I am disturbed by the fact that I am on level 8 and am incapable of carrying on any kind of conversation. Not even small talk like the weather! I am learning useless phrases like, "Ich bin der bär." meaning "I am the bear" I feel like I cannot properly introduce my self or carry on a natural conversation. I feel like I am left with a phrasebook of random words and sentences. I want to trust my language resource and not feel like I have to question it like it's Wikipedia. How can I be sure that a publicly curated German course, or any Duolingo course for that matter, isn't just people yanking my chain, teasing me with useless German?
The sentences are like this so that you cannot guess what is coming next, but you have to have an understanding of the grammatical structure of the sentence. It is a common joke that you introduce yourself with 'I am a penguin'.
Seriously though. DL does not teach you conversation especially at such an early stage on your tree, but it will teach you the correct grammatical structure of sentences. (Teach is probably not the correct word), DL introduces you to the correct structure and you learn it, like a child learns its native language. There are lots of other resources that start off by teaching you to remember short phrases, and this may be more suitable to your way of learning, but if you persevere, you may find DLs unique mix of lessons and gamification is working better than more traditional methds.
The courses aren't publicly curated like Wikipedia is. You and I can't just jump in and edit anything. If we find errors, we can report them but a (properly bilingual) course moderator has to actually approve and make the change.
The German you are being taught might not be convenient phrasebook sentences, but it is definitely legitimate.