Andy Schlafly writes another letter

Andy Schlafly, the blinkered pudyanker at Conservapædia, has been on an impotent crusade against Richard Lenski for some time, and to his own routine self-humiliation. A while back, Schlafly wrote a petty, silly demand to Lenski that he turn over all of his data to the Conservapædians…Lenski wrote back and scorched him. Schlafly kept whining, mewling, and carping for the data (which he wouldn't know what to do with if he got it, anyway), Lenski slammed him again.

Schlafly, demonstrating the causal relationship between arrogance and incompetence, has done it once more. He wrote to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences with a letter listing his perceived gripes with the Lenski research, which he expected to be published. It's a joke. He lists experimental errors that aren't errors, statistical flaws that don't exist, and snootily denies their interpretation of the results. And, of course, he whimpers again that the data hasn't been publicly released. Once again, he openly reveals that he doesn't understand the research.

The editorial board reviewed his letter and rejected it…no surprise at all. They're also not likely to publish letters from schizophrenic hobos, random assortments of flyspecks on a sheet of urine-stained toilet paper, or the crayon scribblings of spoiled 3rd grade children who are outraged that the hot-lunch menu is inadequately stocked with pizza. Here is their reply:

A member of the Editorial Board has evaluated the letter and concluded that PNAS cannot publish it for the following reasons:
From what I take to be the underlying issue from the numbered points, Mr. Schlafly's main concern has to do with the fact that one experiment failed to yield a statistically significant result, and this happened to be the experiment with the largest sample size. Every experiment has limited power to detect a difference of any given magnitude, and so in a series of experiments some may yield non-significant results even when the null hypothesis is false. The non-significant experiment may even be the one with the largest sample size. There is nothing exceptional in this--it is a matter of chance. Nevertheless, from a statistical point of view, it is proper to combine the results of independent experiments, as Blount et al. did correctly in their original paper. If the overall result is significant, as it is in this case, then the whole series of tests is regarded as significant. Mr. Schlafly seems to suggest that experiments differing in sample size cannot be combined in an overall analysis, and if this is what he is suggesting, he is wrong.

I think Letters published in PNAS should raise points that in themselves, or in conjunction with the authors' response, should be of wide interest to the readership of PNAS or should illuminate some obscure or subtle point. The issues raised by Mr. Schlafly are neither obscure nor subtle, but are part of everyday statistical analysis at a level too elementary to need rehearsal in the pages of PNAS.

Mr. Schlafly's final comment about release of data is uncalled for. My understanding is that the authors have made the relevant materials available on their web site. This seems to me to meet the requirement that "data collected with public funds belong in the public domain." If Mr. Schlafly believes that the disclosure is incomplete, that is an issue that needs to be argued with the original funding agency, not with the readers of PNAS.

"The issues raised by Mr. Schlafly are neither obscure nor subtle, but are part of everyday statistical analysis at a level too elementary to need rehearsal in the pages of PNAS." Oh, snap.

Oh, yeah, and … "he is wrong."

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Would you believe that Andy Schlafly, head kook at Conservapædia, wrote a letter to Richard Lenski, demanding release of his data to Schlafly and his crack team of home-schooled children? Schlafly is a creationist and ideologue of the worst sort; he has no qualifications in biology, and only wants…
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Creationists and HIV Deniers, gawd bless em. So like, remember a while back when Andy Schlafly, Creationist of Conservapedia wrote PNAS demanding raw data, reagents, etc from Richard Lenski? And if Lenski refused to deliver that stuff to Schlafly (and his crack team of home schooled children) for…

The beauty of a free society is that it allows any individual to express his views.

The ugliness of a free society is that it allows any individual to express his views.

The issues raised by Mr. Schlafly are neither obscure nor subtle, but are part of everyday statistical analysis at a level too elementary to need rehearsal in the pages of PNAS.

ouch. That's going to leave a mark. Maybe one he doesn't see, but one we do.

Every time I hear his last name the Dead Kennedys come to mind.

