crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
I was reading an excellent piece in Newsweek as to why some people were quick to believe the lie about health care death panels even after they were informed of the truth:
Some people form and cling to false beliefs about health-care reform (or Obama’s citizenship) despite overwhelming evidence thanks to a mental phenomenon called motivated reasoning, says sociologist Steven Hoffman, visiting assistant professor at the University at Buffalo. “Rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief,” he says, “people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe.” And God knows, in the Internet age there is no dearth of sources to confirm even the most ludicrous claims (my favorite being that the moon landings were faked). “For the most part,” says Hoffman, “people completely ignore contrary information” and are able to “develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information.”
And naturally my mind began thinking about those lovely individuals and groups concerned with supposedly winning “America for Christ, ” colloquially known as the religious right.
Specifically, my mind began thinking about a certain conservative bastardization of the popular site Wikipedia.
I’ve written about Conservapedia before; about how the site used repeated and bad information to claim that “gay bowel syndrome” is an actual medical term rather than an antiquated term used to denigrate the lgbt community.
Well this new thing I found on the site tops that one.
This is what Conservapedia says about discredited researcher Paul Cameron:
Dr. Paul Cameron, Ph.D. is a scientist who has presented disturbing information about homosexual behavior in the United States. Professional associations have responded by making vague, unsupported accusations about his personal character.
. . . The APA and ASA have issued statements denouncing Cameron for holding positions contrary to theirs. They have not, however, pointed out any specific flaws in his published peer-reviewed scientific papers. So it is patently obvious that they are trying to suppress his findings for political reasons.
Conservapedia’s explanation is extremely inaccurate.
The APA (American Psychological Association) dismissed Cameron for not cooperating when the group began investigating his research methodology. Various psychologists complained about how he was distorting their data.
I sincerely doubt that Conservapedia did any research into the matter, so to help the site out, I’ve attached the link of the letter from the APA officially dismissing Cameron.
And the (ASA) American Sociological Association denounced Cameron because of his bad research techniques. The group was concerned that Cameron was inaccurately being labeled as a sociologist.
The ASA’s statement came after a task force looked at Cameron’s history and techniques. You can read the findings here. And I might point out, the ASA task force did point to specific flaws regarding Cameron’s work and specific complaints made about him.
The irony of Conservapedia’s whitewash of Cameron is felt when one takes into account one of the guidelines of the site:
Everything you post must be true and verifiable.
I found a bigger irony when I looked over the list of Conservapedia Administrators. A good many of them have on their profile that they “have accepted Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior.”
Apparently they love their version of Christian principles so much that they are willing to lie for them.
Editor’s Note – APA letter and ASA report taken from the webpage of Dr. Gregory Herek.