Back when I first started my blog, I spent a lot more time dealing with crazy people who are convinced that Einstein's theories of relativity are wrong (see here, here and here). More recently, I haven't spent a lot of time on the crazy train, but I have been meaning to get back to my long-neglected series of posts explaining relativity.
Enter Conservapedia, the right-wing version of Wikipedia intended to combat the liberal bias in reality! Over the past day, Twitter has been abuzz with tweets¹ on the Conservapedia page on "Counterexamples to relativity", provides a list of 24 "points" that attempt to show the weakness of Einstein's crazy ideas!
In my mind, perhaps the most despicable sort of denialism or crankery, however, is that which is based on some sort of political or religious ideology. This is clearly what is going on here, and the author relies on a familiar form of rhetorical trickery known as the "Gish Gallop": throw as many claims out there as possible, regardless of their validity, with the realization that most people will be swayed by the amount of "evidence", and not look too closely at the details.
Looking at the "evidence", it is clear that there isn't a single point made that isn't misleading, incoherent, or simply dishonest. A person reading the Conservapedia post will be measurably more ignorant afterwards, and I get the distinct impression that this is what the author intended.
But never fear, dear reader! I'm here to go through the list of some of the most entertaining assertions, and explain why they're nonsense. Why bother, you ask? For one thing, entertainment. For another, there's always a chance that someone may come across the Conservapedia entry and look for some sort of counterbalance... someone should write one!
One caveat: I can't guarantee that the list I present will match the list on the Conservapedia page. I saved the tweeted list, but after all the internet attention, it was reduced to four points. Soon afterwards, it reverted to the original list again. There's no guarantee that it will remain in its current form, though...