The poor guy can't seem to take any clues. He was wrong then, he is wrong now. If he wants to convince somebody he truly needs and can properly deal with the raw data, he needs about 5 years of microbiology and/or biochemistry, which is a little beyond his meager capability.

I could just see him sitting in one of PZ's classes for about a day before he gets tossed out of school for being disruptive. :-)

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

It's a shame that a such a beautifully brutal shoot down of idiocy is wasted on such a subnormal.

On the other hand, it was entertaining reading. If only there was a government agency that could make stupidity painful. Perhaps with tasers.

Another example of the Scientific community closing ranks to protect one of their own to the detriment of a complete idiot.

By Merkin Muffley (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Smell that? That's the smell of a creationist getting burned.

I just love the smell of idiocy in the morning.

Sad that sincere scientists must spend so much time on feeding the trolls :-/

It really is true that Creationism stems from an incredible amount of ignorance and overestimation. It is the typical: "I don't understand it, so it cannot be true".

I thought for sure, and was hoping by now, that idiot Schlafly had either been raptured or committed. He would make a good publicist for Palin and Bachmann. Can you imagine the demented screeds this moron can put out to advertise those two morons to their afflicted masses? An idiot doing publicity for Fric and Frac, front page on the wacko tabloids at the supermarket check out counters. We are in the twenty first century, with spacecraft orbiting Jupiter and Saturn and their moons? Or is the country going to be in orbit with all this wacko crap going on?

Thats why ridicule,exposure,and more ridicule is the way forward with these anti-intellectual morons.

Those self-centered,smug and arrogant wannabe's really think they have the right to play with the big boys without doing the big boys' training,without learning,without studying,and cry foul when theyre told that it doesnt work that way.

I can only imagine the effort Schlafly put into his letter given the amount of time since his last. Only to have it shot down so eloquently.

"a level too elementary"

Well, I LOL'd, as the kids say.

I suppose Schafly will indeed harrass the funding agency next...

@co #10:

What else would you expect from the Ministry of Truth?

I'm sure Lensky's reaction was one of satisfied amusement. And if you're reading this, Dr. Lensky, just ignore that little twerp. Dawkins has the right approach: Don't give them the time of day because it only serves to make them feel legitimate.

And I seem to remember Dr. Myers referring to Schlafley and "his crack team of home-schooled children." File that one under epic win.

Check out Conservapedia's page on the Dark Ages.

By Alan Chapman (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

There may have been complete pwnage on this one for us. But think about the voting season right now. "Playing with big boys" is the way to look like a know-it-all dickhead. The world is full of people who think that elite is a bad word, that voting for someone smarter than them is a bad thing, and that doing what your gut tells you to do no matter the evidence is a good thing. As right as we are and as much as we can celebrate Schlaffly's moron-a-thon goonery, this will be portrayed as some new version of snobby elitism against ignorant conservatives who think they are right just because they say they believe in God.

We're right. They're just spin-masters.

Just watch. If, ye little gods of all imaginary persuasions forbid, McCain becomes the next president. Andrew Schlafly will be a member of the McCain/Palin presidency before the next four years is up. He's just the type of person Palin would love to see in her staff.

"If Mr. Schlafly believes that the disclosure is incomplete, that is an issue that needs to be argued with the original funding agency"

Nice segue into what will be the next part of the hilarious farce. Thanks for giving him ideas!

You have to wonder whether Schlafly is some sort of intellectual masochist that gets a perverse pleasure from his intellectual superiors ripping his arguments to shreds.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Some of the commenters on Conservapedia already want there to be a lawsuit against the school, funding agency, Lenski, etc., to "get all the data," to declare the experiment as fraud, and to get Lenski fired or stripped of tenure and position.

This morning I read an article a teacher friend of mine passed me about the problems a high school science teacher had with teaching evolution once it was mandated by the school board for the state. So many students were dismissive of the details, even answering test questions about evolution as "I don't believe in it," etc.

It's sad that science in this country is held back because of these utter nitwits and ignoramuses. And why is it almost always biology and seemingly no other subject? Is it the qualitative nature of the science? Or is it the extreme religious nature of those who disagree with the science?

Either way, it's depressing.

