Pharyngula

Lenski gives Conservapædia a lesson

Once again, Richard Lenski has replied to the goons and fools at Conservapædia, and boy, does he ever outclass them. For a quick outline of the saga, read this summary at A Candid World; basically, Andy Schlafly has been demanding every bit of data from Richard Lenski’s work on the evolution of E. coli, despite the fact that Schlafly doesn’t have the background to understand it and doesn’t have any plan for what he would do with it if he got it. Lenski has been polite and helpful in his replies; his first response is a model for how to explain difficult science to a bullying ideologue. Now his second response is available, and while he has clearly lost some patience and is unequivocal in denouncing their bad faith efforts to discredit good science, he still gives an awfully good and instructional discussion.

I’ve put the whole thing below the fold, in case you’d rather not click through to that wretched hive of pretentious villainy at Conservapædia.

I tried to be polite, civil and respectful in my reply to your first email, despite its rude tone and uninformed content. Given the continued rudeness of your second email, and the willfully ignorant and slanderous content on your website, my second response will be less polite. I expect you to post my response in its entirety; if not, I will make sure that is made publicly available through other channels.

I offer this lengthy reply because I am an educator as well as a scientist. It is my sincere hope that some readers might learn something from this exchange, even if you do not.

First, it seems that reading might not be your strongest suit given your initial letter, which showed that you had not read our paper, and given subsequent conversations with your followers, in which you wrote that you still had not bothered to read our paper. You wrote: “I did skim Lenski’s paper …” If you have not even read the original paper, how do you have any basis of understanding from which to question, much less criticize, the data that are presented therein?

Second, your capacity to misinterpret and/or misrepresent facts is plain in the third request in your first letter, where you said: “In addition, there is skepticism that 3 new and useful proteins appeared in the colony around generation 20,000.” That statement was followed by a link to a news article from NewScientist that briefly reported on our work. I assumed you had simply misunderstood that article, because there is not even a mention of proteins anywhere in the news article. As I replied, “We make no such claim anywhere in our paper, nor do I think it is correct. Proteins do not ‘appear out of the blue’, in any case.” So where did your confused assertion come from? It appears to have come from one of your earlier discussions, in which an acoltye (Able806, who to his credit at least seems to have attempted to read our paper) wrote:

“I think it might be best to clarify some of Richard’s work. He started his E.Coli project in 1988 and has been running the project for 20 years now; his protocols are available to the general public. The New Scientist article is not very technical but the paper at PNAS is. The change was based on one of his colonies developing the ability to absorb citrate, something not found in wild E.Coli. This occurred around 31,500 generations and is based on the development of 3 proteins in the E.Coli genome. What his future work will be is to look at what caused the development of these 3 proteins around generation 20,000 of that particular colony. …”

As further evidence of your inability to keep even a few simple facts straight, you later wrote the following: “It [my reply] did clarify that his claims are not as strong as some evolutionists have insisted.” But no competent biologist would, after reading our paper with any care, insist (or even suggest) that “3 new and useful proteins appeared in the colony around generation 20,000″ or any similar nonsense. It is only in your letter, and in your acolyte’s confused interpretation of our paper, that I have ever seen such a claim. Am I or the reporter for NewScientist somehow responsible for the confusion that reflects your own laziness and apparent inability to distinguish between a scientific paper, a news article, and a confused summary posted by an acolyte on your own website?

Third, it is apparent to me, and many others who have followed this exchange and your on-line discussions of how to proceed, that you are not acting in good faith in requests for data. From the posted discussion on your web site, it is obvious that you lack any expertise in the relevant fields. Several of your acolytes have pointed this out to you, and that your motives are unclear or questionable at best, but you and your cronies dismissed their concerns as rants and even expelled some of them from posting on your website. [Ed.: citation omitted due to spam filter] Several also pointed out that I had very quickly and straightforwardly responded that the methods and data supporting the evolution of the citrate-utilization capacity are already provided in our paper. One poster in your discussions, Aaronp, wrote:

“I read Lenski’s paper, and as a trained microbiologist, I thought that it was both thorough and well done. His claims are backed by good data, namely that which was presented in the figures. I went through each of the figures after Aschlafly said that they were uninformative. Actually, they are basic figures that show the population explosion of the bacterial cultures after the Cit+ mutation occurred. These figures show that the cultures increased in size and mass at a given timepoint, being able to do so because they had evolved a mechanism to utilize a new nutrient, without the assistance of helper plasmids. … Lenksi’s paper, while not the most definite I’ve seen, is still a very well-researched paper that supports its claims nicely.”

(As far as I saw, Aaronp is the only poster who asserted any expertise in microbiology.) As further evidence of the absence of good-faith discussion about our research, in the discussion thread that began even before you sent your first email to me, I counted the words “fraud” or “fraudulent” being used more than 10 times, including one acolyte, TonyT, who says bluntly that I am “clearly a fraudulent hack.” In the discussion thread that also includes comments after my first reply, the number of times those same words are used has increased to 20, with the word “hoax” also now entering the discussion. A few posters wisely counseled against such slander but that did not deter you. I must say, it is surprising that someone with a law degree would make, and allow on his website, so many nasty comments that implicitly and even explicitly impugn my integrity, and by extension that of my collaborators, without any grounds whatsoever and reflecting only your dogmatic adherence to certain beliefs.

Finally, let me now turn to our data. As I said before, the relevant methods and data about the evolution of the citrate-using bacteria are in our paper. In three places in our paper, we did say “data not shown”, which is common in scientific papers owing to limitations in page length, especially for secondary or minor points. None of the places where we made such references concern the existence of the citrate-using bacteria; they concern only certain secondary properties of those bacteria. We will gladly post those additional data on my website.

It is my impression that you seem to think we have only paper and electronic records of having seen some unusual E. coli. If we made serious errors or misrepresentations, you would surely like to find them in those records. If we did not, then – as some of your acolytes have suggested – you might assert that our records are themselves untrustworthy because, well, because you said so, I guess. But perhaps because you did not bother even to read our paper, or perhaps because you aren’t very bright, you seem not to understand that we have the actual, living bacteria that exhibit the properties reported in our paper, including both the ancestral strain used to start this long-term experiment and its evolved citrate-using descendants. In other words, it’s not that we claim to have glimpsed “a unicorn in the garden” – we have a whole population of them living in my lab! [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unicorn_in_the_Garden] And lest you accuse me further of fraud, I do not literally mean that we have unicorns in the lab. Rather, I am making a literary allusion. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allusion]

One of your acolytes, Dr. Richard Paley, actually grasped this point. He does not appear to understand the practice and limitations of science, but at least he realizes that we have the bacteria, and that they provide “the real data that we [that's you and your gang] need”. Here’s what this Dr. Paley had to say:

“I think there’s a great deal of misunderstanding here from the critics of Mr. Schlafly and obfuscation on the part of Prof. Lenski and his supporters. The real data that we need are not in the paper. Rather they are in the bacteria used in the experiments themselves. Prof. Lenski claims that these bacteria ‘evolved’ novel traits and that these were preceded by the evolution of ‘potentiated genotypes’, from which the traits could be ‘reevolved’ using preserved colonies from those generations. But how are we to know if these traits weren’t ‘potentiated’ by the Creator when He designed the bacteria thousands of years ago, such that they would eventually reveal themselves when the time was right? The only way this can be settled is if we have access to the genetic sequences of the bacteria colonies so that we can apply CSI techniques and determine if these ‘potentiated genotypes’ originated through blind chance or intelligence. But with the physical specimens in the hands of Darwinists, who claim they will get around to the sequencing at some unspecifed future time, how can we trust that this data will be forthcoming and forthright? Thus, Prof. Lenski et al. should supply Conservapedia, as stewards, with samples of the preserved E. coli colonies so that the data can be accessible to unbiased researchers outside of the hegemony of the Darwinian academia, even if it won’t be put to immediate examination by Mr. Schlafly. This is simply about keeping tax-payer-funded scientists honest.”

So, will we share the bacteria? Of course we will, with competent scientists. Now, if I was really mean, I might only share the ancestral strain, and let the scientists undertake the 20 years of our experiment. Or if I was only a little bit mean, maybe I’d also send the potentiated bacteria, and let the recipients then repeat the several years of incredibly pain-staking work that my superb doctoral student, Zachary Blount, performed to test some 40 trillion (40,000,000,000,000) cells, which generated 19 additional citrate-using mutants. But I’m a nice guy, at least when treated with some common courtesy, so if a competent scientist asks for them, I would even send a sample of the evolved E. coli that now grows vigorously on citrate. A competent microbiologist, perhaps requiring the assistance of a competent molecular geneticist, would readily confirm the following properties reported in our paper: (i) The ancestral strain does not grow in DM0 (zero glucose, but containing citrate), the recipe for which can be found on my web site, except leaving the glucose out of the standard recipe as stated in our paper. (ii) The evolved citrate-using strain, by contrast, grows well in that exact same medium. (iii) To confirm that the evolved strain is not some contaminating species but is, in fact, derived from the ancestral strain in our study, one could check a number of traits and genes that identify the ancestor as E. coli, and the evolved strains as a descendant thereof, as reported in our paper. (iv) One could also sequence the pykF and nadR genes in the ancestor and evolved citrate-using strains. One would find that the evolved bacteria have mutations in each of these genes. These mutations precisely match those that we reported in our previous work, and they identify the evolved citrate-using mutants as having evolved in the population designated Ara-3 of the long-term evolution experiment, as opposed to any of the other 11 populations in that experiment. And one could go on and on from there to confirm the findings in our paper, and perhaps obtain additional data of the sort that we are currently pursuing.

Before I could send anyone any bacterial strains, in order to comply with good scientific practices I would require evidence of the requesting scientist’s credentials including: (i) affiliation with an appropriate unit in some university or research center with appropriate facilities for storing (-80ºC freezer), handling (incubators, etc.), and disposing of bacteria (autoclave); and (ii) some evidence, such as peer-reviewed publications, that indicate that the receiving scientist knows how to work with bacteria, so that I and my university can be sure we are sending biological materials to someone that knows how to handle them. By the way, our strains are not derived from one of the pathogenic varieties of E. coli that are a frequent cause of food-borne illnesses. However, even non-pathogenic strains may cause problems for those who are immune-compromised or otherwise more vulnerable to infection. Also, my university requires that a Material Transfer Agreement be executed before we can ship any strains. That agreement would not constrain a receiving scientist from publishing his or her results. However, if an incompetent or fraudulent hack (note that I make no reference to any person, as this is strictly a hypothetical scenario, one that I doubt would occur) were to make false or misleading claims about our strains, then I’m confident that some highly qualified scientists would join the fray, examine the strains, and sort out who was right and who was wrong. That’s the way science works.

I would also generally ask what the requesting scientist intends to do with our strains. Why? It helps me to gauge the requester’s expertise. I might be able to point out useful references, for example. Moreover, as I’ve said, we are continuing our work with these strains, on multiple fronts, as explained in considerable detail in the Discussion section of our paper. I would not be happy to see our work “scooped” by another team – especially for the sake of the outstanding students and postdocs in my group who are hard at work on these fronts. However, that request to allow us to proceed, without risk of being scooped on work in which we have made a substantial investment of time and effort, would be just that: a request. In other words, we would respect PNAS policy to share those strains with any competent scientist who complied with my university’s requirements for the MTA and any other relevant legal restrictions. If any such request requires substantial time or resources (we have thousands of samples from this and many other experiments), then of course I would expect the recipient to bear those costs.

So there you have it. I know that I’ve been a bit less polite in this response than in my previous one, but I’m still behaving far more politely than you deserve given your rude, willfully ignorant, and slanderous behavior. And I’ve spent far more time responding than you deserve. However, as I said at the outset, I take education seriously, and I know some of your acolytes still have the ability and desire to think, as do many others who will read this exchange.

Sincerely,

Richard Lenski

P.S. Did you know that your own bowels harbor something like a billion (1,000,000,000) E. coli at this very moment? So remember to wash your hands after going to the toilet, as I hope your mother taught you. Simple calculations imply that there are something like 10^20 = 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 E. coli alive on our planet at any moment. Even if they divide just once per day, and given a typical mutation rate of 10^-9 or 10^-10 per base-pair per generation, then pretty much every possible double mutation would occur every day or so. That’s a lot of opportunity for evolution.

P.P.S. I hope that some readers might get a chuckle out of this story. The same Sunday (15 June 2008) that you and some of your acolytes were posting and promoting scurrilous attacks on me and our research (wasn’t that a bit disrespectful of the Sabbath?), I was in a church attending a wedding. And do you know what Old Testament lesson was read? It was Genesis 1:27-28, in which God created Man and Woman. It’s a very simple and lovely story, and I did not ask any questions, storm out, or demand the evidence that it happened as written at a time when science did not yet exist. I was there in the realm of spirituality and mutual respect, not confusing a house of religion for a science class or laboratory. And it was a beautiful wedding, too.

P.P.P.S. You may be unable to understand, or unwilling to accept, that evolution occurs. And yet, life evolves! [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_pur_si_muove] From the content on your website, it is clear that you, like many others, view God as the Creator of the Universe. I respect that view. I find it baffling, however, that someone can worship God as the all-mighty Creator while, at the same time, denying even the possibility (not to mention the overwhelming evidence) that God’s Creation involved evolution. It is as though a person thinks that God must have the same limitations when it comes to creation as a person who is unable to understand, or even attempt to understand, the world in which we live. Isn’t that view insulting to God?

P.P.P.P.S. I noticed that you say that one of your favorite articles on your website is the one on “Deceit.” That article begins as follows: “Deceit is the deliberate distortion or denial of the truth with an intent to trick or fool another. Christianity and Judaism teach that deceit is wrong. For example, the Old Testament says, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.’” You really should think more carefully about what that commandment means before you go around bearing false witness against others.

Comments

  1. #1 Some random guy
    June 24, 2008

    …That was awesome…

  2. #2 BaldySlaphead
    June 24, 2008

    I’m British, but I understand the expression is ‘Home Run’.

  3. #3 asad
    June 24, 2008

    As the kids these days say:
    PWN3D.

  4. #4 jackalopemonger
    June 24, 2008

    Well, that was thorough.

  5. #5 True Bob
    June 24, 2008

    A clarity slap upside the head. Nice.

  6. #6 Tom
    June 24, 2008

    In a culture with a great many bogus “heroes,” Lenski should be a real hero to every thinking person.

    And Schlafly should just shut the fuck up.

  7. #7 Larry
    June 24, 2008

    Boo-yah!

    I am in absolute awe of Dr. Lenski response. How he can write so clearly and effectively when he must have been simply vibrating is simply amazing. I can’t recall ever reading such a devastating smack-down. It should be fascinating to Schlafly’s answer.

  8. #8 oriole
    June 24, 2008

    If Schlafly has a grain of sense and another grain of decency, he will humbly apologize for his idiotic letters, send his poor suffering home-schooled “students” to a real school, and then skulk off to some cave somewhere, never to be heard from again.

