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RationalWiki

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RationalWiki is a wiki which was created after many of its editors were banned from Conservapedia for being perceived as a liberal and/or holding other ideas which Conservapedia administrators deemed unsuitable. The website's stated mission is to analyse and refute pseudoscience and the anti-science movement; to document the full range of crank ideas; to explore authoritarianism and fundamentalism; and analyse and criticise the handling of these subjects in the media.

At Rationalwiki there was a significant focus on criticism of the actions of various editors (in particular the administrators) at Conservapedia. There is also a limited amount of criticism of editors here at aSK though both have waned in recent years and the link to 'What is going on at CP' has been removed from the main page. The site includes extensive criticism of creationism and pseudo-science. It also contains stridently anti-religious language, together with many articles opposing Judeo-Christian religions, Scientology, and many other points of view and conspiracy theories.

Contents

Mission Statement

Rationalwiki has a primary mission of debunking psuedo-science where found. 'Cures' for diseases which cannot stand to scientific scrutiny, devices to increase gas milage by aligning the fuel molocules are all fair game for an article. It also adheres to the mainstream view that creationism is a pseudo-science.

A number of the RationalWiki editors are highly-credentialed individuals themselves and are able to vet articles from their own knowledge. The site standard is to have a reference to support the views expressed.

Rationalwiki is expressly not an encyclopedia, although there are many articles to cover some basic science where embedding that material is not warranted. Some articles created are discussed and either moved to FUN space, copied to ESSAY space or flagged for deletion. Off-mission articles are not desirable because until recently the site was primarily funded by one individual and off-mission is wasted disk space.

Prevailing views

Although views held by Rationalwiki editors vary, with some holding to various theistic religions, many are atheists and agnostics. A number of editors adopt a position that the scientific method is the only way to truth [Citation Needed] (a position known as scientism).

RationalWiki attempts to define itself in terms of reason, but reason is a broad, hard to define term and as such Rationalwiki does not reflect on what reason should mean. While theists have an objective standard of rationality in the mind of God (the thoughts, beliefs and arguments of God are perfectly rational, and we are rational insofar as we are like Him in our thinking, believing and arguing) — atheistic materialism is incapable of proposing any objective standard of rationality.

Culture

RationalWiki can be a very uncivil place, and ridicule is favoured over reasoned engagement by many editors[Citation Needed].

Although claiming that the site is not like other wikis, specifically Conservapedia in that it has a libertarian, almost anarchic attitude to respecting and cherishing the opinions of others, many RationalWiki editors are intolerant of dissent,[1] sometimes dismissing dissenters and their opinions without reasonable cause,[2] although this dismissal does not extend to banning or blocking.

Some RationalWiki editors have implied that particular Conservapedia sysops are pedophiles[3][4][5] though accusations of such are frowned upon at large.

User talk pages on RationalWiki are community property, rather than the property of the Users with whom they are associated. A talk page is a record of what was said and who said it and as such comprises a record of activity. The user is free to archive anything on the page, and there is a limited permission for removing trollish comments. There is of course a process of complaint to the moderators of the site. This has created controversy over the users' right to remove material that they find objectionable (in some cases, editors have posted pictures of nudity, and even pornographic pictures, on these pages).

"Conservaleaks" episode

On 9th February 2011, two archives of private email discussions of Conservapedia sysops were posted on the Internet. Two other private discussion boards had previously been leaked also. (Those hosting the archive allege this was done with the connivance of one of the Conservapedia administrators.) Although RationalWiki itself did not host the archive, some RationalWiki editors chose to link to it, advertise it and promote it, and a number engaged in significant commentary on it. There was no substantial criticism of the action from RationalWiki at the time and some thought it fair game as some Conservapedia sysops had actively intruded on some Rationalwiki members personal lives.

The leakers did make some effort to censor information they thought as too private, such as references to family members of sysops.

References

  1. From "Chicken Coop", RationalWiki's abuse-reporting page. (Content warning: This link contains mildly offensive language.)
  2. http://rationalwiki.org/w/index.php?title=RationalWiki:Saloon_bar&diff=857758&oldid=857757 (Content warning: This page contains offensive language.)
  3. Ed Poor article on RationalWiki. (Content warning: This link contains mildly offensive language.)
  4. "Andrew Schlafly" on RationalWiki (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Fun:Andrew_Schlafly#See_also.2C_Conservapedia_style.21.2A), in the "Fun" namespace for "satire and mockery".(Content warning: This page contains offensive language.)
  5. From Groomer on RationalWiki.
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