By Christopher (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Apart from this being a great chapter to the already hilarious story, I think this is one of the most awesomely-written articles I've read by PZ. Case in point, the first sentence:

Andy Schlafly, the blinkered pudyanker at Conservapædia, has been on an impotent crusade against Richard Lenski for some time, and to his own routine self-humiliation.

Well done, sir.

By info_dump (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Feynmaniac:

I doubt Schlafly is an intellectual masochist. I prefer to think he's more of a psychotic ignoramus.

Take a look at the free American Government course offered through CP at http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservapedia:American_Government_101

Besides homework being that people have to add to the topics already on CP substantially, these are "Interesting Issues in Government":

a liberal proposed that the next Democratic President add Justices to the Supreme Court. Lawful?
should Congress limit judicial review, as in ending judicial review of the Pledge of Allegiance?
postal monopoly - end exclusivity for regular mail? [someone show Schlafly a UPS letter envelope, a FedEx envelope, a DHL envelope and a Western Union letter form, please?]
conditional declarations of war by Congress - constitutional?
immigration - build a wall?
should we allow free trade with China? With countries that suppress religion?
full free speech for corporations? In advertising? In denying wrongdoing?
equal protection clause - should it protect non-citizens? apply to gender?
state discounts for residents - violate Privileges and Immunities Clause? [huh?]
Title IX: athletes' gender must be proportional to enrollment - constitutional? [there's co-ed sports with quotas now?]
should the Bill of Rights be applied against the States? [someone show Schlafly articles 9 and 10, please?]

This guy is proud of how many students pass his class and then national standardized pre-collegiate tests. I can't see how students learn anything practical is this is the type of studies he imposes on them.

By Christopher (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

@ #21
Well, the super-fundies also believe the number pi to be equal to 3, because somewhere in the bible they build a well and its diameter is one blub and the perimeter is three blubs, so 1 * pi = 3 <=> pi = 3.

But biology is the main target because biology is what attempts to take away their "crown of the creation" arrogance.

They're also not likely to publish letters from schizophrenic hobos, random assortments of flyspecks on a sheet of urine-stained toilet paper, or the crayon scribblings of spoiled 3rd grade children who are outraged that the hot-lunch menu is inadequately stocked with pizza.

Hey! That's an insult to hobos, flyspecks, and crayon-wielding 3rd graders!

BDC, thanks for the Dead Kennedy's reference. It's sad that Jello and the Boys are just as relevant now as they were in the days of Ronald McReagan. I gave my loaner copy of Gang of Four's "Entertainment" to a 21 year old friend yesterday so he could "angry himself up" for the coming election season.

If White Zombie and the rapture ready pit bull win the election, the country is sunk. Schlafly will likely become secretary of education.

By Longtime Lurker (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Seeing as Jesus is a republican, it must be infuriating to be told off by a heathen elitist organization that simply can't understand the fact that not only are you right, but also that Jesus agrees with you by default! I wonder what Schlafly would do if Lenski put a nail through a cracker?

By Michael X (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Hmmmm, I see that the self-congratulatory circle-jerk is well underway over at the Conservapaedia talk page. (in summary: "They didn't listen to my complaint! THIS PROVES A COVER-UP!!")

Well, the super-fundies also believe the number pi to be equal to 3, because somewhere in the bible they build a well and its diameter is one blub and the perimeter is three blubs, so 1 * pi = 3 pi = 3.

2nd Chronicles, Chapter 4, Verse 2: Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. (2Chr4:2 KJV)

Some fundies do a bit of handwaving and claim that there's a huge lip on this "molten sea." The 10 cubits brim to brim are between the outer parts of the lip and the 30 cubit circumference is around the inner part of the lip.

There's some pretty entertaining discussion on the Conservapedia talk page about the PNAS letter:

http://www.conservapedia.com/Talk:PNAS_Response_to_Letter

From Schlafly: "One additional beauty of the truth is that it remains the truth no how much some deny it."

Oh, the delicious irony!

There's some pretty priceless discussion in there. Wow, Conservapeida is awesome!

By info_dump (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

All the pantomime with Schlafly is obscuring just how lovely that paper is.