    But of course, he has neither sense nor decency; he is Andy Schlafly.

    If nothing else, Lenski’s brilliant reply made my day, and made the day of a lot of other defenders of science and opponents of charlatans, I reckon.

  9. #9 Draconiz
    June 24, 2008

    Superb take down!

  10. #10 Raynfala
    June 24, 2008

    Just gotta say it:

    “Science: fuck, yeah!”

    And just to add some more pertinent content:

    I really appreciate Lenski’s PPPS. He sums up, quite nicely, why Intelligent Design and/or Creationism are really an affront to those who believe in God. To look at evolution, such a subtle and sublime process, and then discard it in favor of the notion that an all-powerful being had to “stack the deck” instead… well, so much for preserving the notion of your God’s integrity, huh?

  11. #11 lordbaltimore
    June 24, 2008

    If Schlafly has a grain of sense and another grain of decency, he will humbly apologize for his idiotic letters, send his poor suffering home-schooled “students” to a real school, and then skulk off to some cave somewhere, never to be heard from again.

    But of course, he has neither sense nor decency; he is Andy Schlafly.

    If nothing else, Lenski’s brilliant reply made my day, and made the day of a lot of other defenders of science and opponents of charlatans, I reckon.

  12. #12 Spook
    June 24, 2008

    I’ve rarely seen someone so utterly dismembered… and so politely at that. I do hope his efforts aren’t in vain; conserapaedia trolls are amazingly thick-headed. When did they evolve skulls like that anyhow?

  13. #13 James F
    June 24, 2008

    Magnificent.

  14. #14 hyperdeath
    June 24, 2008

    I deeply resent the implication that Conservapedia is useless. It provides a great service to the editors of Wikipedia by drawing away the article-wrecking crackpots and ideologues.

  15. #15 co
    June 24, 2008

    Beautiful.

  16. #16 Unsympathetic reader
    June 24, 2008

    What was the link in Lenski’s letter that got censored?

    Note also that in the discussion at the Con-wiki Behe’s name gets mentioned as one who could review the work — Apparently, they don’t know that Behe already weighed in and makes no mention of ‘fraud’, ‘deceit’, or even poor experimmental procedure. I don’t think he questions the work itself.

  17. #17 Damitall
    June 24, 2008

    An exemplary piece, demonstrating the proper way to handle the likes of Schlafly.

    AAlthough why Lenski should think it impolite is rather mystifying – it’s far, far more polite than Schlafly deserves, and probably all the more effective for that, inasmuch as anything is likely to have an effect on such boneheadedness.

  18. #18 Robert Estrada
    June 24, 2008

    I wish I had as much class as Dr. Lenski. I think his response wins the debate on that point alone.
    Kudos,
    Robert Estrada

  19. #19 Julian
    June 24, 2008

    A superb response. I particularly like his comment on evolution and god; as a young child, before I was sure enough of my reasoning to abandon completely the idea of deities, I used to make the same point. Why must believers continually limit what they claim most fanatically to be an omnipotent being? Is there not more love in taking a few billion years to do it right, than to just throw some sand together? I’m not one for religion, but at least I could respect such a view.

  20. #20 CalGeorge
    June 24, 2008

    Richard Lenski is my new hero.

    Chewed up and spit out!

  21. #21 SC
    June 24, 2008

    That is fantastic.

    lenski (vb.): to put someone in his place and expose him as an ignoramous in an extremely rational, polite, and professorial manner, while providing an educational service to the public

  22. #22 Jim Lemire
    June 24, 2008

    The comment by “Dr. Paley” really sums up the reason why creationists cannot be talked with rationally:

    But how are we to know if these traits weren’t ‘potentiated’ by the Creator when He designed the bacteria thousands of years ago, such that they would eventually reveal themselves when the time was right?

    It doesn’t matter what scientific evidence we give them if in their mind the root cause of all is Todd.

  23. #23 DaveH
    June 24, 2008

    Back of the net!!

  24. #24 Glen Davidson
    June 24, 2008

    Lenski’s arrogant and zealous, which is what prompted Schlafly’s attack.

    You know, because Lenski actually sticks with the facts of this matter. How arrogant is that? While Schlafly meekly questions science that he hasn’t read in depth, and doesn’t understand.

    Anyone can see that. OK, well, Slack can see that.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  25. #25 Badjuggler
    June 24, 2008

    A classic example of the Scientific Bitch Slap. Well done!

  26. #26 Screechy Monkey
    June 24, 2008

    How exactly do the Conservapaedia folks propose to “apply CSI techniques and determine if these ‘potentiated genotypes’ originated through blind chance or intelligence”?

  27. #27 Moses
    June 24, 2008

    Excellent letter.

  28. #28 Lord Zero
    June 24, 2008

    Its was even better than the first reply, i
    enjoyed every single word.
    Its incredible, he was pissed off, but managed
    to still reply that politely !!

  29. #29 Longtime Lurker
    June 24, 2008

    “This was a triumph, I’m making a note here: ‘Huge Success’. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.”

    Lenski was pure class. Unfortunately, like the dismembered Black Knight, Schlafly is not going to concede defeat, when he really should just quietly retire from public life, never to be heard from again.

  30. #30 Capital Dan
    June 24, 2008

    Beautiful. I can almost picture red-assed Andy Schlafly, fresh from that spanking, reading that with his jaw gaping and tears of confusion streaming down his face.

    The many postscripts really are the icing on the cake.

  31. #31 Seamyst
    June 24, 2008

    I bow down in awe of greatness.

  32. #32 Unsympethetic reader
    June 24, 2008

    I love this exchange. What else is in the woodwork?

    Really? He said he would put the data on his website, and I think Behe meets Lenski’s three qualifications for a scientist to whom he would release the bacteria. Drochld 10:55, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

    Behe? Are you serious? He’s supposed to be a Creation Scientist? The guy believes in the big bang, an earth billions of years old, and evolution. He does not believe in a young Earth, Adam and Eve, or the true word of the Bible. He’s an evolutionist who happens to say “oh yeah, God guided evolution.” As if there was anything on the Earth not guided by God! Just because he’s one of the few scientists who isn’t an atheist he’s supposed to be one of us? No thanks. I’d rather go with someone who didn’t drink the Old Earth Kool-aid. TonyT 11:41, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

  33. #33 Muffin
    June 24, 2008

    Check and mate. Well played indeed, Prof. Lenski – summa cum laude. :)

  34. #34 Moses
    June 24, 2008

    BTW, Gordy Slack should look at this example of the science/religion dynamic and draw conclusions. Proper conclusions. Which would be different from his current conclusions in which the EVIL DARWINISTS are routinely attacking the faithful over their beliefs.

    This is, in a nutshell, illustrates the entire dynamic. The ignorant religion-bots attack some scientists who’s all “Ow, wow, this cool, let me share it with the world” because they want to own the freakin’ universe without challenge.

  35. #35 Eric Jones
    June 24, 2008

    That was PWNAGE with extra awesome sauce.

  36. #36 Steve P
    June 24, 2008

    that was great, complete and total PWNAGE

  37. #37 garth
    June 24, 2008

    Dr. Lenski gives that fellow a lot more time than he’s worth. I admire his attempts to drop some learnin’ on his acolytes tho. Great word…”acolyte”. I will use that in conversation today.

  38. #38 Jon D
    June 24, 2008

    That response showed an incredible amount of restraint and patience..
    Can tell the man is a real Educator :)

  39. #39 jkessler
    June 24, 2008

    HAHA, PWNED!!!!!11!1!!ONE!!!!!SHIFT-ELEVENTYONE!!!

  40. #40 Dahan
    June 24, 2008

    To have that directed at one’s self… just painful. Another reason to be happy I’m not Schlafly.

  41. #41 Ryan F Stello
    June 24, 2008

    It’s great that the “Dr. Paley” referenced int the letter, one of Conservapedia’s ‘stewards’ likens researching of biological strains to ‘CSI techniques’.

    Them’s good scientific principles that you pick up from the teevee.

  42. #42 MissPrism
    June 24, 2008

    Brilliant. Especially the sarcastic bit about unicorns.

    (And why the hopping fuck would the Creator design bacteria with the intention that they reveal themselves capable of evolving a handy biochemical trick thousands of years later in Richard Lenski’s incubator? Please tell me “Dr Paley” is a sane person having a laugh on Schlafly’s forum.)

  43. #43 Glen Davidson
    June 24, 2008

    Btw, how the fuck does Schlafly propose to discover whether or not E. coli were “potentiated” by the Creator to transport citrate? Are they going to claim that just because it was possible for the necessary mutations to occur, that it was thereby “potentiated” for that purpose?

    I have the feeling that will be their response, eventually. Since they have no criteria for either “design” or “potentiation”, knowing as they do that they can never demonstrate planning, rationality, or purpose in organisms, the mere fact that it could happen will no doubt be called “potentiation”.

    Potential implies “potentiation”, no doubt, just as function (“design” to the dishonest) implies a designer.

    But the fact is that we rarely even talk about “potentiating” complex machinery for anything. It doesn’t make sense, for although a computer chip may have any number of potentials, it isn’t “potentiated” just because it might be adapted to act in some manner for which it was not designed.

    Well, there’s not much point in playing these word games with the IDiots. I’m glad that Lenski was quite polite in his first response, and properly disparaging of Schlafly’s evident incompetence and lack of open-mindedness in the second. They’ll claim “potentiation” by the Creator, of course. It simply won’t mean anything, any more than “designer” and “creator” does to these nihilistic anti-science bigots.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  44. #44 Martin
    June 24, 2008

    Take a look at the talk page. It’s… unbelievable.

    Someone asked what was in the part that was apparently removed by the spam filter:


    It hardly seems fair to censor part of Professor Lenski’s full and comprehensive reply. It also seems to be a little heavy-handed to say that people who ask questions about such censorship will be “dealt with accordingly”.–British_cons (talk) 09:40, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

    No, the link should definitely not be revealed. Although I, naturally, don’t know what the link is to, though we can assume it was a shock site, foul language, pornography, or something in that line. Since Lenski knew that his response would be posted on this family-friendly encyclopedia, he would have purposefully put the link in to aggravate readers. That tells us a lot about his attitude, and by keeping the link intact, we let him “win”.

  45. #45 Stwriley
    June 24, 2008

    “Sir, permit;
    Naught could be finer–I’m a judge I think;
    I stamped, i’ faith!–to show my admiration!”
    (Cyrano de Bergerac, Act I, scene iv)

  46. #46 Raynfala
    June 24, 2008

    RE: #16

    What was the link in Lenski’s letter that got censored?

    Speculation is running rampant on the talk page over at CP. Most speculate it was a link to a page on RationalWiki, which is a site that is almost entirely devoted to mocking the activities on CP.

    Hardly surprising that Schlafly would “spam filter” it. And it’s quite amusing to watch Schlafly and his “acolytes” try to stiffle conversation about the link, why it was removed, what it linked to, etc. etc. Heck, some are even making the accusation that it was a porn link.

    Remember… “trustworthy…”

  47. #47 clarence
    June 24, 2008

    I can barely read that, it’s so covered with burn sauce!

    It does make me a little sad, though, that Lenski is dealing with this bullcrap at all when by rights he should be enjoying that rock-star lifestyle of someone who just published an excellent paper. It’s all hookers and blow for the PI, right?

  48. #48 Glen Davidson
    June 24, 2008

    CSI techniques

    IOW, statistical methods not based on solid evidence which are designed to claim intelligent causes where there are no intelligent (notably, rational) effects.

    Find design, moron, not complexity. Complexity is the expected consequence of billions of years evolution. It is possible, but not expected, from design.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  49. #49 Carlie
    June 24, 2008

    Wow. Schlafly just got Lenskied. (#21)

    That was brilliant. I shall bask in that the rest of the day.

  50. #50 Architeuthis
    June 24, 2008

    I’d be impressed if Andy Schlafly even reads the rebuttal. If the data was just “skimmed” this amazing, clear, brilliant and tolerant verbal smackdown would just be ignored.

    Lenski is just pure amazing and awesome wrapped up in cool. He’d be that just for the research he did, his correspondence with Schlafly just confirms the extent of his amazingness.

  51. #51 David
    June 24, 2008

    Note to Andy Schlafly:

    Stay down. Just stay down.

  52. #52 Enzo
    June 24, 2008

    Anybody knows what the goons at conservapedia decided to censor from Lenski reply? I am referring to: “[Ed.: citation omitted due to spam filter].

  53. #53 James Randi
    June 24, 2008

    Conservapedia …
    You will never find a more wretched hive of scum
    and villainy. We must be cautious.

    [With apologies to George Lucas and Alec Guinness]

  54. #54 Jack
    June 24, 2008

    “Now, if I was really mean, I might only share the ancestral strain, and let the scientists undertake the 20 years of our experiment. . . . But I’m a nice guy, . . . so if a competent scientist asks for them, I would even send a sample of the evolved E. coli that now grows vigorously on citrate.”

    LOL. Wow. If Lenski were really mean, he might only have responded with derision, but he’s a nice guy. So we got a wonderful education. Thank you for sharing.

  55. #55 Todd
    June 24, 2008

    It doesn’t matter what scientific evidence we give them if in their mind the root cause of all is Todd.

    I suppose I should offer some sort of apology now.

  56. #56 CG
    June 24, 2008

    The censored link was most likely to RationalWiki, a site dedicated to cataloging the idiocy of Conservapedia.

    Schlafly apparently refuses to link to their site.

  57. #57 Foo
    June 24, 2008

    CREATIONIST FAIL.

  58. #58 Benjamin Franklin
    June 24, 2008

    I give Dr. Lenski an A+.
    .
    .

  59. #59 Ron
    June 24, 2008

    The edited link was indeed to RationalWiki.

  60. #60 UKGP
    June 24, 2008

    In the news bit at conservapedia:

    Lenski’s latest response to a request for his data is revealing … about Lenski’s attitude. Take a good look at the attitude our tax dollars are paying for.

    It looks like all Aschafly’s got to respond with is “How dare he be rude to me”. I had hoped for some kind of insane rant, but this is satifying. I think he realises he’s lost but won’t admit it

  61. #61 Brownian, OM
    June 24, 2008

    It’s all hookers and blow for the PI, right?

    Sigh. And then there’s me: always a second author, never the first.

  62. #62 James Crooks
    June 24, 2008

    Dr. Lenski is a gentleman and a scholar. To so effectively, rationally, and patiently dismember Schfly’s ignorance is impressive and this letter is brilliant rhetoric. Lenski is a sterling example of the highest class of scientist, not only an excellent researcher but a well-spoken and thoughtful individual who values educating others.

    Now, I shall enjoy seeing if this exchange continues. While I do not wish to see Dr. Lenski’s time wasted, his writing is certainly the sort that could sway those on the fence–those who can still be swayed.

  63. #63 SpotWeld
    June 24, 2008

    Science is collaborative… and that is what Andy Schafly can’t understand.

