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Monday, February 02, 2009


As all of you know by now, I have a read a lot of the stuff over on Conservapedia. I keep an eye on their headlines, sometimes peruse their stories, and have even edited their articles- though in at least one case my edits were substantially revised. In all of my time over there, however, I think that I have never encountered anything as sublimely wonderful as their article on human reproduction.

Now, first things first, you have to understand that this is a short, entirely unreferenced article. It's so short, I was able to take a screenshot of the entire damned thing:

The second thing you have to understand is that while their brief definition of human reproduction is fairly reasonable:

Human reproduction is the process by which children are conceived and born. In order for human reproduction to occur under normal circumstances, male and female must engage in sexual intercourse. Exceptionally, reproduction may take place without intercourse via procedures such as in vitro fertilization.

The link to "in vitro fertilization" points nowhere and the link for "sexual intercourse" is mind-boggling. Specifially, the sexual intercourse article reads, in its entirety:

Author Bill Bennett wrote:

"The entire Bible clearly teaches ... that sexual intercourse should take place in the context of the marital union of male and female. To argue otherwise is to argue against the entire weight of Scripture on matters of sexual ethics."

And that is, of course, Conservapedia in a nutshell: rather than provide useful factual information, they just insert irrelevant moralizing of dubious value. Yay!

Returning to human reproduction, however, the most important thing you have to realize is that Conservapedia actually discusses the "spiritual aspects" of human reproduction ahead of the "biological aspects." And folks, those spiritual aspects are a wonder to behold. They are, in fact, so wondrous that I have to reproduce them here:

Human reproduction serves to create new human beings and with these human beings comes a soul. The soul appears with the person at the moment of conception, making him a complete human being from the very start. This is why abortion is considered murder: the abortionist has rent the soul from a living human body, the soul being the source of a full life for human beings. If there was no soul present in the human at the time of conception and it entered the body at some later stage, then until that moment the fetus would hypothetically be nothing more than an animated body, similar to how animals and plants are alive but without souls. Thus, if this were the case, abortion would not be murder, but rather a termination of a non-human entity, at least until the soul finally joined the body. However, there is no evidence that the soul can enter the body at any time later than conception. Since the soul is intrinsic to human beings, it absolutely must be present at conception and therefore abortion is murder. [emphasis added]

Now, take a moment and bask in the wonder of this argument. Conservapedia is asserting that a soul appears with the person at the moment of conception- and provides no citations for this. They then concede, as is reasonable, that if a soul were to exist and if it were to attach later than the moment of conception then, realistically, it would not be murder to abort an embryo prior to the appearance of that soul. This is, realistically speaking, a more even-handed treatment than I usually expect from Conservapedia. But then, boys and girls, they essentially dismiss the late-appearing-soul perspective on the basis that it lacks evidence. This is, in a word, brilliant. We have no evidence that an immaterial thing called a soul exists in the first place. We have no evidence that, even if such a thing exists, that humans have them. We have no evidence that if they exist and humans have them, that they attach at conception. But apparently the burden of proof falls on everyone else to show that insubstantial, undetectable phenomena that have never been observed attach at a different time than Andrew Schlafly asserts. One might as well remark that since we have no evidence that an insubstantial invisible pink unicorn doesn't live in my office then we must assume that one does. Brilliant!

But, hey, Conservapedia has an "artist's conception" of a soul joining a fertilized egg at conception, so I guess they have more legitimacy than I thought. Seriously, it's in the article:

I showed this picture to my wife, who remarked that there are apparently three eggs depicted. Being me I replied that there shouldn't be three eggs at the same time. She then quite rightly observed that when looking at a depiction of a soul joining an embryo at conception, the technical accuracy of the number of eggs is the least of my potential concerns. For my part, I think the painting looks like a nautilus. So, apparently, human children begin life as a sea creature.

In any case, this article on human reproduction may be the most poetic demonstration of utter madness that I have seen in a long time. And the caption to the picture of a sperm cell attempting to merge with an egg cell is really just the frosting on the insanity cake:

Sperm cell hitting an egg cell

So apparently even at the single-celled level domestic violence* is a problem. There's nothing sadder that watching sperm hit an egg cell. Why does love have to hurt?**

Truly, this article is a work of genius and I find myself weirdly happy to have seen it. Bravo, crazy fucktards! You've brightened my day!

* To Conservapedia's credit, they do have an article on domestic violence. Less to their credit, they emphasize the protective benefit of marriage*** and, at 86 words in length, the domestic violence article is only marginally longer than their article on tomb raiding (84 words). Because, you know, grave robbing is just as serious a problem as domestic violence.

** Note that I am not making fun of domestic violence but, rather, Conservapedia.

*** Gender scholars are welcome to share whether or not marriage actually confers any protection from domestic violence but I am rather skeptical that it does.

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Blogger Mister Troll said...

I happen to own a complete set of identical twins (be the envy of your friends, collect all 2). I have wondered how the egg+sperm=soul crowd handles this particular situation. I suppose the egg has two souls in one.

I might give that question a whirl the next time the anti-abortionists set up their hall of horrors at my university.

Monday, February 02, 2009 9:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Karlheinz Radnauer said...

The artist's rendering raises more questions than it answers. It would appear that the soul can attach at a time other than conception, as we're led to believe that conception is what is occurring with the back egg but it's impossible to distinguish it from the other two eggs other than the presence of the soul attaching. It would also appear possible that an egg could be fertilized without any soul ever attaching to it, leaving open the creepy possibility of soulless beings. Zombies? Or the picture and the concept it's alleged to describe could be pure nonsense. Just discovered your blog. Keep up the good work on monitoring Conservapedia.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 9:01:00 AM  

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