In short, Blount et al ("Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli,") seems to suggest that Gould was right about replaying the tape. Even in this tightly controlled experiment you don't always get the same--or even remotely similar--results when you replay.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog touching on Conway Morris's ideas of massive convergence and PZ followed up with something similar but more literate and infinitely more snotty. If Blount et al are right, then Conway Morris's world of convergence does not exist.

I think we may have witnessed an act of deicide. Conway Morris's God has bitten the dust.

I've no idea whether this is the reason why Schlafly is in such a tizz about the paper, but it would be fun to think that he was just bright enough to realize the implications.

"I love how, near the (current) end of the talk page, someone states "There is no censorship on Conservapedia."" - Co, #10

Wow, I can't wait to see what the re-write of the Conservapedia article on the National Academy of Sciences will look like when Schlafly gets through with it.

I love the fact that PNAS actually does publish criticisms and letters which are incorrect, if they are wrong for an interesting reason. Of course, paired with the response. Those make for some of the most fun and insightful things to read.

PNAS is an unfortunate acronym

It's fun laughing at these bastards.

Seriously. Keep up the good work, PZ. Until the day comes where they realize their place in the academic food chain, and they see that they are the simplest of students instead of genuine, honest scholars, we are going to need the humor.

When I read something I don't understand, I either ask someone to explain it, I research to find the answer, or I give up and convince myself that one day I will pick it up again and learn. This window-licker Schlafly does nothing of the sort. If Lenski unloaded his reasearch upon the incompetent gomer, I'm pretty sure that underused puddle of sludge between Schlafly's ears would dry up like a money-shot in direct sunlight.

Still, keep us laughing at these people. Hopefully they and their nonsense can be ridiculed into obscurity.

I don't think they should take it to the courts, the courts have not been their best friends lately.

"at a level too elementary to need rehearsal in the pages of PNAS"

Oh, hell. That's the best laugh I've had all day!! :-) What a hoot! Its a delicious choice of wording.

I know its not polite to laugh at others' errors, but seriously, if you're going to write something to a high-standing science journal common sense would tell you to run it past some scientist colleagues first. If they don't accept it, its hardly likely that the likes of PNAS would either.

You'd think a little thought would bring to mind that the scientists on the internet have already told him that...

By Heraclides (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Wow, as someone who got rid of biology class in high school asap, I started reading the paper and except for some special vocabulary that I can't possibly know, I found it exceptionally clear and well written. No wonder that kook is trying so hard to denounce Lenski and his research considering how severe this blow is to creationism.

I got banned at Conservapedia quite some time ago. I was fixing an entry about physics, and I guess I got too shirty for their taste, so they just squelched my IP# and anything like it. I am proud. Also relieved that I don't have to waste time trying to fix things on it.

Bet you didn't know that there was such a thing as Conservative Physics. Well there is. It's Physics without the Jews, Physics without women, Physics without the godless government bureaucracy giving money to pinko factulty. And no Big Bang. Very little cosmology. Quantum mechanics they aren't really sure about.

My reaction to Schlafley's letter to PNAS was that it was so poorly written as to not merit comment whatsoever. It's just not even close to how you write a letter to the editor to comment on something. The PNAS editor who wrote back was feeling generous to reply at all. I would have circular filed it immediately. And sending it "return receipt requested"? What the hell is that? It's his lawyerin' background, I'm sure. But it's one way you know you're dealing with kooks. Actual scientists don't communicate with one another that way.

By Dr. Pablito (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

@Heraclides, #35:

I seriously doubt that Schlafly has any scientist friends... or any friends at all.

By IasonOuabache (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Shoefly again?

you could have summarized your article with just the link to shoefly's latest rant, and the descriptor:

It's a joke.

without further comment.

"Until the day comes where they realize their place in the academic food chain, and they see that they are the simplest of students"... Capital Dan

******************

Thats what is so sad. I dont ever think they will realize how ignorant they really are. Until they die and nothing happens.

By druidbros (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Until they die and nothing happens.

...including realizing how ignorant they were.