    He seems to view the presentation of “raw data” as part of a legal or argumentative process. Since he has failed to present either the capability or the interest in reproducing or furthering the concepts presented in the paper he has precluded himself from receiving access to the raw materials of this experiment, the archive of bacterial lineage.

    In a sense, since he has done nothing but communicate in a combative and uselessly argumentative manner he has proven himself unable to interact in a manner that would support progress. He has failed the “90/10 rule” of scientific discourse.

    I’d like to submit that is irony… sweet sweet irony.

  64. #64 Iain Walker
    June 24, 2008

    Comment #44:

    Although I, naturally, don’t know what the link is to, though we can assume it was a shock site, foul language, pornography, or something in that line. Since Lenski knew that his response would be posted on this family-friendly encyclopedia, he would have purposefully put the link in to aggravate readers. That tells us a lot about his attitude, and by keeping the link intact, we let him “win”.

    Er, this is a Poe, right?

  65. #65 afterthought
    June 24, 2008

    … Several of your acolytes have pointed this out to you, and that your motives are unclear or questionable at best, but you and your cronies dismissed their concerns as rants and even expelled some of them from posting on your website.
    Link was to here if I have it sorted out correctly:
    http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Conservapedia#Banning_Users

    [Ed.: citation omitted due to spam filter] Several also pointed out that I had very quickly and straightforwardly responded that the methods and data supporting the evolution of the citrate-utilization capacity are already provided in our paper.

  66. #66 SpotWeld
    June 24, 2008

    Is there any sort of internett away that we can nominate Lenski for? That was such a glorious and total smackdown.

  67. #67 Orac
    June 24, 2008

    I can almost picture red-assed Andy Schlafly, fresh from that spanking, reading that with his jaw gaping and tears of confusion streaming down his face.

    I can’t, because Andy Schlafly suffers from the arrogance of ignorance. He simply has no clue how clueless he is about science and is utterly shameless. I predict he’ll put together some BS response whining about persecution and “ad hominem” attacks, while blustering and threatening FOI requests because Lensky’s work was at least partially NIH-funded.

  68. #68 Raynfala
    June 24, 2008

    Note to Andy Schlafly:

    Stay down. Just stay down.

    And stop posting.

  69. #69 Ouchimoo
    June 24, 2008

    Science, It works bitches!

    I am amazed that they would submit Lenski’s reply on conserveapedia. It doesn’t seem like conserveapedia’s tactics to post on their own website something that pwns them. Ah who am I kidding, with their warped little idealizations they NEVER LOOSE! Makes me laugh every time I see a creationist website talk about how people supporting evo always loose in a debate. Stupid funny.

  70. #70 Orac
    June 24, 2008

    Oops, that’s “Lenski’s” work.

  71. #71 hje
    June 24, 2008

    Great rebuttal to utter nonsense. But I think it’s utterly wasted on a demagogue like Schlafly who is not at all interested in what we commonly think of as truth. But I’m sure his harassment of Lenski gives him street cred with his cronies for “sticking it to the scientific establishment.” He’s probably angling for a part in Expelled 2: Revenge of the IDiots.

    Don’t be surprised if Schlafly continues to push this and gets some red state politico to help him with his witch hunt (as in the Sternberg case).

  72. #72 Brownian, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Lenski’s latest response to a request for his data is revealing … about Lenski’s attitude. Take a good look at the attitude our tax dollars are paying for.

    What an asshole. Apparently Schlafly’s the type who, upon being pulled over for speeding, yells at the cop that he pays his salary.

    Way to take douchebag to the next level, Andy.

  73. #73 NM
    June 24, 2008

    [Ed.: citation omitted due to spam filter]

    So what is this? They have a funny discussion on their talk page about not mentioning, and even banning people for merely asking about what it is. They just call the site linked to “RW.” What is it?

  74. #74 sdg
    June 24, 2008

    I wish I had as much class as Dr. Lenski. I think his response wins the debate on that point alone.

    not trying to pick a fight but this doesn’t make sense. he wins because he’s right. the class is just a bonus. on the subject of class, i find it interesting that everyone is posting laudatory remarks for Dr. Lenski’s class when i’ve noticed other comment threads in which people are quick to reply “they don’t deserve it!” when posters suggest similar approaches. certainly they do not deserve it but it may be more effective.

  75. #75 Dennis N
    June 24, 2008

    Breathtaking response… Lenski sounds like a professor talking to an arrogant student who is about to fail his class, putting Schafly in his place, but saying maybe there’s a chance he can pass if he quits being so egotistical and close-minded.

  76. #76 Emmet Caulfield
    June 24, 2008

    Well done, Lenski!

    *standing ovation*

  77. #77 SC
    June 24, 2008

    I can see why they wouldn’t want to include the link to the RationalWiki page:

    …One theory which has emerged is that Conservapedia is not run by the Religious Right at all; that instead is an extreme parody of fringe loonbags, such as the Westboro Baptist Church, since it is hard to imagine such a large group of people being so loopdy loopder.

  78. #78 Martin
    June 24, 2008

    Oh, and anyone looking for a laugh (and quite possibly a slightly more cynical look on humanity) go to http://www.rationalwiki.com and find the “Best of Conservapedia” part.

  79. #79 Alex
    June 24, 2008

    Ska-Doosh!!

  80. #80 chris y
    June 24, 2008

    The name of “Dr Paley” makes me suspect a provocateur at work (and good luck to him). What would he think if he found a watch while crossing a heath, I wonder?

  81. #81 Mrs Tilton
    June 24, 2008

    Schlafly’s acolyte “Dr Richard Paley”? Would that by any chance be this Dr Paley?

    Poe’s Law and all that, but the idea of “stewardship” over bacteria does sound suspiciously, emm, objective. I suspect Schlafly is getting pwn3d by more than just Dr Lenski…

  82. #82 Chris Bell
    June 24, 2008

    I’m still behaving far more politely than you deserve given your rude, willfully ignorant, and slanderous behavior.

    Technically, it was libelous. Slander is spoken. Libel is written.

  83. #83 Paper Hand
    June 24, 2008

    Wow, that was truely magnificent! I don’t think I’ve seen anyone so thoroughly discredited, and in such a polite manner! Incredible!

  84. #84 tintin
    June 24, 2008

    Wow!

    That was a beautiful clear letter that explained thoughts so very clearly; a clear example of the sort of scientific writing that we do need so much more of in order to help more people understand science just even a wee bit better.

    Thanks.

  85. #85 Keith B
    June 24, 2008

    If only the world had more professors as clear, patient and passionate about education as Lenski.

    Those Conservo-creationists should be ashamed.

  86. #86 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 24, 2008

    That was great. I’m rooting for the next installment where the good doctor Lenski responds to Schlafly’s upcoming response to this.

  87. #87 Kristine
    June 24, 2008

    One of your acolytes, Dr. Richard Paley, actually grasped this point.

    How ironic!

  88. #88 Longtime Lurker
    June 24, 2008

    Imagine what would happen if Schlafly actually recieved some cultures from Lenksi’s lab…

    Looks into Petri dish, snorts, grumbles, “They’re STILL BACTERIA.”

    Gotta love the IDers, a real scientists sweats for 20 frickin’ years, and they just sit in a wood-paneled office, playing Tetris, living off wingnut welfare, and they whine about not getting equal time.

  89. #89 BlueIndependent
    June 24, 2008

    #22:

    That was the part of Paley’s post that did it for you? Nah, for me it was this bluster:

    “…Thus, Prof. Lenski et al. should supply Conservapedia, as stewards, with samples of the preserved E. coli colonies so that the data can be accessible to unbiased researchers outside of the hegemony of the Darwinian academia, even if it won’t be put to immediate examination by Mr. Schlafly. This is simply about keeping tax-payer-funded scientists honest.”

    You can’t reason when they are injecting this conspiracy theory garbage into the argument. They refuse to let that crap go. But Paley has some gall to even say this. And Conservapaediea is a legitimate entity? Since when did they transition from a group of reality-hating malcontents to a respectable outlet of information? How would “Conservapaedia” accept the requested samples? As Lenski easily shows, no doubt the Conservapaedia crowd has no intention of conducting honest review, nor do they have a plan or the funds with which to do so. And Paley dare says it’s fine if they don’t get around to doing the research any time soon, even if they do take the samples. It’s just all a shameless ploy by a band of idiots to try and insert themselves into relevancy, like a dunce with a pitchfork daring to sit with the Knights at the round table. Not that Lenski thinks he’s a big bold leader, but at the very least he’s put in the time, the effort, the humility.

  90. #90 Sili
    June 24, 2008

    Screechy Monkey,

    They use a Magic Results Machine, of course!

  91. #91 Mrs Tilton
    June 24, 2008

    Orac @67,

    Andy Schlafly suffers from the arrogance of ignorance. He simply has no clue how clueless he is about science and is utterly shameless

    I expect that, right about now, Schlafly will be joining Jonah Goldberg for a victory lap.

  92. #92 Niobe
    June 24, 2008

    His use of the word Acolyte makes me tingle.

  93. #93 386sx
    June 24, 2008

    But how are we to know if these traits weren’t ‘potentiated’ by the Creator when He designed the bacteria thousands of years ago, such that they would eventually reveal themselves when the time was right? The only way this can be settled is if we have access to the genetic sequences of the bacteria colonies so that we can apply CSI techniques and determine if these ‘potentiated genotypes’ originated through blind chance or intelligence.

    Yeah, I’m sure the Conservapedia people will settle that question if they have access to the genetic sequences of the bacteria colonies. Thanks for the laugh Dr. Richard Paley. :P

  94. #94 MissPrism
    June 24, 2008

    The sentence that makes me think Paley might be a spoof is “The Discovery Institute surely has cryogenic facilities in their labs.”

  95. #95 steve8282
    June 24, 2008

    I feel like I did the first time I heard the St. Crispin speech in Henry the Fifth.

    That was wonderful.

  96. #96 Kevin Emerson
    June 24, 2008

    I only wish I had the patience and political correctness to respond to such people in such a nice way. I think that it just goes to show you who is right in this case. If you were watching a debate where one person says “I don’t believe you” and the other goes on for four hours with data to back up what he was saying, and the first person has nothing more to add than “I still don’t believe you” – who would win that debate?

  97. #97 lithopithecus
    June 24, 2008

    boy do i ever have a man crush on Lenski now…

    hats off.

  98. #98 Tmtoulouse
    June 24, 2008

    The omitted citation is to RationalWiki a site that conservapedia has deemed unmentionable in its hallowed halls. Dr. Lenski was kind enough to send me an original copy of the letter that I am working on transferring the format and such to wiki format.

    It will be posted at our site:
    http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Lenski_affair

    Soon as I have it done. For now there are copies from CP of all the letters.

  99. #99 Spinoza
    June 24, 2008

    Well done.

    Unfortunately, these sorts of letters have been going on since philosophy (natural philosophy being Science proper) began…

    There are similar exchanges between Spinoza and religious idiots from the 1670s. This website (which I KNOW you guys will like), has the exchange laid out:

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2008/06/famous-burgh-spinoza-exchange-almost-as.html

  100. #100 Nick Gotts
    June 24, 2008

    “It’s just a flesh wound! Come back here and I’ll bite your legs off!” – Andy Schlafly

  101. #101 CL
    June 24, 2008

    Evidence: Kryptonite for the Creationist.

    Great letter.

  102. #102 DiscoveredJoys
    June 24, 2008

    Can I nominate Richard Lenski for the first External OM? Or perhaps the No-Bull Science prize?

  103. #103 MrReilly
    June 24, 2008

    Definitely going to use this in my classroom. Dr. Lenski beat Schafly like an uncovered woman in Tehran.

  104. #104 Capital Dan
    June 24, 2008

    Wow. They’re coming down pretty hard on the folks linking to Rational Wiki.

    Schlafly’s paranoia is being broadcast for the whole world to see. I see a foot-stomping, blubbering tantrum in Andy’s future.

  105. #105 abelian jeff
    June 24, 2008

    Wow. Well-done, Dr. Lenski.

  106. #106 Nentuaby
    June 24, 2008

    Oh, my, that was a masterpiece. I just about lost it when he dropped in that Wikipedia reference to Allusion. :)

  107. #107 AlanWCan
    June 24, 2008

    Fuck me, that was absolutely beautiful!
    Someone get Richard Lenski an HBO special. That has made my day. Spectacular.

  108. #108 Tmtoulouse
    June 24, 2008

    Okay Dr. Lenski sent me an e-mail with the original letter and I have attempted to exactly replicate it’s formatting and it includes the missing info from conservapedia.

    It is located here:
    http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Lenski_affair#Second_reply.2C_June_23_2008

    For anyone that wants it.

  109. #109 Amanda
    June 24, 2008

    Wow. That was beautiful. Just wow.

  110. #110 SC
    June 24, 2008

    Dr. Lenski beat Schafly like an uncovered woman in Tehran.

    How clever. What is this, Tasteless Violence-against-Women Analogy Day?

  111. #111 jetmags73
    June 24, 2008

    Hello….what an outstanding and consciousness-raising reply from Dr. Lenski. I know Schlafly is preparing a viciously clueless response, but for now I can savor the smackdown.

    Regarding Lenski’sPPPS: The real issue is Schlafly’s understanding of the Bible. It’s not that he and his acolytes are incapable of imaging a god with the power to engineer evolution. It’s that this is simply not what the Bible says. The Bible states god created plants, animals, human beings…..no mention of them changing over time or any of that. You know, stuff that people thought was real before we had science. So Schlafly and his goons are standing on their interpretation of the Bible, and trying desperately to deal with its myriad scientific contradictions.

  112. #112 Turdus
    June 24, 2008

    HA! Dr. Lenski ripped off Schlafly’s head and sh*t down his throat! Way to go! Take that Schitfly!

  113. #113 MikeM
    June 24, 2008

    An excellent smack-down.

    I’m not a biologist, just a mere computer scientist, and Lenski strongly succeeded to explain things in terms even I could understand. I laud his efforts.

    Andy cannot back down now. It would require him to completely change his thinking; he’d have to acknowledge that an instance of evolution has been observed, and this instance of evolution occurred because of a change in this bacteria’s environment. In other words, it completely blows away all of Andy’s positions.

    So he can’t change his position. It’d be a lot like OJ Simpson changing his story at this point in time; he can’t do that either.

    FWIW, Lenski has my support. From a mere computer guy. Because our culture is at stake. That’s why. We need to keep together when our side is attacked, especially when the attacks are so poorly assembled.

  114. #114 Robert Ward
    June 24, 2008

    Nice…and yet all that work will accomplish nothing …Schlafly will continue peddling his ignorance as knowledge.

  115. #115 sailor
    June 24, 2008

    I suspect the Dr. Richard Paley mentioned at length was writing a spoof. I think he is the same one at:
    http://objectiveministries.org/creation/

    The name alone should warn anyone to be on the lookout. Remeber the watchmaker proof?

    Go Dr. Paley, you are one of my heros!

  116. #116 extatyzoma
    June 24, 2008

    why can slagfly not just be honest and say ‘see, godidit, just in the petri dish, show he didnt!’

