Andy Schlafly, son of controversial conservative figure Phyllis Shlafly and founder of Conservapedia, the ideologically oriented alternative to Wikipedia, has found a new bugbear: the theory of relativity. Shlafly insists that Albert Einstein's world-changing idea, elegantly expressed in the equation E=mc2, is part of a pervasive and long-held liberal conspiracy to make people have abortions and stop believing in Jesus. Conservapedia's surprisingly lengthy articles on relativity makes a convoluted and free-wheeling case that it's all a government hoax:
The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world. ... Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold.
Despite censorship of dissent about relativity, evidence contrary to the theory is discussed outside of liberal universities. ... Some liberal politicians have extrapolated the theory of relativity to metaphorically justify their own political agendas. For example, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama helped publish an article by liberal law professor Laurence Tribe to apply the relativistic concept of "curvature of space" to promote a broad legal right to abortion. ... Applications of the theory of relativity to change morality have also been common. ... The Theory of Relativity enjoys a disproportionate share of federal funding of physics research today.
Talking Points Memo's Megan Carpentier explains Shlafly's theory that the Bible disproves the Theory of Relativity:
Schlafly also points to the Bible as a reason that Einstein's theory must be wrong: "The action-at-a-distance by Jesus, described in John 4:46-54." Conservapedia defines "action-at-a-distance" as "Action at a distance consists of affecting a distant body instantaneously. At the atom level, this is known as "non-locality." In non-confusing terms, that indicates the ability to cause something to happen instantaneously in another location (i.e., faster than the speed of light). Since Jesus could, reportedly, do this, thus Einstein is wrong. Schlafly's evidence is John 4:46-54, in which Jesus reportedly cured someone's son just by saying it had happened.
Carpentier goes on to point out without comment that "Schlafly brags on Conservapedia that he has homeschooled 185 children, all of whom do exceptionally well on standardized tests."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.