:p

That was a splendid smackdown by the editorial board of PNAS. It's just a shame that the general readership of PNAS won't get to enjoy it too, unless they read PZ's blog.

I see that Schafly describes himself as Andrew Schlafly, B.S.E.. That would explain a lot. BSE is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which causes a spongy degeneration of the brain. It all makes perfect sense now.

PNAS is an unfortunate acronym : Chris @ #10

Yes, but science librarians the world over just love it for its humour value.

By David Harper (not verified) on 13 Sep 2008 #permalink

Oh I'm sure on dark nights, the realize that they may not be the infalliable Gods of might and legend, but it would be a blow to their masculinity and the masculinity of their god friend their Pastor to ever ever admit it to anyone least of all themselves.

The desperation, the delusions, stem from that need not to be wrong for their masculinity and that of their snake oil salesman.

A guy named Thom Mozloom is on C-span. He's head of something called the M network and he's talking about political ads which is great but he keeps saying "nucular".

So PLEEEEZ, google him, email his company or if you can find his address him personally. Say "Avoid talking like a public moron. The word is nyoo-klee-ar."

Thanks everyone.

I see that Schafly describes himself as Andrew Schlafly, B.S.E.. That would explain a lot. BSE is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which causes a spongy degeneration of the brain. It all makes perfect sense now.

Mad cows probably wield crayons better than Schlafly. And their piles of poo are, I presume, more interesting and less smelly that Schlafly's.

blinkered pudyanker

Just when I thought "raving fruitbat" was the weekend's winner.

Someone wrote "PNAS is an unfortunate acronym."

One of the greatest experts in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Professor Alexander Pines of the University of California at Berkeley (where they have special parking places reserved for exclusive use by Nobel Laureates, no kidding) began his career with a paper called "Proton-Enhanced Nuclear Induction Spectroscopy."

Inasamuch as my formal science education ended 60 years ago with one semester each of freshman biology and botany it may be presumptuous of me to claim vast insight into the difference between genuine science and the perverted faux science of the creationist-ID crowd, but it appears to me that the distinction is that genuine science seeks answers wherever the facts lead, while the C-IDs select a desired conclusion and then sift, distort, and, where necessary, ignore the evidence in the hope of "proving" that conclusion to be a fact. Of course what else might one expect from a creature bearing the same last name as the odious Phyllis. (With apologies to any sane Schaflys who might exist.)

I CAN spell Schlafly, I just cannot type it. Sorry about that.

Submitted it to PNAS.... excuse me while I try to stop laughing.

Wouldn't it be amusing if Schlafly found a way to drag his idiocy into the courts, only to receive a Dover Trial-style slap in the face from the presiding judge?

By The Chimp's Ra… (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

Wouldn't it be amusing if Schlafly found a way to drag his idiocy into the courts, only to receive a Dover Trial-style slap in the face from the presiding judge?

Wait for it. I wouldn't be at all surprised. When faced with the choice of believing there's a massive conspiracy against him or accepting he's making an ass of himself, this nutbar will always choose the former.

After he loses the lawsuit, there would be an appeal. After all the appeals, there would be appeals to legislators.

Note this at the bottom of Andrew Schlafly, B.S.E.'s letter:

cc:
Randy Schekman, Editor-in-Chief, PNAS, University of California at Berkeley (by email and postal mail)
New Scientist (by fax - 0171 261 6464)
Rep. Brian Baird, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology (by postal mail)
Judicial Watch (by email)

He also carefully gives his "crowd" full instructions as how to post to PNAS, including their feedback form as a bonus. I imagine the staff at PNAS are now busy tweaking their mail filters.

He also asks for a "return receipt requested". For a letter. Good grief.

Have to laugh at one comment on their website, asks about censorship and in the the reply is "There is no censorship on Conservapedia." (Others' comments seem to suggest otherwise...) This claim is immediately followed by: "Your comment is not substantive - please refactor it." :-)

By Heraclides (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

PNAS is an unfortunate acronym

It sounds great, though, when you really pronounce it as a word. Of course, the [pn] part takes some practice so it doesn't come out as [pmn]. :-)

Yes, but science librarians the world over just love it for its humour value.