  117. #117 Stevo5567
    June 24, 2008

    POW! Never well delivered response. Pompous and condescending but not too much so. Also, I love the needle about handing his research over to incompetent hacks.

  118. #118 Dark Matter
    June 24, 2008

    Dr. Lenski is a class act and may become my new gold standard for dealing with nutjobs. Bravo, bravo, bravissimo!

  119. #119 Sven DiMilo
    June 24, 2008

    Conservapædia

    I’m curious about the use of the dipthong here when the webmonkeys at Conserv–that site do not.
    Are we poking gentle fun at their general clueless pomposity? If so, I approve.

  120. #120 QED
    June 24, 2008

    I CAN HAZ UR BAKTEERYA?

  121. #121 Masks of Eris
    June 24, 2008

    Hmm, would it be too unacademic of Dr. Lenski to take a few of our comments to adorn his CV with?

    Something like numbers 107, 112 and 118 would certainly make it more, er, lively.

  122. #122 T-Rex
    June 24, 2008

    That was hot. :-)

  123. #123 extatyzoma
    June 24, 2008

    ah, i see a certain dr paley had this to say quote:

    “But how are we to know if these traits weren’t ‘potentiated’ by the Creator when He designed the bacteria thousands of years ago, such that they would eventually reveal themselves when the time was right?” endquote

    what a fucking asshole.

    well, when scientists find god and then design a god shield we can then test that idea once they have also gone back in time in the time machine i suppose they will need. until then lets just make up any shit we want, as usual, fucking religious freaks plain and simple, they piss me off.

  124. #124 Facehammer
    June 24, 2008

    Love the brutal sarcasm and disrespect where disrespect is due. It’s almost like he’s been reading all the shite I’ve been churning out over the years, except he’s unfortunately somewhat toned down the sort of creative puerility that makes humourless creationists froth at the mouth.

  125. #125 Michael Holding
    June 24, 2008

    You smell that?

    Lenski, son.

    I love the smell of Lenski in the morning.

    Smells like….victory!

  126. #126 NPD
    June 24, 2008

    That was so good I needed a cigarette afterwards… and I don’t even smoke!

  127. #127 extatyzoma
    June 24, 2008

    ah, so is paley spoofing? oh jees, poe and all that , one can never tell.

  128. #128 DiEb
    June 24, 2008

    Have a look here to see what A. Schlafly can do to/with the data he wants to have…

  129. #129 Raynfala
    June 24, 2008

    Okay, Dr. Lenski obviously wins this thread by default, but #126 gets the runner-up prize!

  130. #130 Jeff Clement
    June 24, 2008

    That was awesome! I wish (1) I knew that much, (2) I could respond that eloquently under fire.

  131. #131 Sam L.
    June 24, 2008

    Amazing. Just amazing.

  132. #132 Kagehi
    June 24, 2008

    Conservapedia..

    You will never find a more wretched hive of scum
    and villainy. We must be cautious.

    And in a later scene:

    Lenski-wan Kanobi, “Do you have a fast ship?”

    Ham-Ken, “It was the one that formed in less than 3 tornados.”

    (Both irrelevant to the question, and a stupid answer, much like the original script which states, “Obi-wan reacts to Han Solo’s obvious misinformation.”)

    Note: In this version, the ship the ship crashes and burns three seconds after take off, and the real heroes actually got on a different ship. ;) lol

  133. #133 DiEb
    June 24, 2008

    Have a look here to see what A. Schlafly can do to/with the data he wants to have…

  134. #134 AllanW
    June 24, 2008

    Just for the look of the thing can we get Lenski to post a comment here and then give him this months OM for that letter? Please?

  135. #135 AllanW
    June 24, 2008

    Just for the look of the thing can we get Lenski to post a comment here and then give him this months OM for that letter? Please?

  136. #136 craig
    June 24, 2008

    Personally I’d be happy to mail Andy some e-coli. But that’s just me.

  137. #137 CalGeorge
    June 24, 2008

    “I’m so awfully glad I’m not a liberal.” ~ a Conservapedia Motto of the Day

    I’m so awfully glad I’m not Andrew Schlafly!

    But he’s only doing what he does best – harassing people who accomplish REAL work and wasting everyone’s time for no reason.

    Time for Andrew to go cry to Momma.

  138. #138 Fiziker
    June 24, 2008

    The body of the letter was amazing. I did find the second and third post scripts to be a dissapointing end to such magnificence.

  139. #139 extatyzoma
    June 24, 2008

    i thought the post scripts + were quite necessary, a nice little extra dig just to gte some blood pressure raised, what is it with creationists and a lack of humor, in fact i only find religious people humorous when they are not being religious.

  140. #140 Denis Loubet
    June 24, 2008

    If the Shafley character wants to play the burying game, then Lenski should oblige. Send him the data. As hard copy. In binary.

  141. #141 John M.
    June 24, 2008

    Although PZ gave us a goodly slice of Lenski to save the chore of visiting Conservæpedia, it’s worth going there just to see gems like this:

    “Dr. Lenski, I hope you get to read this.

    I have no dispute with most of your second letter (or your first one), and you will note above my objections to the letters being sent to you, but do wish to respond to your second-last paragraph (the P.P.P.S.). You point out earlier in your letter than Andy Schlafly lacks expertise in the relevant fields, but you then proceed to pontificate on an area in which you appear to have no expertise, biblical exegesis.

    The main problem with your claim that God may have used evolution is not that He could not have, but that He said that he didn’t (or, more precisely, what He said that He did is incompatible with evolution). What is “insulting to God” is rejecting what He has plainly told us that He did.

    This point has been made over and over by creationists, so your lack of awareness of this demonstrates that you have little idea of what creationists actually claim and believe, yet it seems that you yourself are willing to go beyond your expertise when it suits you.

    Philip J. Rayment 11:22, 24 June 2008 (EDT)”

    So if God didn’t do it, who does the smoking gun point to. Thor? Jupiter? Baal?

  142. #142 Kseniya
    June 24, 2008

    Mercy! I do believe I have the vapors.

  143. #143 tacitus
    June 24, 2008

    LOL! I just came across this wonderful example of the type of “scientific research” Schlafly has conducted, concerning the “Mystery [of] Young Hollywood Breast Cancer Victims”:

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Mystery:Young_Hollywood_Breast_Cancer_Victims

    And don’t miss the Talk page where he defends his pathetic attempt at science.

    And this man thinks to lecture a real scientist on how he should manage the data of his research??

    Schlafly is beyond a joke.

  144. #144 shrimplate
    June 24, 2008

    That’s gonna leave a mark.

  145. #145 DTis
    June 24, 2008

    Dr. Paley has been taking the mickey out of Conservapedia since day one. As I recall, he proposed that classical Greek references to fauns and satyrs were actually sightings of kangaroos (lost kangaroos, presumably)hustling their marsupial butts towards Australia. An alternate Palian theory was that Pangaea existed until after the deluge and that the assorted critters merely had to hunker down on the appropriate bit of land (sort of like finding your gate at the airport) to be whisked away to the proper latitude.

    He has also proposed that Apple computers are satanic, as they gave some OS a demonic name. There is no Fellowship University, if you Google it you you merely get tens of thousands of references to XXXX Fellowship, University of YYYY. There is a discipline called theobiology, but it has nothing to do with Creationism.

    In short Dr. Paley = POE in action, specially since he’s been fooling with Conservapedia for years and they still aint rumbled him.

  146. #146 amk
    June 24, 2008

    I’m curious about the use of the dipthong here when the webmonkeys at Conserv–that site do not. Are we poking gentle fun at their general clueless pomposity? If so, I approve.

    Conservapædia dislikes all the British spelling on wikipedia. Conservapædia is the Anglicised version of their name. Thus we use it to gratuitously piss them off – and educate them about proper English.

  147. #147 SteveS
    June 24, 2008

    Good lesson. Why dont we go on the offensive, since this is a culture war, then we should use military language. Why not start publically teaching the difference between creationism, intelligent desgn v evolution, big bang. Not in the schools, but in public forums like church basements, lecture halls at local facilities etc. Show what the deficiencies of ID and Creationism is in the light of science.

  148. #148 Sven DiMilo
    June 24, 2008

    I approve!

  149. #149 MikeM
    June 24, 2008

    Okay, completely Off-Topic, but I just have to mention this:

    Satire at the ballot box to ‘honor’ Bush.

    Awesome.

  150. #150 Mena
    June 24, 2008

    Yet again Schlafly proves to the world that modern conservatism and the religious right movement aren’t about morality, god, and family values. It’s all about stupid brutal people on a power trip.

  151. #151 Holbach
    June 24, 2008

    I suppose these tribulations we have to endure from the reigious retards is a good way to hone our always superior rebuttals. What better way to sharpen the senses but to know how these turnips think and act? We need them if only to make them look like the idiots they profess to be. More cannon fodder!

  152. #152 CalGeorge
    June 24, 2008

    “It’s a very simple and lovely story, and I did not ask any questions, storm out, or demand the evidence that it happened as written at a time when science did not yet exist. I was there in the realm of spirituality and mutual respect, not confusing a house of religion for a science class or laboratory. And it was a beautiful wedding, too.”

    Makes me wonder how he would respond to a baptism ceremony.

    Priest: “Dost thou renounce Satan?”

    Lenski: WTF?

  153. #153 Kristjan Wager
    June 24, 2008

    This might just be the most brilliant piece of writing I’ve read this year.

  154. #154 Danio
    June 24, 2008

    I hope someone who knows Dr. Lenski will convey this ethereal equivalent of a standing ovation to him. His surgical strike of a response just absolutely made my week. I am humbled and proud to be a member of the same profession as he.

  155. #155 MikeM
    June 24, 2008

    SteveS, #144: That’s exactly what they did in Sacramento. The Zoo sponsored a 3-part lecture about why evolution is important. The Bee had several articles about it because the Zoo expected a rash of creationists would disrupt these lectures.

    In the end, the lecture series were very popular — you had to reserve weeks in advance — and the creationists were a no-show. That outcome surprised and delighted me.

    http://dwb.sacbee.com/content/news/story/14146951p-14975304c.html

  156. #156 Ritchie Annand
    June 24, 2008

    Wonderful, measured response by Lenski.

    The talk page on Conservapedia is pretty illustrative of the personalities involved.

    What the hell would they do with the data, never mind the bacteria? :)

    I get a kick out of the user tags in the user profiles on Conservapedia. For example, the aforementioned Aaronp has:

    “This user believes that the Big Bang occurred, but that God caused it.”
    “This user thinks that evolution explains the origin of species.”

    Then take a look at Paley’s user page :)

  157. #157 MarkW
    June 24, 2008

    Oh that is the most bodacious pwnage I have EVAR seen.

    (Have I spelled those in the right incorrect manner?)

    Just the right blend of sarcasm, information, and superiority.

  158. #158 ThirdMonkey
    June 24, 2008

    Mr. Schafly should feel honored that a future Nobel Prize winner is willing to dedicate so much time to answering his questions.
    Excellent work, Dr. Lenski!

  159. #159 DaveX
    June 24, 2008

    Gotta admit… I’d have just sent the guy some nasty bacteria!

  160. #160 Rey Fox
    June 24, 2008

    “so that we can apply CSI techniques”

    Though we have since suspected that Dr. Paley is, in fact, a spoofer, might the rubes at Conservapædia believe that there is such a thing as “CSI techniques”? If so, what would they be? Would it be like Daniel Smith in the “Sorry, Vox” thread, where he is completely unable to describe what techniques one would use to detect design or Complex Specified Information, or whatever the bullshit abbreviation of the week is? Or would they take CSI to stand for Crime Scene Investigation and imagine Grissom and whoever else is in that show I’ve never watched take Dr. Lenski’s bacteria to their moodily lit lab? And which would be more funny and sad?

  161. #161 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Lensky is my new science hero. [Funny how that goes - Einstein (child), Hawking (adolescent), Feynman (adult), Lensky (responsible adult).]

    Behe? Are you serious? He’s supposed to be a Creation Scientist? The guy believes in the big bang, an earth billions of years old, and evolution. He does not believe in a young Earth, Adam and Eve, or the true word of the Bible. He’s an evolutionist who happens to say “oh yeah, God guided evolution.”

    Seems Schlafly makes several mistakes that an IDer never would, demanding data instead of strawmen “proof” and confusing a legal situation (you pay for your evidence) with a scientific (the other guy pay for your evidence). FrankJ over at PT will have a heyday over this, as it is his his proposed strategy to make creationists fracture along the ideological lines ID’s big tent tries to protect.

    Btw, RationalWiki, that has the original Lensky mail, on the censored link:

    Keen readers at Conservapedia noticed that the the phrase [Ed.: citation omitted due to spam filter] is contained in the second of the Professor’s replies. Inquires about this withholding of information were made by some readers at Conservapedia. After at least two users were blocked for pursuing the issue it was revealed that the offending link was to none other than a certain RW. It was further established that the initials RW referred to a “Wiki claimed to be Rational”.

    This ironic failure to reveal data caused some interest both at Conservapedia and RationalWiki. Our article above has the full information included in the professor’s reply as we do not believe in withholding public information. For those who are interested, the link Conservapedia censored is http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed

  162. #162 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 24, 2008

    D’oh! Lenski – I have failed my hero already. (Good thing I’m not a child anymore. :-P)

  163. #163 Tim_A
    June 24, 2008

    Tou-fucking-che

  164. #164 Alex
    June 24, 2008

    “…He has plainly told us…”

    Funny. I didn’t hear anything. I thought all their information was gleaned from an ancient collection of accounts generated by simple goat-herders. Who knows what they thought they were hearing, or if it even happened at all. Just doesn’t seem like a very credible source. Morons.

  165. #165 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
    June 24, 2008

    That was an almighty spanking the good Doctor administered!

  166. #166 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Okay, I need a coffee break. I omitted FrankJ’s strategy – it is to demand the creationists to face up to their inconsistent dogma – and his favorite target is to mention Behe’s part acceptance of evolution and common descent.

  167. #167 Eva
    June 24, 2008

    That was amazing.

    We are all in his debt for his taking the time and having the patience to write that.

  168. #168 Nicole TWN
    June 24, 2008

    Man, that’s… :sniff: I haven’t seen such beautiful pwnage since Nobel laureate Peter Medawar faced off against a book of woo-woo.

  169. #169 Ken
    June 24, 2008

    I can’t help but wonder how Dr Lenski can even hear himself over the sound of his own AWESOMENESS

  170. #170 ThirdMonkey
    June 24, 2008

    “Just because he’s one of the few scientists who isn’t an atheist he’s supposed to be one of us? No thanks. I’d rather go with someone who didn’t drink the Old Earth Kool-aid. TonyT 11:41, 24 June 2008 (EDT)”

    I am SO going to have to make a “I drank the Old Earth Kool-aid!” T-shirt.

