Planet Earth

Never Mind Those Kangaroo Fossils

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerMar 14, 2007 11:36 PM

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Perhaps the notion of conservatives building an alternative to Wikipedia that includes many "scientific" entries based on creationist books aimed at seventh graders sounds like some bizarre hoax. For those who doubt, there's now audio evidence. National Public Radio ran a segment yesterday in which they interviewed the founder of Conservapedia, Andrew Schlalfly. The interviewer, Robert Siegel, got right to the point. He described Wikipedia's entry on kangaroos, which includes details about extinct species of kangaroos known from fossils. [Update: Maybe he was looking at the Macropod entry.] Then he read from the Conservapedia entry, which contains nary a mention of fossils:

According to the origins theory model used by creation scientists, modern kangaroos, like all modern animals, originated in the Middle East and are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah's Ark prior to the Great Flood.

"A typical difference between Conservapedia and Wikipedia?" Siegel asked. Schlafly replied: "...it reflects Conservapedia's willingness to present topics and treatments of subject that is embraced by many conservatives and many members of the American public." (transcription mine) You can hear for yourself here. (Incidentally, Conservapedia shows no signs of withering away. It gets more visitors than Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly's sites, and claims to 3.3 million visitors.)

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