Please explain. Is there "pee" and "ass" in it, or what?

Berkeley (where they have special parking places reserved for exclusive use by Nobel Laureates, no kidding)

FREE parking spaces for Nobel laureates!!! Must be why Berkeley produces so many of the latter.

Submitted it to PNAS.... excuse me while I try to stop laughing.

Oh, you're from Missouruh... now I get it! %lt;lightbulb position="above head"> :-)

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

Please do not send encouraging email to Randy Scheckman. He is a very busy man and the best thing you can do to encourage him is leave him alone.

The letters after moron Schlafly name, B.S.E., J.D. really translate as, "BULL SHIT ENHANCER, JURASSIC DUNG."

Note this at the bottom of Andrew Schlafly, B.S.E.'s letter:

Breathtaking inanity indeed!

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

@56: I'd second that most strongly--for all of the people listed there. (It never occured to me when I posted that. Not very thoughtful of me.)

PZ: Feel free to edit post 54 if you feel so inclined.

By Heraclides (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

The talk page for the PNAS reply is equally terrifying and hilarious.

"In this day and age, scientists have their own agenda and have corrupted science. Just look at global warming or cloning or stem cells as proof. With that said, the only way to get the real truth is by suing in court." jp 22:14, 12 September 2008 (EDT)

"Well said, Andy and Jpatt. It is perhaps worth pointing out that the President of the NAS is a "climate scientist". If the Academy is dominated by pseudoscience of that kind, it's hardly a surprise that their response was to cover up and deny the truth." Bugler 05:46, 13 September 2008 (EDT)

Creationism exists and runs on voluntary ignorance, lies, and willing suspension of disbelief. How else are they going to be able to believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, Noah had a Big Boat, and xianity is a religion of peace and love so if you don't let them rule over you, they will kill you.

But there is a price. They go through life carefully not thinking and learning while spouting lies with cognitive dissonance as a background. Fundies have lower per capita incomes, lower education levels, and higher social problems than the national average.

If civilization was up to them, we would still be in the Dark Ages. Schlafly is just a typical mind crippled by a wingnut Death Cult upbringing. One of millions.

Some of the commenters on Conservapedia already want there to be a lawsuit against the school, funding agency, Lenski, etc., to "get all the data," to declare the experiment as fraud, and to get Lenski fired or stripped of tenure and position.

Don't worry about them. I'm sure they are sincere. They undoubtedly would be ecstatic if Lenski was burnt at the stake for heresy. Along with a few hundred thousand other intellectuals. The Vatican has been soft on scientists ever since Galileo and Bruno.

OTOH, those people probably have trouble tying their shoes, crossing the street without their caretaker, and otherwise functioning above the level of a dog or cat. One percent of the US population is psychotic mostly SZ, 3,000,000 or so. They have to do something all day and congregating on internet sites is common. Schlafly himself doesn't seem very sane.

PNAS is an unfortunate acronym

I've heard biologists describe it as a 3rd choice for
getting their work into a fashion journal, as in:

Previously at Nature And Science

By Sean McCorkle (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

If Mr. Schlafly believes that the disclosure is incomplete, that is an issue that needs to be argued with the original funding agency, not with the readers of PNAS.

Oh no, he's gonna go make a stink and ask for his tax dollars back! Somebody warn NSF! (DARPA can take care of itself.)

By Epistaxis (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

varlo@49, well said!
Another difference is C-IDers think science proves facts; rather, it can be said to start with observed facts and deduces testable plausibilities--and tests them. When is plausible can (and does) change over time, and the observations themselves can be (and are) challenged.

I'm almost sorry the PNAS isn't going to print Schlafly's letter, along with their response.

Poor Andy Schlafly. When he went after Lenski I thought he was like a minnow with a neurotransmitter mutation that compelled him to attack sharks. Now he seems to have devolved into an amoeba with a cytoskeletal defect that compels him to send pseudopodia towards concentrations of sulfuric acid.