  171. #171 AlWest
    June 24, 2008

    Booya! That was an excellently written, informative and perfectly toned letter. Kudos to Dr Lenski. I have to echo the above man crushes and words of love.

  172. #172 Don
    June 24, 2008

    Nothing rattles the cages of the knuckle-draggers more than the riposte urbane.

  173. #173 Daniel r
    June 24, 2008

    But how are we to know if these traits weren’t ‘potentiated’ by the Creator when He designed the bacteria thousands of years ago, such that they would eventually reveal themselves when the time was right?

    lol

  174. #174 Jeff Arnold
    June 24, 2008

    Wow… That letter almost made me feel funny in the pants.. Well done.

  175. #175 Rocky Mountain
    June 24, 2008

    Just more left-wing name calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?

  176. #176 Don
    June 24, 2008

    @Nicole TWN

    #104

    Thanks for the link, hadn’t seen that before. Saved to read at leisure.

  177. #177 Siamang
    June 24, 2008

    Lenski and people like him are the reason evil never triumphed in the world.

  178. #178 AutoFire
    June 24, 2008

    Lenski has won the internets, and Andy went for a ride on the failboat!

  179. #179 Brownian, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Just more left-wing name calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?

    No, stupid. We can come up with 20 years of data on E. coli.

    What have you got?

  180. #180 Emmet Caulfield
    June 24, 2008

    Just more left-wing name calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?

    No, just sometimes it’s all we bother with, you snot-groveling fucktard.

  181. #181 James F
    June 24, 2008

    #102 DiscoveredJoys,

    Seconded. PZ should invite Prof. Lenski to post here a few times just to make the Molly official.

  182. #182 John Bode
    June 24, 2008

    I’d like to see Andy try the whole “I’m a taxpayer, you work for me” argument on the next cop, or soldier, or government official he meets.

    If I didn’t suspect it before, now I know; Andy honestly believes that the Universe and everything in it revolves around him. If you don’t hop to his every whim, you are a bad person.

  183. #183 Alex
    June 24, 2008

    “Just more left-wing name calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?”

    I thought we came up with evolving e-coli. I guess I’ll have to re-read what all the hoopla is about.

  184. #184 Hap
    June 24, 2008

    “Just more left-wing name-calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?”

    Um, did you read the letters, or the paper?…I see, no, we don’t have a version of them in coloring book form. Please try again later, though.

  185. #185 Brownian, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Let’s not get all hasty, Emmet.

    Perhaps Rocky Mountain would like to share the data s/he has collected through years of painstaking lab work. Or maybe s/he’s less of a bench researcher, but she should still be able to list off a few of his or her more substantive publications.

    We’ll just wait here with bated breath, shall we?

  186. #186 Rey Fox
    June 24, 2008

    “Just more left-wing name calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?”

    Very well, put up your dukes, Rocky, let’s take this outside!

    You really can’t expect reading for comprehension with fellows like Assfly. I’m sure when he got this letter, he just scanned it for insults. That’s their favorite tactic, provoke the enemy to anger, then whine about being yelled at. With “tax dollars” no less. The modern journalistic Balance worshippers really ought to take note of this whole episode to familiarize themselves with who the players are in this “debate”: on one side, you have the hard-working researchers, on the other, you have a bunch of inveterate pests.

  187. #187 Dan
    June 24, 2008

    The whole concept of Conservapaedia is ludicrous anyway.

    Taking back the InterTubes for Jebus. huzzah!

    ~Dan
    http://jazzsick.wordpress.com/

  188. #188 Alex
    June 24, 2008

    “Assfly…”

    You owe me a new keyboard.

  189. #189 Brownian, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Very well, put up your dukes, Rocky, let’s take this outside!

    Don’t be silly, Rey. Everyone knows real Conservatives don’t fight.

    They talk about being tough. They applaud toughness. They brag about toughness. But when push comes to shove, they’re at their happiest when they’re sending others to do their fighting for them. That’s why God invented poor kids and the GI Bill.

  190. #190 Kseniya
    June 24, 2008

    Just more left-wing name calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?

    Holy crumbling shortcake! Can you READ?

    More right-wing projection. Is that all you guys can come up with?

  191. #191 Umlud
    June 24, 2008

    Bladyslaphead (#2), as a Brit, you might not understand the meaning of “Home run”, or it’s implications, but as an Americanism that is often used, it would be good to learn it.

    A “Home run” in baseball is analagous to scoring a “six” in Cricket (i.e., hitting over the boundary). (In baseball, there is the added benefit of potentially scoring extra runs based on how many runners may already be on base – i.e., in play – meaning that the additional score can be anywhere from 1 – no runners to 4 – three runners.)

    The implication of a home run is that the benefit gained from the endeavor was greater than expected (i.e., a lucky hit provided more runs than expected). Saying something was a “grand slam” (a special term for scoring 4 points from a home run) means that the benefit was disproportionally great. I don’t know if there is a similar implication for “hitting a six” (or the like) in Britain, though.

  192. #192 Larry
    June 24, 2008

    #185:

    That’s why God invented poor kids and the GI Bill.

    … and delivered unto us G.W. Bush to get rid of them both.

  193. #193 bladesman
    June 24, 2008

    I’m a long-time reader and lurker here, and Dr Lenski’s awesome slapdown has spurred me to make my first comment.

    Dr Lenski, you are my newest hero. *wub*

  194. #194 Cardinal S
    June 24, 2008

    Someone buy that man a beer!!

  195. #195 jim
    June 24, 2008

    That was quite magnificent. Never in my life have I seen such righteous pwnage.

    “Righteous pwnage? What on earth might that be?”
    “I believe it’s a popular beat combo, m’lud.”

    And for the Conservapedians, well, we know that religious authority figures are the only people they’ll listen to. So a parting thought from Paul Whicker (the Tall Vicar):

    May the good Lord have mercy on your souls, you bunch of ignorant snivelling fuckpigs!

  196. #196 Paul Johnson
    June 24, 2008

    Oh dear. I think i just creamed my jeans reading that.

    the link the the wikipedia entry for allusion was golden

  197. #197 SC
    June 24, 2008

    Rocky Mountain,

    High?

  198. #198 Kseniya
    June 24, 2008

    The implication of a home run is that the benefit gained from the endeavor was greater than expected (i.e., a lucky hit provided more runs than expected). Saying something was a “grand slam” (a special term for scoring 4 points from a home run) means that the benefit was disproportionally great.

    Not exactly. It’s more like maximum gain from maximum performance. There’s nothing lucky or disproportionate about it. The implication is that it was earned – and that the resulting gain was very much at the expense of the opponent.

    Aschfly hung a curve, and Lenski hit it out of the park. ‘Nuff said.

    It might be a grand slam if there were more ducks on the pond (ie. runners on base; metaphorically, more at stake). Dover was pretty much a grand slam for the forces of reason. It seems, however, that every day brings a whole new ballgame. Sigh.

  199. #199 Emmet Caulfield
    June 24, 2008

    Brownian OM,

    We’ll just wait here with bated breath, shall we?

    Let’s not :o)

    Assfly brought a plastic spork to a gunfight. Lenski brought a Vulcan cannon and used it to obliterate him. The imbecile who limped away and turned up here with “I know you are, what am I?” deserves nothing but scorn. He’s not even worth going Elizabethan with our insults.

  200. #200 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Let me just repeat comments 21 and 49. Again. And again. And again…

    And lest you accuse me further of fraud, I do not literally mean that we have unicorns in the lab. Rather, I am making a literary allusion.

    Priceless. Prizeworthy.

    pain-staking

    Actually, “painstaking” is “pains-taking” etymologically.

    The comment by “Dr. Paley” really sums up the reason why creationists cannot be talked with rationally:

    No, he is one of the rare examples of a cdesign proponentsist who actually suggests a test for his hypothesis — see comment 26. Sequencing the genome of the ancestral strain and showing that the citrate transporter is simply not there would convince him (…provided it isn’t done by a “Darwinist”, because the testimony of a woman Darwinist counts at best half).

    Unless, of course, he really is the Objective one…

    Expelled 2: Revenge of the IDiots.

    LOL! :-D

    Or perhaps the No-Bull Science prize?

    LOL! :-D (But I repeat myself.)

    I’m curious about the use of the [...] [ligature] here when the webmonkeys at Conserv–that site do not. Are we poking gentle fun at their general clueless pomposity?

    Yes.

  201. #201 sdg
    June 24, 2008

    The implication of a home run is that the benefit gained from the endeavor was greater than expected (i.e., a lucky hit provided more runs than expected). Saying something was a “grand slam” (a special term for scoring 4 points from a home run) means that the benefit was disproportionally great. I don’t know if there is a similar implication for “hitting a six” (or the like) in Britain, though.

    Posted by: Umlud | June 24, 2008 4:10 PM

    also, if you want someone to take a baseball comment seriously, don’t refer to runs as points. ;)

  202. #202 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Oopsie. I had only read to comment 127 because I’m a bit slow today. I’ll immediately read the rest of the thread.

    Interesting that there’s all that boldface in the original, but not in the Conservapædia version.

  203. #203 windy
    June 24, 2008

    The PNAS guidelines say that data shall be made available to readers. Schlafly by his own admission still hasn’t read the paper.

  204. #204 khops
    June 24, 2008

    I CAN HAS DATAS?

  205. #205 Jorge Reyes-Spindola
    June 24, 2008

    I only wish 10% of the general population were half as polite as Dr. Lembski was when pestered by malicious and ill-intentioned morons. When the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is published his picture will be posted next to the definition of the expression “class act”.

  206. #206 clear as mud
    June 24, 2008

    A f***ing work of art, that was.

    I’m very *very* impressed with Lenski’s ability to have written what is clearly a balance of many intellectual and emotional issues.

    Cripes, scientists have enough to deal with just making sure their research is solid, that they’re claims can stand up reasonably well to *honest* verification, and that their conclusions are balanced while also interesting. Dealing with a bunch of ill-willed creeps who are guaranteed to do nothing else but lie until the rapture (when, presumably they would be rewarded for their incessant lies and deceit??) is really above and beyond the call of duty.

    Well done!

  207. #207 Mena
    June 24, 2008

    Emmet Caulfield @195:
    The imbecile who limped away and turned up here with “I know you are, what am I?” deserves nothing but scorn. He’s not even worth going Elizabethan with our insults.

    Very true. If everyone kept their insults at that level, maybe some day stuff would get through. The people who use the “It’s because I’m a creeestian!!!” whine to get what they want don’t understand that it’s not because of their religion, it’s because they are arrogant and pushy with their beliefs and that a lot of their political agenda opposes the values of freedom that they claim to be protecting. I suggest that perhaps “You’re not the boss of me!” would be appropriate in that case. Even if it doesn’t get through to them, it would at least be satire.

  208. #208 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    #176 – Emmet Caulfield – “you snot-groveling fucktard” – dammit man, you owe me a pineapple smoothie.

  209. #209 amk
    June 24, 2008

    Hitting for six exists as a metaphor and implies a successful defence followed by a counter attack. Cricket-baseball comparisons can be problematic, with one major difference being that the attacking team in baseball is the batting team (scoring runs as the outs inexorably mount up) whereas the attacking team in cricket is the bowling team (getting wickets as the runs inexorably mount up).

    Cricket for baseballers

  210. #210 Genghis
    June 24, 2008

    Conservapedia’s riposte to Lenski?

    “Lenski’s latest response to a request for his data is revealing … about Lenski’s attitude. Take a good look at the attitude our tax dollars are paying for.”

  211. #211 Dennis N
    June 24, 2008

    I wish more of my tax dollars went to men like him.

  212. #212 Capital Dan
    June 24, 2008

    #176 – Emmet Caulfield – “you snot-groveling fucktard” – dammit man, you owe me a pineapple smoothie.

    Posted by: Patricia

    I seem to share your frustration. Do you have any idea how painful it is to have hot chai tea (black) come through the nose?

  213. #213 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Just more left-wing name calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?

    <mild smile>

    <patting Rocky Mountain’s head>

    Lovely. Cute outright. :-}

  214. #214 Sarcastro
    June 24, 2008

    It is as though a person thinks that God must have the same limitations when it comes to creation as a person who is unable to understand, or even attempt to understand, the world in which we live. Isn’t that view insulting to God?

    Yes it is insulting and utterly hubristic, but “the world we live in”? No, they think God has the same limitations when it comes to creation as a bunch of ignorant – for their time – sheepherders fresh out of the dessert three thousand years ago.

    These folks think God is too stupid to use metaphors to explain difficult concepts to people who could not begin to comprehend them but, rather, made the world in a way which a bunch of monumentally ignorant – even for their own time – nomads could grasp.

    Their God is not but themselves writ large. Just as patriotism and morality are not but their own prejudices applied to their fellow man. These are a bunch of truly shitty people. Bad scientists, bad Americans, bad people and worse theologians.

  215. #215 Sarcastro
    June 24, 2008

    “Desert” not “Dessert”.

    You’d think I’d been reading Doon; “Doon, Arrukis, the dessert planet. An entire planet without an entrée to be found.”

  216. #216 Ray M
    June 24, 2008

    Wow… just wow. I made a big mistake, and clicked on the link through to Conservapedia. What a gurgling, steaming pit of insanity. It’s hard to believe the same species inhabits that place as this. I’m ashamed to have been in the computer industry for several decades, and thereby to have helped, to some extent, provide them with this place in which to parade their, well, I’m not quite sure what to call it, but it certainly isn’t pretty.

    And they are busy claiming that Lenski “writes like a 12-year old”! What an evil pit of venomous, slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging morons.

  217. #217 bill
    June 24, 2008

    y’know, reading the conversation on the conservapedia talk page makes me wonder if Bugler is:
    (a) for real
    (b) the world’s best ever satirist
    (c) a sociology student running an experiment.
    Bugler just seems too perfect a specimen to be real.
    Consider this (from the Missing Link section)
    `If you knew that is the site, it would be improper for you to mention it by name. Since you don’t know, it is utterly irresponsible of you to speculate.’
    Translated:
    those who know don’t tell, those who tell don’t know.
    It’s a phrase that seems out of place in a conservapedia mindset.

  218. #218 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    My favorite part was Lenski reminding the idiot that he is covered in e. coli. It reminded me of an old saying of my grandmother’s – you can dip a turd in chocolate, but it will still taste like shit in the middle.

  219. #219 Arnosium Upinarum
    June 24, 2008

    Richard Paley vomited, “But how are we to know if these traits weren’t ‘potentiated’ by the Creator when He designed the bacteria thousands of years ago, such that they would eventually reveal themselves when the time was right?”

    AH, so that’s the Plan. With that cat-out-of-the-bag we can readily appreciate their strategy: they can (and no doubt will) deny every bit of evidence for evolution by positing a pre-existing “potentiation” by a Designer Creator that is eventually revealed “when the time is right”.

    Meaning, every friggin’ time real scientists perform a study that unambiguously demonstrates that evolution exists. (Which makes me wonder why these assholes haven’t once embarked on a research project of their own to demonstrate what Paley describes as “potentiated genotypes”. Oops, I forgot, how silly of me – they would rather spend their money in a political/commercial/marketing way promoting their gripes.)

