disconnected from Reality: Einstein’s Theories Are a Left-Wing Conspiracy?!!

Posted by mattusmaximus on August 15, 2010

We’ve all heard of Wikipedia, which tends to be a pretty decent source of info – at least most of the time – because it can point a reader to a lot of good primary sources of information.  It seems that some time ago, ultra-conservative religious fundamentalist nutbag Andrew Schlafly decided that Wikipedia had a “liberal bias” and started his own wiki called Conservapedia which has a very obvious conservative, right-wing bias.

In a post that is almost so crazy so as to be indistinguishable from parody – a phenomenon known as Poe’s Law – Andrew Schlafly has put an article up on Conservapedia claiming, no kidding, that Einstein’s theory of relativity is a sham & just part of a vast left-wing conspiracy. This recent article from Talking Points Memo Muckraker outlines the stupidity and down-the-rabbit-hole thinking from Schlafly…

Conservapedia: E=mc2 Is A Liberal Conspiracy

Andrew Schlafly and Albert Einstein.  One of these is a scientist who revolutionized physics in the 20th century, and the other is a religious fundamentalist douchebag who wants to rewrite history & ignore science in order to fit everything into his twisted little worldview (guess which is which).

To many conservatives, almost everything is a secret liberal plot: from fluoride in the water to medicare reimbursements for end-of-life planning with your doctor to efforts to teach evolution in schools. But Conservapedia founder and Eagle Forum University instructor Andy Schlafly — Phyllis Schlafly’s son — has found one more liberal plot: the theory of relativity.

If you’re behind on your physics, the Theory of Relativity was Albert Einstein’s formulation in the early 20th century that gave rise to the famous theorum that E=mc2, otherwise stated as energy is equal to mass times the square of the speed of light. Why does Andy Schlafly hate the theory of relativity? We’re pretty sure it’s because he’s decided it doesn’t square with the Bible.

Actually, the real reason why Andrew Schlafly wants to cast doubt on one of the pillars of 20th century physics is because he claims it leads to “moral relativism” being pushed by liberals (it’s right at the top of his “Counterexamples to Relativity” page)…

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.[1] Here is a list of 28 counterexamples: any one of them shows that the theory is incorrect.

Oh, the theory of relativity is incorrect?  Would that explain why it is that it’s one of the most successfully tested physical theories in the history of science?  In addition, if it doesn’t reflect reality, then why is it that we have a huge amount of technology based upon relativity theory, technology that we all know about?  For example…

Nuclear Power Plants (they work based upon the famous equation E=mc2)

Atom Bombs (again, E=mc2)

Radioactive Tracers Used in Medical Applications (yup, that pesky E=mc2 again)

Global Positioning System (based upon time dilation effects, a prediction of relativity)

According to Andrew Schlafly, these pieces of technology would work without relativity – except that they don’t, and they didn’t exist until after we had incorporated our understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity into the technology.   The Bible didn’t lead to these technologies, a knowledge of science (specifically physics) did – I challenge anyone to point out the Bible passage which tells how to build a nuclear power plant 🙂

So what about Schlafly’s charge of moral relativism?  Well, for one, the theory of relativity has nothing to do with morality – it is a theory of physics which is used to describe the natural world around us (and since when did nature cater to our concept of morality?).  It makes no statements on morals, politics, or the like – the notion that it does is pure idiocy.  The physics outlined in Einstein’s theory isn’t “right wing science” or “left wing science”, it’s just scienceperiod!

The irony here is that Schlafly is guilty of the very thing he proposes to be against: namely, he is actually exhibiting his own version of moral relativism!  He claims that anything “liberal” or “left wing” or “secular” or (presumably) “scientific” – like evolution, global warming, or relativity theory – is evil & bad, whereas the things that he likes – such as “conservative”, “right wing”, “Biblical”, “Christian”, and “Godly” values – are inherently good & just.  He is guilty of arbitrarily applying morality in a subjective manner (his morals are the only “good morals”, you see), yet he builds a straw man by completely misrepresenting a decidedly non-political law of nature and then lambastes it as immoral!

In short, in Schlafly’s mind, if his Biblically-oriented views do not agree with reality, claim that nature has a “left wing bias” and then summarily ignore physics to fit with his supposedly good & pure right wing morality.  Wow.

I can only finish this post thusly…

6 Responses to “Conservapedia Disconnected from Reality: Einstein’s Theories Are a Left-Wing Conspiracy?!!”

  1. […] Zobacz resztę artykułu: Conservapedia Disconnected from Reality: Einstein's Theories Are a … […]

  2. Sometimes I seriously think conservatives (esp. religious conservatives) are mentally ill. If you think everything is “too liberal”, maybe the problem is you.

  3. Guiri said

    Nuclear power plants and bombs do not rely on E=mc2, this is urban myth. something “We all know” [sic]. If you are saying that GPS would not work without taking into account relativity, you have just proven Einstein wrong, as the U.S. Military have released a paper stating clearly that GPS is based on Newtonian theory and does not use Einsteins theories (you are watching too much history channel I guess). Lets face it why would NASA spend billions on Gravity probe B (which failed of course), if they could have just picked up the phone and called the GPS guys in the military.
    “Radioactive tracers” “e=mc2” what are you talking about its radioctive decay.

    This is what musing does instead of using your brain.

    • mattusmaximus said

      Seeing as how I just taught some of my students last week about how mass-energy equivalence comes into play during fission reactions, such as those that take place at the cores of nuclear power plants, then I’m thinking that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I should point out that I’m a physics professor, you know 😉

  4. […] namely those paragons of intellectual honesty and virtue at Conservapedia (where they believe that Einstein’s physics theories are a “left-wing conspiracy”), are openly admitting what they are doing. But don’t take it from me, read what they have to […]

  5. אנונימי said

    I think the hatred of some people for Einstein has to do with them thinking the theory of relativity means he claimed or proved “everything is relative” in the sense of “there is no moral right and wrong” or “truth does not exist”.

    Nothing could be further than the truth, of course, but even if it WERE true, it would make no difference to the truth of the theory of relativity. That is the falacy of arguing from bad consequences. It would only show it is unfortunate that it is true.

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