One man I work with is quite conservative politically. He was banned from Conservapedia because he isn't a YEC. As he told me: "You and I may disagree on gay marriage and Iraq, but that's opinion. Neither of us ignore actual facts because they don't agree with our religious views. Schlafly compares facts to his ideology and if the facts aren't ideologically pure, then they get tossed and new facts made up."

A while back, I think it was at the time of the second letter-exchange in which Schlafly had edited out the link to RationalWiki, I went to the talk page on his site. It's still disturbing to recall. It was like a glimpse into Stalin's inner circle - accusations and counter-accusations, threats of banishment, challenges to ideological purity. What was also hard to believe was that while some were daring [!] to request that Schlafly tell them which site he had edited out of the letter, none seemed even to consider the idea of just going to Google and investigating it on their own. Their leader was the only possible source of important information, and all other sources were inherently impure and untrustworthy. It sent chills down my spine.

This looks like the latest post on the talk page. I reproduce it here in case it disappears:

Okay, let's get back to basic, substantive comments. When I read the PNAS response, I don't see it being a "non-responsive explanation" or a "failure to address the five errors identified in the Letter to PNAS". What I see is a refutation of the objections raised by Aschlafly in his letter with regard to the statistics-based issues he raised. The PNAS response devotes seven sentences to explaining why the underlying statistics in the published experiment were sound, and following accepted practices. A follow-up point in the second paragraph states that the statistical misunderstanding by Aschlafly is of such a basic level that the PNAS journal is not the appropriate forum to respond with a lesson in experimental statistics to explain his misunderstanding in detail. In short, they are stating, professionally, that Aschlafly needs to learn more about experimental statistics and then re-examine his issues to see if they are, in fact, issues (which PNAS says they are not).

The PNAS response also states that their letters forum is not the appropriate place to raise objections about whether Lenski has disclosed his data or not to the public. That is a professional response as well.

What I'd suggest then, is that the appropriate response is for Aschlafly to defend the statistical analysis he used in identifying his issues, to respond to the PNAS assertion that it was erroneous. To summarize, PNAS didn't dodge a response - their response is that the analysis was flawed. Any response by Aschlafly to that assertion is up to him. --DinsdaleP 11:39, 14 September 2008 (EDT)

Retrieved from "http://www.conservapedia.com/Talk:PNAS_Response_to_Letter"

#62, Raven, that is an insult to my Huskies and cats who are quite good problem solvers. Criminal but good problem solvers. They function at quite a bit higher level then your average creationist.

Have to laugh at one comment on their website, asks about censorship and in the the reply is "There is no censorship on Conservapedia."

"And when I say that there is none, I DO MEAN that THERE IS ... a ... certain amount."

By Julie Stahlhut (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

So far in this thread dogs, cats, ameobae, pitbulls and White Zombie (most people being more familiar with the band, and not the movie whence the band name came) have been gravely insulted in this thread.

This is very distressful for those of us that are fans of cats, dogs, ameobae, pitbulls and White Zombie.

@David...

Must I really do this?

*sigh*

Please explain. Is there "pee" and "ass" in it, or what?

no.

let's just make it really obvious shall we?

Penis.

Now I feel like I'm in grade school again.

thanks.

:p

"And when I say that there is none, I DO MEAN that THERE IS ... a ... certain amount."

"But I don't want ANY spam!"

[ The insults in this thread are ] very distressful for those of us that are fans of cats, dogs, ameobae, pitbulls and White Zombie.

Well, I can see someone being fond of dogs, ameobae, pitbulls (aren't those dogs?), and zombies of any colour, be it/they a band, movie, drink, or brain-eating monster, but...cats? There are standards here!

As I remember from the original dust-up between Lenski and Schlafly, the latter was asking Lenski for all his data, including the E. coli in question, and Lenski said it couldn't be done because Schafly didn't have the appropriate facilities and permissions in place. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't such a demand constitute suborning a crime? And isn't that in itself illegal? And shouldn't Schlafly ostensibly know that?

Or am I misremembering something?

By Interrobang (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

I had a quick nose around Conservapedia after reading this entire exchange... that place really turns your blood cold. No semblance of neutrality; its all just propaganda.