    In the future, we’ll see lots more of this. Anytime any researcher says something like, “Here, look at this new evidence of evolution we’ve found” these clowns will insist that it’s not REALLY evolution because the Designer Creator just made it look that way. “It’s a Divine Potentiation! It’s a Divine Potentiaton!”

    And on and on it will go.

    There is no limit to how low these ingrate liars will stoop. The concept of shame is utterly foreign to them.

    I guess we’ll just have to keep pointing that out. Anger and outrage and indignation are useful and even wholesome tools. Use ‘em. Effectively. As weapons defending reason.

    The stubborness involved is spectacular. Science alone can’t put it down – it just supplies all the necessary information. That information needs people who respect science and nature to wield it and call these charlatans out on their claims.

    Richard Lenski is doing an AWESOME job. He’s my new hero.

    Yeah, it can be nasty. (Gordy Slack, for example, would whine in agreement). It may not be science to stand up and strongly advocate science. So what? The object isn’t science, it is to be heard, and it is to be heard loudly and unequivocally. That’s how people do business. That’s how civilization progresses. That’s how futures are made or broken. If we don’t speak up, we surrender it all to ignorance and darkness.

  220. #220 Ray M
    June 24, 2008

    My favorite part was Lenski reminding the idiot that he is covered in e. coli.

    That’s the part that started them off on the “writing like a 12-year old” thing, together with a loony rant about the evolution of bacteria in general. They are truly a sorry, twisted bunch of goons.

  221. #221 amk
    June 24, 2008

    Aaronp “gets” Conservapædia.

  222. #222 sdg
    June 24, 2008

    My favorite part was Lenski reminding the idiot that he is covered in e. coli. It reminded me of an old saying of my grandmother’s – you can dip a turd in chocolate, but it will still taste like shit in the middle.

    Posted by: Patricia | June 24, 2008 5:12 PM

    umm, i get who the turd is but what’s the chocolate?

  223. #223 Zarquon
    June 24, 2008

    Thirty years or so ago, John Cooper Clarke wrote an ode to people like Schlafly (and Ken Ham). He called it

    Twat

    Like a Night Club in the morning, you’re the bitter end.
    Like a recently disinfected shit-house, you’re clean round the bend.
    You give me the horrors
    too bad to be true
    All of my tomorrow’s
    are lousy coz of you.

    You put the Shat in Shatter
    Put the Pain in Spain
    Your germs are splattered about
    Your face is just a stain

    You’re certainly no raver, commonly known as a drag.
    Do us all a favour, here… wear this polythene bag.

    You’re like a dose of scabies,
    I’ve got you under my skin.
    You make life a fairy tale… Grimm!

    People mention murder, the moment you arrive.
    I’d consider killing you if I thought you were alive.
    You’ve got this slippery quality,
    it makes me think of phlegm,
    and a dual personality
    I hate both of them.

    Your bad breath, vamps disease, destruction, and decay.
    Please, please, please, please, take yourself away.
    Like a death a birthday party,
    you ruin all the fun.
    Like a sucked and spat our smartie,
    you’re no use to anyone.
    Like the shadow of the guillotine
    on a dead consumptive’s face.
    Speaking as an outsider,
    what do you think of the human race

    You went to a progressive psychiatrist.
    He recommended suicide…
    before scratching your bad name off his list,
    and pointing the way outside.

    You hear laughter breaking through, it makes you want to fart.
    You’re heading for a breakdown,
    better pull yourself apart.

    Your dirty name gets passed about when something goes amiss.
    Your attitudes are platitudes,
    just make me wanna piss.

    What kind of creature bore you
    Was is some kind of bat
    They can’t find a good word for you,
    but I can…
    TWAT.

  224. #224 Owen
    June 24, 2008

    Late to the thread, but it occurs to me that “potentiation” – at least in the way the cdesign proponentsists use it – is basically “the ability to mutate”. I’d love to see them get hung up by that one…

  225. #225 Alcari
    June 24, 2008

    What an awesome reply, Richard Lenski just moved up several places in my “List of awesome scientists”.
    To sum up the letter in the words of my generation:

    PWNED!

    *Aww, no font tags? Just imagine big, red, centered, scrolling letters then.

  226. #226 scooter
    June 24, 2008

    Suggested group Pharyngula project:

    Print out the following Label

    To the Conservapedia Research Laboratories
    c/o
    [A Schafly's Business office Address]

    As requested, starter E.coli bacterium starter colony in original naturalistic medium.

    paste it to a shoebox, take a shit in the shoe box, seal it well and FedX it OVERNIGHT so it doesn’t spoil.

  227. #227 Emmet Caulfield
    June 24, 2008

    Thus spake Patricia:

    dammit man, you owe me a pineapple smoothie.

    I’ve only had lulz-induced involuntary nasal irrigation with coffee and milk, myself, so I hope you didn’t end up with a little chunk of pineapple in the nasopharynx: I once coughed a fragment of peanut up there and it annoyed the hell out of me for a full day :o)

  228. #228 BlueIndependent
    June 24, 2008

    #207:

    “I wish more of my tax dollars went to men like him.”

    No kidding. All these conservobots trying to protect my tax dollars seem to be directing said dollars to all the wrong places. Perhaps I ought to exercise my right as a citizen to tell them to go pound sand, and let me decide via the ballot box what is and is not a good thing to spend tax dollars on.

  229. #229 Randy
    June 24, 2008

    #222

    Try sneezing with a mouth full of mashed potatoes.

  230. #230 babblina
    June 24, 2008

    we need more taxex spend on absitence sex eductation, not on spending it on making up more dangeros backteria

  231. #231 Larry
    June 24, 2008

    Scooter:

    paste it to a shoebox, take a shit in the shoe box, seal it well and FedX it OVERNIGHT so it doesn’t spoil.

    .

    Hmmm, so one-day old shit is going to smell better than the spoiled 3 day stuff delivered by the USPO?

  232. #232 Azkyroth
    June 24, 2008

    The PNAS guidelines say that data shall be made available to readers. Schlafly by his own admission still hasn’t read the paper.

    Schlafly has PNAS envy? O.o

  233. #233 cicely
    June 24, 2008

    A natural 20, for max damage!

    And:

    Just more left-wing name calling. Is that all you guys can come up with?

    Posted by: Rocky Mountain

    Wow! You’ve got the lowest threshold for “name calling” I’ve ever seen. A goodly part of the sheer awesomeness of this letter was that Dr. Lenski didn’t resort to name calling. He didn’t have to.

  234. #234 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Yeah, them pineapple chunks and mashed potatoes are nasty out the nose! Hope you weren’t having sausage chunk gravey there Randy.

  235. #235 Kseniya
    June 24, 2008

    I think poor Rocky was horrified that some commenters here had less than perfectly kind and respectful words for the rude and ignorant Mr. Schlafly. Why he chose to characterize it as a “left-vs-right” issue rather than correctly identifying it as the “knowledge-and-integrity-vs-ignorance-and-dishonesty” issue that it very obviously is, I can’t say. Limbaugh-induced cognitive collapse, perhaps?

  236. #236 brandon
    June 24, 2008

    Wow. That was beautiful.

  237. #237 Helioprogenus
    June 24, 2008

    What an astute reply to that fuck Schlafly, Shitfly, whatever his name is. I know I’m late to the discussion but I disagree with Lenksi on the following statement “From the content on your website, it is clear that you, like many others, view God as the Creator of the Universe. I respect that view.” What is there to respect of this view? Some credulous assholes actually believe that an etheral being dictates the universe through various degrees of interference? I realize Lenksi doesn’t want to offend the religious, but the truth is, he’s walking on eggshells to avoid offending idiots who deserve to have their small religious/spiritual minds examined. Would Lenksi respect the view that closet gnomes mysteriously live and feed off lost clothes, making sure to magically dictate whether one starts off their day feeling malcontent or ecstatic? He would probably tell the goofball believing such tripe to go to a fucking psychiatrist, yet he “respects” other idiots believing in an equally mindless tripe, only because billions on the planet buy into it in various forms? What the fuck?

  238. #238 scooter
    June 24, 2008

    Mrs Tilton #81

    Schlafly’s acolyte “Dr Richard Paley”? Would that by any chance be this Dr Paley?
    I suspect Schlafly is getting pwn3d by more than just Dr Lenski…

    BWAHAHAHA, I think you may be right. Thanks for the link and a REALLY good laugh at Dr. Paley’s site.

  239. #239 JeffreyD
    June 24, 2008

    I think the unicorn reference did the most for me, including spitting coffee all over the screen, just missing the keyboard. Still, it was worth it.

    Dr. Lenski is such a nice man. I would have sent a poorly sealed petri dish to the Schlag, and labeled it ‘candy’. I really am not a nice person.

    A bow of amusement and respect to the good Dr. Lenski

  240. #240 Lynnai
    June 24, 2008

    Wow, Dr. Lenski is a very thorough man is he not?

    Such a smooth forehand stroke with excellent follow-through was almost gentle compared to the whip crack of the backhand in the post scripts.

    I give him a 10.5 on the bich-slap rhictor scale. I hope our good host will keep us posted on any interesting after shocks.

    I am amused.

  241. #241 amk
    June 24, 2008

    OT, I came across this surfing from that cricket-baseball comparison I linked.

    Intelligent Design sorting algorithm because complexity cannot evolve.

  242. #242 Mrs Tilton
    June 24, 2008

    scooter @233,

    I’m all about spreading the Good News. Death to the Triclavianists!

  243. #243 Aegis
    June 24, 2008

    Wow, THAT was a glove slap of the olde-tyme variety. Well played.

    By the way, you all owe yourselves a laugh by skimming over their article on evolution. It’s patently ridiculous. Lastly, isn’t Conservapedia’s use of the Wiki format a tad against the spirit behind that product? It’s like wikipedia with all the peer-review removed, but they kept all the crazy.

  244. #244 Cooper
    June 24, 2008

    I kind of wish Lenski had offered to send the bugs in his first response, along with all the required forms, shipping permit applications, etc. This exchange has been educational for those of us not intimately familiar with Dr. Lenski’s work, but it’s not the optimal rhetorical score.

  245. #245 Will Von Wizzlepig
    June 24, 2008

    I’m really sorry that these people waste the time of scientists who are busy with far more important issues.

    If, in your biology 301 class, you had a student who consistently asked bio101 questions, would you waste the rest of the students’ time going over a pre-req?

    If, in your bio101 class you had a thoroughly thick-skulled student, exactly how much extra in-class time is fair to spend before you are again wasting the other students’ time?

    Lastly, in bio101, if you had a student who pretended to care but who intentionally asked obtuse questions, how much of your time would you spend on that?

    There are plenty of people out there willing to drag the dullards through basic science.

    The Einsteins of the world should excuse themselves from this babysitting task, except in the interests of making a show of how wicked smart they are.

    I do appreciate that on occasion.

  246. #246 Thorn
    June 24, 2008

    That was interesting, somehow I feel as if that was not really written for the benefit of Shafley but for readers of websites such as this one.

  247. #247 Alex
    June 24, 2008

    The voice of reason rarely sounds as sweet.

    Kudos to Dr. Lenski for being such a class act.

  248. #248 Alex
    June 24, 2008

    There are plenty of people out there willing to drag the dullards through basic science.

    But the dullards do not care about the science, or the truth. They like it when we call them names though, so they can accuse us of being arrogant. That is what is so great about Lenski’s thoughtful responses combined with blogs like Pharyngula that mash in the niceties in an irreverent way.

  249. #249 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Alex, Righty-O! I rather enjoy the name calling myself *grin*, I’ve learned so many new words here. I’d never have thought of ‘snot-groveling fucktard’ on my own. Of course it has played hell with my nostrils, you can only snort out so much food and drink in one day.

  250. #250 Bride of Shrek
    June 24, 2008

    If Professor Lenski does not have children I would like to humbly and sincerely offer my body to carry his DNA so it may be spread throughout the world. It is simply mandatory that this man reproduces.

    Thats was simply, simply, simply….bugger, words fail me in the presence of such magnificence.

  251. #251 scooter
    June 24, 2008

    Will Von #240

    If, in your biology 301 class, you had a student who consistently asked bio101 questions, would you waste the rest of the students’ time going over a pre-req?

    These creotards have been relying on this and succeeding.

    The difference is that a dumb-ass, or disruptive student is not currently influencing public policy.

    They are teaching this crap and other Bible Bullshit in Public Schools all over the Country, they are only stopped when the District is successfully sued.

    These fucks are to be ignored at your own peril. Chris Hedges calls the Rise of the Christian Right the most dangerous movement in the History of the US, and he’s a Protestant who doesn’t like atheists.

    I think the Confederacy was the most dangerous movement considering the fatalities, but I’ll give him second most dangerous.

    You have to fight these asswipes, that are not a lunatic fringe, they are running the goddam country while playing the victim.

    They are treacherous, they are evil, they are dishonest because there is no such thing as a lie, a theft or a murder if it serves the Lord.

    These Christian fucks make Islamoturds look like Sesame Street.

    Never let then slide.

  252. #252 Metro
    June 24, 2008

    SsssssssSPANK!

    Oh boy, that’s gonna leave a mark. And yet Lenski delivered it with style and grace.

  253. #253 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Bride of Shrek you shameless hussy!

  254. #254 Bride of Shrek
    June 24, 2008

    I’ll not be called a hussy by the likes of you Miss Patricia. Its slut or nothing thankyou.

  255. #255 trimtab
    June 24, 2008

    Ouch. Those postscripts have got to hurt. I haven’t seen pain packed so tightly in a P.S. as this.

  256. #256 James F
    June 24, 2008

    #235

    Wow, Dr. Lenski is a very thorough man is he not?

    He is a good man, and thorough.

    /Big Lebowski

  257. #257 NRT
    June 24, 2008

    Lenski oozes intelligence, class and professional integrity!
    A chef’s knife cutting through turd!
    Lenski for President!

  258. #258 Brownian, OM
    June 24, 2008

    simply, simply, simply….bugger

    Pardon me, Bride of Shrek, but if you’re planning to carry Dr. Lenski’s children, that might not be the best way to obtain his DNA.

    James F abides!

  259. #259 amphiox
    June 24, 2008

    So Intelligent Design is now evolving into Divine Potentiation? Or is it just going extinct and being replaced?

    Problem is, as far as I see it, potentiation, divine or not, is still evolution!

  260. #260 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Oh, yeah? Well that just about puts a kink in my corset. Bride of Shrek, you slut!

  261. #261 Yoeruek
    June 24, 2008

    Patricia and Bride of Shrek

    Just send him an email:
    lenski@msu.edu
    May you be lucky…

  262. #262 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Yeek! NOT ME! SHE’S the slut!

  263. #263 CanadianChick
    June 24, 2008

    Bride of Shrek beat me to it – curses, foiled again!

