Lenski*: Please Don't Respond to Schlafly and Purdom

So I emerge from my grant writing burrow only to discover by way of ScienceBlogling PZ that the clowns at Answers in Genesis are pestering National Academy of Sciences member Richard Lenski about the citrate evolution in E. coli paper he co-authored.

Fortunately, Gerlach at Off Resonance does a great job fisking this creationist crapdoodle, so I don't have to. While I'm glad Lenski responded, he should cut them off at this point. The problem is that his response, which is quite sensible--he presents the data that show that contamination is not an issue among other things--does not matter to these loons.

It's not only that they're ideologically blinkered, but they are quite stupid. Take Dr. Purdom. I've dealt before with her basic ignorance--perhaps willful ignorance--regarding the evolutionary role for mutation. If Schlafly and Purdom did receive the data, no doubt they would misinterpret the data because they are spectacularly unqualified to understand them** (anyone who thinks that all mutations are 'bad' is an idiot). Then the argument would revolve around the ersatz 'scientific' controversy, as they provide an 'alterative' and incorrect explanation. Like many idiots, they're too stupid to realize that they've been beaten, so it would keep going on and on.

(Of course, the real controversy should be why are fucking morons who don't know anything about microbiology taken seriously at all?)

So, Rich, please don't send them the data beyond what you've done already. It's just a waste of your time.

*I've known him for a long time; it feels very weird to call him by his last name.

**I've also been tagged by Schlafly's brother, Roger, who apparently doesn't know the difference between genetic and phylogenetic. Another fine example of the arrogance of ignorance.

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Im doing something very similar to Lenski, except with HIV-1. Good to see how he is handling it, so I can learn. Like, Ill start scanning my ~400 pages of lab notes now :P

I've dealt with schlafly for a long time...it's not worth the electrons.

As the saying goes : "never argue with an idiot..."

By NoAstronomer (not verified) on 20 Jun 2008 #permalink

'(Of course, the real controversy should be why are fucking morons who don't know anything about microbiology taken seriously at all?)'

Right on!!!!

The talk page on Conservapedia regarding this exchange is quite interesting. There's a few wingnuts including Schlafly who are suggesting that Lenski is guilty of fraud - someone's likening it to Piltdown Man. All because Lenski hasn't responded to the ambulance-chaser's specific request for all the raw data encompassing the entire experiment. What does Schlafly think this is? A subpoena?

It's also amusing to see Schlafly trying to bait some of the more level-minded conservatives by claiming they aren't "for" "public disclosure" if they don't agree to sign on to the second letter. You're either with us, or against us.

Again, a classic example of cranks and their compulsive need to stamp irrelevant credentials on practically everything. Wow, Andy, do you really have a bachelor of engineering degree?!? And a law degree!

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that my comment here is important because, while I hold an undergraduate engineering degree, I also have Boy Scout merit badges in both fingerprinting and basketry. Ignore my posts at your peril, you gibbering simps.

By Troublesome Frog (not verified) on 21 Jun 2008 #permalink

Gerlach - that response was AWSOME!!

but you can't fix stupid, even when they're beaten they just don't get it.

There's a quote attributed to some Dr. Paley (I've not, and will not go to the original 'debate' to figure out what this hacks's a Ph.D in as it's already clear he watches waaay too much TeeVee) in the response, where the guy urges the use of "CSI" techniques to get to the bottom of the "Potentiated" bacterial strains.


I haven't had a spit-up like that in awhile (lol!!) so I have to at least give thanks for the good laff he gave, and keep the paper towels handy.


If you liked the Lenski letters check out the Conservapedia talk page of Letter to PNAS. They have sent a letter to the editor of PNAS with the concerns about the paper. The talk page is hilareous. Try to sort out who is genuine and who are just encouraging a bigger and nastier train wreck.
Sad thing is the copy to Judical Watch and some Government committee to do with science funding :(