  264. #264 Julie Stahlhut
    June 24, 2008

    Up front: This has been a tough day. My PCRs got contaminated at the overcrowded bench, my temperamental facet joint is causing me to have back spasms, I can’t take aspirin for it because I’m having minor surgery tomorrow, one of my best friends is also facing surgery this week, my mother is stressed out because she’s moving, my washing machine is having mechanical difficulties, and I’m about a month behind on some other things I have to do at work.

    But I’ve been smiling all day, and it’s all because of Prof. Lenski’s letter. That’s how great it was.

  265. #265 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Don’t feel bad CanadianChick, I got my nose rubbed in it too. Compared to the official slut, I’m a mere strumpet. ;)

  266. #266 Brain Hertz
    June 24, 2008

    Getting to the end of that letter I had approximately the same reaction that one has getting off a seriously brain-buggering rollercoaster:

    Wow! That was awesome….. let’s do it again!

  267. #267 jgirvine
    June 24, 2008

    Brilliant. I think that was the best letter i’ve ever read…

  268. #268 John
    June 24, 2008

    Perfect.

    “I find it baffling, however, that someone can worship God as the all-mighty Creator while, at the same time, denying even the possibility (not to mention the overwhelming evidence) that God’s Creation involved evolution. It is as though a person thinks that God must have the same limitations when it comes to creation as a person who is unable to understand, or even attempt to understand, the world in which we live.”

    I love that.

  269. #269 Brownian, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Compared to the official slut, I’m a mere strumpet.

    Mmm, strumpets…nnghnghnghngh!

    Wait, why are you a biscuit-like pastry?

  270. #270 Glen Davidson
    June 24, 2008

    Um, it’s a good letter. But it’s not something that a host of scientists, and even non-scientists, could not and would not have written.

    I don’t quite get the hagiography surrounding the Lenski response. He’s just dealing with a mindless pest using rather obvious facts and necessary disrespect for the BS spewed by Shlaflea. Good stuff, but nothing that made me want a smoke after reading it.

    Let’s put it this way–I doubt that Lenski would like to be remembered for taking apart this gnat. His work is what is impressive.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  271. #271 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Sweet, buttery & hot… or is that treading on the sluts territory…

  272. #272 DingoDave
    June 24, 2008

    Ref. comment #42:

    “Please tell me “Dr Paley” is a sane person having a laugh on Schlafly’s forum.)”

    Dr. Richard Paley is a teacher of Divinity and Theobiology at ‘Fellowship Baptist University.’
    He runs a website called ‘OBJECTIVE:Ministries’
    http://objectiveministries.org/creation/

    “Objective: Christian Ministries was actually created by the same folks who created Landover Baptist Church. It’s just a parody. But a very good one.”
    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/forum/forum_comments/1720/

    “If you follow Landover Baptist Church link to “whitehouse.org” and read the disclaimers…they state it. Domain Lookup lists the owners of Objective: (It) is a cleaver fake to promote LBC.”
    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/forum/forum_comments/1720/

  273. #273 Brownian, OM
    June 24, 2008

    Sweet, buttery & hot… or is that treading on the sluts territory…

    Goodness! I believe I just spilled my tea.

  274. #274 Kel
    June 24, 2008

    It was a nice reply. It’s funny how we showed them such respect while they were busy trying to rip him apart without even know what he was talking about.

  275. #275 ERV
    June 24, 2008

    hehehehe.

    For some reason Conservapedia is down…

    heeeeeeeehehehehehe.

  276. #276 Mrs Tilton
    June 24, 2008

    Glen @265,

    yes, of course Lenski’s work is what’s really impressive. But what his letters show up very favourably is not so much Lenski the scientist as Lenski the teacher. You’ll have noticed he lays great stress on his responsibilities as an educator, and he’s right to do so. Not every great scientist is a great teacher, nor vice versa. But Lenski seems to be both.

    Perhaps there’s no hope for Schlafly, but there might be for those of his homeschooled minions whose intellects have not yet totally atrophied. A long shot, no doubt. But as we say over here, “hope is the last thing to die”, and Lenski refuses to stop hoping, and helping where he can. Yet one more reason he’s a hero.

    And Lenski is not only a good teacher. He is also, obviously, a gentleman (by Oscar Wilde’s definition).

  277. #277 Lionel Barrow
    June 24, 2008

    Great job Dr. Lenski! I found this page through a number of internet humor sites that have highlighted your exchange with Conservapedia.

  278. #278 mandrellian
    June 24, 2008

    I quit 7 years ago, but that was so freaking awesome I need a cigarette.

  279. #279 Krystalline Apostate
    June 24, 2008

    I admit that most of it was a tough read, but:

    But perhaps because you did not bother even to read our paper, or perhaps because you aren’t very bright

    That is perchance the nicest way of calling someone an idiot I’ve ever seen.

  280. #280 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Tea?…Tea! Now see here sir, we strumpets are in charge of grog & swill. If you’re not having grog & swill then you have no business frolicking with strumpets. Humbug!

  281. #281 Patricia
    June 24, 2008

    Wow, I’ve been proven wrong, god does exist…and his name is Lenski…holy crap that was awesome.

  282. #282 Wowbagger
    June 24, 2008

    Ray M, #212

    They say Lenski is writing ‘like a 12-year-old’? Considering these mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers can, on a good day, only manage writing like a 5-year-old, I think we can assume that means it’s beyond their comprehension – like most things beyond ‘goddidit’.

  283. #283 CleveDan
    June 24, 2008

    conservapedia is off the air:)

    maybe they read the Lenski response and gave up their desert nomad written book following ways

  284. #284 SC
    June 24, 2008

    Could they be trying to remove all traces of “Dr. Paley”? Oddly, the OBJECTIVE:Ministries site seems also to be down…

  285. #285 John Phillips, FCD
    June 24, 2008

    Awesome, and that is an understatement, and Glen, I mean both his work and reply to Assfly.

    At the very least that reply deserves a Molly^2 award, irrespective of not posting it here himself.

  286. #286 John Phillips, FCD
    June 24, 2008

    Interesting, you can ping or tracert their site but it times out using a browser. Methinks, as SC suggested, they are cleaning up all the shit that has hit the fan.

  287. #287 Cheezits
    June 24, 2008

    I don’t know who this Dr. Lenski is, but he’s my idol.

  288. #288 Wowbagger
    June 24, 2008

    Sounds like there’s a niche for a new reality-tv competition. We could call it Science Idol. One round will have to be rebutting IDiotic claims in such a way as it can be understoond by lay people. Lenski can be guest expert and give them tips.

    Maybe we can get Schlafly on to be the guest judge who everyone hates…oh no, wait – he has to at least know something about what’s being presented…

  289. #289 KiwiInOz
    June 24, 2008

    Lenski deserves an honorary Molly award.

  290. #290 SC
    June 24, 2008

    Wowbagger @ #283,

    Too bad the name’s already taken (some good cartoons, though):

    http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/science_idol/

  291. #291 ngong
    June 24, 2008

    But, but, but Dembski has a different take on the Lenski response (it evinces “seething contempt”) at Uncommon Descent!

  292. #292 John Scanlon, FCD
    June 24, 2008

    Excellent work, Dr Lenski. By virtue of his virtual contribution here, is a Molly nomination allowed?

    And I just had a look at the RationalWiki page, I’m not surprised Aschlafly censored the link:

    ‘Public Restroom Stance: WIDE’

  293. #293 kcrady
    June 24, 2008

    Wow. There hasn’t been a rout like that since Cannae. Regarding my “tax dollars,” I would be happy to see the percentage of the Pentagon’s budget represented by the percentage of its employees in attendance at Ken Ham’s prayer breakfast be given to Dr. Lenski to fund his research. Before cutting the Pentagon’s budget down to what’s actually needed for America’s defense, that is.

    I must say, I got a huge kick out of the proposal that the Conservapaedians use “CSI techniques” to analyze the bacteria. What, are they expecting to find Yahweh’s fingerprints with one of those ultraviolet lights? “We’ll use CSI techniques! Just like on TV!” Hahaha! If you guys must emulate a television show, may I humbly suggest Lost?

    If we can’t give the good Doctor a Molly, can we institute a new Pharyngula award for masterful gentlemanly/-womanly smackdown of idiocy, the Order of Lenski?

    I hope someone points Dr. Lensky to this thread so he and his co-workers will know how much they and their work are appreciated.

  294. #294 justin
    June 24, 2008

    Dr. Lenski = Rockstar

  295. #295 SC
    June 24, 2008

    Conservapaedia back up. What a nutfarm.

    I love this from the talk page:

    Well I hope we’re not going to stop here. It’s not just an issue of will the evolutionist make their data open to the public, but we must validate that data, yes? I’m curious to know which university Mr Schlafly will be working with to receive the biological samples and also I’m curious to know what researcher(s) he will ask to experiment/validate the data. I don’t recall an evolutionist ever being this open with their data so this is all so very intriguing. Perhaps the Discovery Institute could help, they have a laboratory in Seattle Washington where they conduct intelligent design experiments and biology research all the time. That would be a logical resource. Miles 18:08, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

    They do?

  296. #296 Kseniya
    June 24, 2008

    One person’s “seething contempt” is another person’s “appropriate level of thinly-veiled dismissive hauteur.” Because my people skills (and wardrobe) are superior to Dembski’s, my characterization is more accurate.

  297. #297 NP
    June 24, 2008

    Trust Billy Dembski to take Schlafly’s side. You know where to find him.

  298. #298 Mena
    June 24, 2008

    NP@292:
    Trust Billy Dembski to take Schlafly’s side. You know where to find him.

    But enough about E. coli
    (I’m here all week.)

  299. #299 Rob
    June 25, 2008

    This makes me pretty happy to be a human. Species pride!

  300. #300 marc buhler
    June 25, 2008

    Umlud (comment #187),

    As someone who grew up in the states and has lived ‘down under’ for almost three decades, the cricket term that most closely matches “grand slam” comes from backyard cricket, with a ball hit far enough out of play (into the mean neighbours yard you are not allowed to go get it from, for example), that it ends your turn as batter. (And also likely ends the game at that point.)

    You just say “Six and Out”, or “that’s six and you’re out”.

  301. #301 BlueIndependent
    June 25, 2008

    SC @ 290:

    “They do?”

    SC my friend, understand that to the creationist, All the DI has to do is *SAY* they are doing ID experiments at their Seattle location, and the nodding apologists take it as “gospel”, if you will.

    At the very least it looks like ASchlafly’s band of conservobots will at the very least take him to task – maybe – and make sure he follows through with what he will surely have no idea how to do. Perhaps when/if Mr. Schlafly fails, it will be instructive for hopefully the majority of them that their position is in fact utter trash, upheld by nothing but wishes and day dreams.

    Fat chance I know, but…

  302. #302 paragwinn
    June 25, 2008

    PZ: that wretched hive of pretentious villainy at Conservapædia.

    [kneejerk slightly-modified geek movie reference]

    SCENE: Conservapædia, the Mos Eisely of the blogoshpere

    Andy Schlafly: “If you hand me you’re data now, I just might forget about quote-mining your first response and mocking your spiritual hygiene.”
    Richard Lenski: “Over the body of hard-won scientific principles.”
    Schlafly: “That’s the idea. I’m looking forward to discrediting your materialistic atheistic hellish evilutionist conclusions.”
    Lenski: “I bet you have.”
    CUE Lenski’s second response
    Lenski: “Mr. Schlafly, you should apologize for your mess.”

    [/kneejerk slightly-modified geek movie reference]

  303. #303 Joel
    June 25, 2008

    Well, I happen to be lucky enough to be sitting mere miles from Dr. Lenski’s lab, where the magic, I mean science, happened.

    I noticed on Schlafly’s second letter (see RW for the full text), he CCed it to both PNAS and New Scientist. Any word if they have bothered to respond? Not that they need to, but I think it would add a new level of hilarity if they both told Schlafly to shove it.

  304. #304 pcarini
    June 25, 2008

    Jim (clear back at 191): “May the good Lord have mercy on your souls, you bunch of ignorant snivelling fuckpigs!

    I tend to prefer HST’s simpler formulation (from the end of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas): “God’s mercy on you swine!”

    HST is hard to beat when it comes to references to either swine or lizards.

  305. #305 Paul Schofield
    June 25, 2008

    If anyone has an account that hasn’t been blocked, can they ask why no-one has actually bothered visiting the experiment site and, say, downloading the data sets uploaded there?

  306. #306 Zaius
    June 25, 2008

    P.S. Did you know that your own bowels harbor something like a billion (1,000,000,000) E. coli at this very moment? So remember to wash your hands after going to the toilet, as I hope your mother taught you.

    Now I have visions of Phyllis going Lady Macbeth on Andy’s UNCLEAN hands!

  307. #307 Christophe Thill
    June 25, 2008

    Well, I don’t know if it is usual to call Young Earth Creationists YECkies. But Mr Schlafly’s site definitely deserves the nickname of YECkipedia. Will the name stick?

  308. #308 DLC
    June 25, 2008

    Prof. Lenski made a model response.
    Polite and informative yet dismissive.
    Of course, Shafly will attempt to spin his being schooled as being just another part of the “Darwinist Hegemony” blocking their attempt to get at “the Truth.”

    In the meantime, I applaud Professor Lenski for his well-done dissection of Schafly’s blather.

  309. #309 Magpie
    June 25, 2008

    I hereby proclaim Leski KING.

    Breaking news: After 100 generations, scientists spontaneously develop ability to eat morons.

  310. #310 ngong
    June 25, 2008

    Schlaffly has about the same credence as some kook who insists the U.S. government come clean about aliens, or the guy who harassed Buzz Aldrin about the “moon landing hoax”.

    These fools should really get their conspiracies straight. Is it Big Science exaggerating the importance of 3 puny mutations, or fraudulent scientists massaging data to make the impossible possible?

  311. #311 Mane
    June 25, 2008

    “Lenski gives Conservapædia a lesson”

    I see what you did there. Nice touch!

  312. #312 Scyld
    June 25, 2008

    Lenski, if you’re reading this, you are now my hero.

  313. #313 arghous
    June 25, 2008

    Hey, PZ, do you need any acolytes? At the age of ten, I was an acolyte in the Lutheran church for a whole week. Do you have any candles that need lighting in your octopus lair?

  314. #314 Mrs Tilton
    June 25, 2008

    RE: awarding Dr Lenski a Molly, or else coming up with an “external” equivalent:

    I’d happily vote for Lenski if he were nominated for the OM, but maybe a second honour really is in order for those writing outside these comments boxes. It needn’t be a monthly thing: it could be an ad hoc, on-the-spot affair, awarded whenever PZ thinks it appropriate or (as here) Teh People have spoken.

    As a name, I’d suggest The Order of the Lampyridae, because people like Lenski, in sharp distinction to people like Schlafly, create light rather than heat.

    Only thing is, Lenski’s ought properly to be the second such honour, the first going to Peter Irons.

  315. #315 Aquaria
    June 25, 2008

    These fucks are to be ignored at your own peril. Chris Hedges calls the Rise of the Christian Right the most dangerous movement in the History of the US, and he’s a Protestant who doesn’t like atheists.

    I think the Confederacy was the most dangerous movement considering the fatalities, but I’ll give him second most dangerous.

    Funny, I think the Christian Right is the Confederacy in modern clothes.

  316. #316 Jors
    June 25, 2008

    Just putzing around, I went to the Conservapedia front page. There is a “Supreme Court Project” link. Hmm, what do they have to say about Ginsberg, I wonder.

    “Ginsburg called for reducing the age of consent for sexual acts to persons who are ‘less than 12 years old.’”

    WTF? About five seconds of googling turned up this: http://mediamatters.org/items/200509230007 Short answer: No, she did not. This is a clear-cut case of libel. Conservapedia should be sued.

  317. #317 JeffreyD
    June 25, 2008

    Re Mrs Tilton’s #309 and others: I quite like the idea of an “award” for non-blog folk. While I like Mrs T’s Order of the Lampyridae, I propose the Order of Prometheus for the “original” light bearer. Sadly, Lenski is also getting a little feeling of having scavengers pulling at is entrails.

    Ciao

  318. #318 Fragano Ledgister
    June 25, 2008

    Incredibly, after reading Lenski’s reply Schafly could write the following:

    The comments above by defenders of withholding data have been unsatisfactory, to say the least.

    Lenski says in his published paper: “Z.D.B. and R.E.L. [Lenski] analyzed data”[4]

    So where are all the data Lenski said he analyzed?–Aschlafly 00:27, 25 June 2008 (EDT)

    He seems to have missed the point that laboratory analysis of E. coli, means examinining bacteria in a laboratory, and the bacteria themselves, and how they have changed, constitute the data.

  319. #319 Thomas Czarny
    June 25, 2008

    Hail the Spartans! I’ll be wearing my green and white in tribute to Lenski’s work.

  320. #320 Jud
    June 25, 2008

    kcrady wrote: I must say, I got a huge kick out of the proposal that the Conservapaedians use “CSI techniques” to analyze the bacteria. What, are they expecting to find Yahweh’s fingerprints with one of those ultraviolet lights?

    Corollary to “Truth is stranger than fiction:” “ID ‘reasoning’ is stranger than any mockery thereof.”

    I believe it was Sal Cordova who first raised the idea that evidence of creation by a deity might be found in “DNA steganography,” a sort of Godly equivalent of the “Body by Fisher” logo that used to appear in General Motors automobiles.

  321. #321 Turdus
    June 25, 2008

    While reading the goings on over at Crapservopedia, I am stunned by the way that anyone who even remotely says anything the least bit negative about ID or the Disco Institute is threatened with or outright banned. The same goes for anyone who raises serious objections to what Schitfly is doing. Hilarious!!! I love watching Schitfly make a fool out of himself in public!

  322. #322 386sx
    June 25, 2008

    He seems to have missed the point that laboratory analysis of E. coli, means examinining bacteria in a laboratory, and the bacteria themselves, and how they have changed, constitute the data.

    Doesn’t matter. Just so long as Schafly can start a “missing data” rumor for all the creationist denialists to quote mine all over the place. That’s all that really matters. Schafly doesn’t give a hoot about any “data”.

  323. #323 celticfeminist
    June 25, 2008

    That is effing brilliant.

    Also, if you’re on Conservapedia (shudder), check out their entry on meerkats. Seriously. I think you’ll enjoy it.

  324. #324 darkell
    June 25, 2008

    I think Lenski made a big mistake. The response is so long there’s no way Andy Schlafly is going to be able to read it.

    Entertaining for the rest of us though.

  325. #325 Logicel
    June 25, 2008

    Lenski has bridged the gap between cuisine and writing, in bringing yumminess to writing.

    …and when something is really, really yummy in a non-sweet, sour, bitter or salty way, that’s what you’re tasting.

    taken from this link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15819485

  326. #326 Logicel
    June 25, 2008

    Lenski’s writing style is concentrated umami.

  327. #327 Bjoern Brembs
    June 25, 2008

    But perhaps because you did not bother even to read our paper, or perhaps because you aren’t very bright, you seem not to understand that we have the actual, living bacteria that exhibit the properties reported in our paper, including both the ancestral strain used to start this long-term experiment and its evolved citrate-using descendants.

    I think I just understood what “irreducibly complex” really means. It’s a fact, event or statement so simple it cannot be further simplified and yet a creationist cannot understand it, yes?

  328. #328 cipher
    June 25, 2008

    The Schlaflys provide us with strong evidence that mental illness is hereditary.

  329. #329 amk
    June 25, 2008

    I believe it was Sal Cordova who first raised the idea that evidence of creation by a deity might be found in “DNA steganography,” a sort of Godly equivalent of the “Body by Fisher” logo that used to appear in General Motors automobiles.

    Sounds like the Bible Code – but, given that DNA is actually quite long, messages are bound to be found by sheer coincidence. I suggest rationalists get in first, and find messages to “verify” Lord of the Rings.

  330. #330 Rob
    June 25, 2008

    Excellent work. An inspiration to all rational people. We can engage everyone with the truth!

  331. #331 Kseniya
    June 25, 2008

    Conservapedia is a joke, the laughing stock of the innertubes. Aschlafly should be grateful that Dr. Lenski deigns to reply to his insinuation-laden communications at all.

    Here’s a good example of Conservapedia’s priorities. I collected some stats on two entries on the site. Here’s how the numbers add up:

                    Topic A       Topic B
                    -------       -------  
    Lines                85          1348
    Words               771         23511
    Characters         5185        167479
    TOC entries                
     Main sections        5            40
     Total sections      10            81
    Graphics/Images       2            43
    See Also links        3            16
    Further Reading       0             4
    External Links        0             4
    References            8           358
    Categories            2             3

    Topic B sure looks a lot more important than Topic A, doesn’t it?

  332. Topic A: Cancer.
  333. Topic B: Homosexuality

    What a sick bunch they’ve got over there. Conservapedia is emblematic of so much of what’s wrong with the Right Wing – an obsessive, twisted sense of what’s important and a badly distorted sense of what’s real.

  • #332 Docwazoo
    June 25, 2008

    That was so good, I think I just had an orgasm!

  • #333 ngong
    June 25, 2008

    In college, I lived in a house rented out by Roger Schlafly. Roger spent long hours doing programming for Borland. He later received a tad of fame in mathematical circles by proving some theorem relating to bubbles. A good speed chess player. One of the renters was obviously effeminately gay, but Roger didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

    Anyway, Roger was always a decent guy, so I’m thinking that Schlafly syndrome is recessive, or only partially expressed.

  • #334 PZ Myers
    June 25, 2008

    Most creationists are decent people in person, so that’s no surprise. It’s only when you get them talking about their bizarre beliefs that they look foolish.

    Roger Schlafly had a long history of posting on talk.origins, and he had a reputation as an evasive and obnoxious dufus. I think Andy was worse, but neither made a good impression.

  • #335 Matt Heath
    June 25, 2008

    #327: Not skillz though. As far as can make out Phyliss Schafley was a truley effective campaigner for the forces of darkness. Assfly is a tard.

  • #336 Rogi
    June 25, 2008

    This just joined Judge Jones’ Kitzmiller decision as the most eloquent and complete put down of disingenuous and downright dishonest tactics used by ID/Creationism movement.

  • #337 Obi-Mom Kenobi
    June 25, 2008

    What a clear and concise response to willful ignorance.

    Slightly off-topic, but I would like to toss this out there though for the commenters (and readers) who equate homeschooling with extreme religion. They aren’t the same exact thing or necessarily a cause & effect situation. Seriously, Google “atheist homeschooler”. I am an atheist homeschooling mom as are several of my friends. Further, one of those homeschooling mom friends is married to a public school science teacher (primarily AP Physics) – and you wouldn’t believe some of the freakishly fact-phobic things those kids come up with in class because of their religious beliefs.

    Our children go out in public, hang out with a variety of kids with a variety of backgrounds, and aren’t afraid of strangers or strange ideas (although they also aren’t afraid to challenge strange ideas when they do find them). We moms understand and teach the reality of evolution. Please don’t lump us all together.

  • #338 everyone_can_calm_down_now
    June 25, 2008

    LENSKI IS GOD!!!!!

    oh, wait…

  • #339 kryptonic
    June 25, 2008

    Did someone say Dickipedia?

  • #340 CortxVortx
    June 25, 2008

    Re: #272

    Sweet, buttery & hot… or is that treading on the sluts territory…

    Goodness! I believe I just spilled my tea.

    Always euphemisms!

  • #341 Interrobang
    June 25, 2008

    Damn, that was good. Someone needs to sit down with Gordie Slack and go over it with him, point by point. Including the part where Lenski says he’s not writing for Schlafly’s (lack of) benefit, but for other people out there. Finally, someone else who gets the concept of bounded rhetorical spaces, and that not all speech acts have to be all things to all people! Woo-hoo!!

    Logicel, thanks for pointing out that Lenski’s also the go-to guy to find out why I think most strongly umami food tastes utterly foul

  • #342 uncle frogy
    June 25, 2008

    I read this yesterday and was surprised to see it still going on today goes to show you how good honest rational replies to dishonest negative BS can stimulate conservation.

    I think that the popularity of the CSI franchise is a good thing in a general way. Though I can’t watch more than 10 minutes in a row before I have to run screaming from the room. The shows are about the only things on popular broadcast TV that glamorize a scientific evidence based approach to reality, and in this way I think it is subversive to strictly faith based reality.
    so let them, let anyone look at the evidence, all obtained within strict guidelines to avoid any contamination and to insure objectivity. Is to do so not to accept the scientific method?

  • #343 Patricia
    June 25, 2008

    #280 – Hummm, I go for a snooze and develope a namesake that’s a Lenski worshipper…that’s odd.

  • #344 ThirtyFiveUp
    June 25, 2008

    #313 Mrs Tilton and #316 JeffreyD

    Peter Irons and Richard Lenski are definitely Pharyngulan Promethians,
    oh YES.

    PZ, let us have this award available. The public demands it, but you are forbidden to use only the initials.

  • #345 ThirtyFiveUp
    June 25, 2008

    How I long for a Cuttlefish poem. Sigh.

  • #346 Number8Dave
    June 25, 2008

    Creation Ministries International have moved into damage control mode, arguing that the mutations leading to this new property somehow represent a loss of information – see http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/5827

  • #347 JeffreyD
    June 25, 2008

    Wait! I went out for brunch and shopping and missed the hot buttered slu….er, tarts????

    How about a little warning next time, people. I get soooooooo lonely.

    Ciao y’all

  • #348 Rolan le Gargéac
    June 25, 2008

    So Intelligent Design is now evolving into Divine Potentiation? – amphiox – #259

    I saw, I came, THEE WAZ…

    Yoopi, sploooi, creati !

  • #349 Patricia
    June 25, 2008

    Sorry JefferyD slutting and strumpetry does require a lot of *manual* labor, a girl has to sleep sometime! ;)

  • #350 JeffreyD
    June 25, 2008

    Patricia, you sweet thang…want a Mojito darling? It is almost 5PM here, time to drink deep and dream of…well, things.

    Ciao

  • #351 Tulse
    June 25, 2008

    Hey, both PZ and the Schlafly idiocy get highlighted in a new New Scientist article, Creationist critics get their comeuppance. That’s a nice mention in a major mass-market publication.

  • #352 onclepsycho
    June 25, 2008

    Beautiful. I’m keeping this response as a template for dealing with idiots.

  • #353 web design company
    June 25, 2008

    Richard Lenski (MSU prof., member of National Academy of Sciences) schools Andy Schlafly (food tube/space occupier).

  • #354 AlanWCan
    June 26, 2008

    Ha, looks like someone’s mirrored conservapaedia at http://www.ignorantopedia.com :D

  • #355 'nother insomniac
    June 26, 2008

    But perhaps because you did not bother even to read our paper, or perhaps because you aren’t very bright, you seem not to understand that we have the actual, living bacteria that exhibit the properties reported in our paper, including both the ancestral strain used to start this long-term experiment and its evolved citrate-using descendants.

    Am I the only one worried some nut may try to vandalize the lab when Schlafley’s bunch finally figures this out? I hope security is good.

  • #356 Michelle
    June 26, 2008

    “Article of the year : Atheism”? My god (sorry, you know, it’s a sentence thing) I can’t wait until next year to see what is most evil to them!

  • #357 dNorrisM
    June 26, 2008

    ‘nother insomniac
    I had the same thought last night…

    I hope the UrglerBay LarmAys in his AbLay are orkingWay

  • #358 Brian
    June 27, 2008

    Bjoern Brembs:

    I think I just understood what “irreducibly complex” really means. It’s a fact, event or statement so simple it cannot be further simplified and yet a creationist cannot understand it, yes?

    Holy cow … that’s it. It all makes sense now.

  • #359 Pteryxx
    June 28, 2008

    The best praise I can offer is something rarely seen… fanart for a living scientist. The image is on my dA page, which has a chance of asking you to click through an ad.

    http://pteryxx.deviantart.com/art/Science-Class-90014587

    If anything, Dr. Lenski should get an honorable mention in AAAS’s Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award.

  • #360 Monado
    June 29, 2008

    After a moment’s thought, I translated “CSI” as Creation Science Institute. Do you guys think it means the TV show? Even with its inaccuracies, that’s probably too rational for the Conservapædia guys.

  • #361 simian
    July 1, 2008

    I have only just discovered this Conservapedia cesspool, but what kind of traffic does it get? I admit ignorance, maybe it’s a phenomenon and I’ve missed the bus… but if not, isn’t replying TWICE just going to raise these morons’ profile? On the other hand, this whole debacle (which I literally StumbledUpon) also led me to RationalWiki, so there’s certainly a good side to it as well.

  • #362 Steven Sullivan
    July 2, 2008

    I think this semi-random pull from the Lenski ‘discussion’ about says it all re: the intellectual firepower behind Conservapaedia:

    “This liberal attitude towards truth is what leads to claptrap like Particle/wave duality theory and the theory of cosmic microwave background radiation. Drochld 09:19, 28 June 2008 (EDT)”

  • #363 Kate
    July 3, 2008

    I think I’m in love.

  • #364 Jeanette Garcia
    September 14, 2008

    It’s interesting to learn that Andy Schlafly is the son of Phyllis Schlafly, wonder of wonders, a woman who would take us back to the mythical good old days when women differed to men and kept their heads bowed, not that she ever did. I fear there is no hope for her spawn.

    Lensky, is a person I can admire. He is a person with real class, a good teacher, and someone who can speak/write with clarity. The same can be said for PZ Myers, and why I keep coming back here.

  • #365 arctan
    February 7, 2010

    It’s amazing Lenski has such patience with creationists, 20 years and much work by both him and his colleagues, and naturally creationists say it’s all a fraud. Although his research probably teaches him some patience :) Maybe all people should do this kind of research for a while as a character building experience.