It gets very entertaining when someone like Schlafly decides that there's some evidence that absolutely can't be true within his beliefsystem. It seems he's in the "fighting against windmills" phase now, give it time, and he'll go into the "this never threatened my worldview anyway" phase.

By Dutch Delight (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

Schlafly's tirade is very similar to what I see happening in comments over at real climate. There are always (no climatologist) people there trying to debate the conclusions of the strong majority of climatologists. Some are engineers, some mathmeticians, some computer programmers - none of whom are actually qualified to be raising the "issues" they are raising. Gavin must just want to pull his hair out every day but he actually continues to explain to them why their arguments/criticisms/whackaloon ideas aren't correct.

Some are engineers, some mathmeticians, some computer programmers -

sounds like a lot of the crfeationists that come around thinking they know better than the people in the actual fields associated with the subject matter..

Dunning Kruger effect

"So many students were dismissive of the details, even answering test questions about evolution as "I don't believe in it," etc."

When you hear that: "I don't believe in it", I find that the best response is to ask if there's some other scientific theory they don't believe in. Do they believe in the wave-particle duality? Do they believe in the double helicoidal structure of DNA? Do they believe in the first principle of thermodynamics? Do they have an opinion, too, on heliocentrism, which the Bible appears to disagree with? And what is their take on Gôdel's incompletude theorem from a christian point of view? Can a good Jew believe in the Standard Model during Shabbat?

Just to figure who's most arrogant: science, with all the questions, or religion, with all the (according to them) answers.

f- on that random f

And on the links to your blog. :)

In think Schafly will try a letter writing campaign against NSF/NIH, but I doubt that he would take it to court. MSU has a law school, and litigation, which he would definitely loose after a long and protracted court fight, would be very expensive.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

@David...

Must I really do this?

*sigh*

As you can see from later in the same comment, I got it in the end, but you know, it's really not trivial. It's not enough to know about the deeply bizarre English tradition of pronouncing abbreviations partially as words (like how SICB, a biology conference, is pronounced "sick bee"), you also have to know that an accent is assumed in which every single unstressed vowel is pronounced the same way -- and I had only learned a few days ago that people from Missouri stereotypically do that; before that I didn't know anyone did. I wouldn't have figured out on my own that nas and nis are supposed to sound the same.

I like "Previously in Nature And Science". I think I'll use it a lot :-)

By David Marjanović, OM (not verified) on 14 Sep 2008 #permalink

When you hear that: "I don't believe in it", I find that the best response is to ask if there's some other scientific theory they don't believe in.

The best way to deal with that is rephrase the question. What have scientists discovered, theorized, and predicted about evolution? Then when they say the don't believe in evolution it is dead wrong because it is irrelevant and that wasn't the question.

Anyone is free to believe anything and the schools can't make anyone believe anything.

But answering a scientific question with a religious response is a non sequiter.

The kids get this cultist mumbo jumbo from their parents of course. Whatever happened to teen age rebelliousness?

For the record, the user "DinsdaleP" wrote the first draft of the letter to which Andy attached his name to and sent. The reason is that Andy couldn't be bothered to actually put the whole thing together. Note that is was also DinsdaleP who contacted a biologist who might be sympathetic to Schafly's anti-evolutionary bent and help interpret the data. This former scientist declined, say that he was now busy in his ministry and had been out of the field for some time. Now, DinsdaleP is being censored in the talk pages for suggesting that the reply from the PNAS might have merit (To be fair, DinsdaleP never thought Andy's accusations had merit, I think he was just helping Andy down the garden path of self-delusion, and driven by a fragile ego). So, if you run across DinsdaleP, please thank him for keeping the entertainment going.

@ David Marjanović, OM

As not being a native speaker reading out loud (or at least pronouncing)gave me some enlightning moments while reading here. In this case it has come to
- PEENAS
- PENIS
- PEANU(T)S

...but what about Missouruh?
Tell me! I`m from Germoney!

#91 was not intented to be an insult on PNAS

yoeruek

Conservapedia scares me. Rationalwiki's "What's going on in conservapedia" page is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying.

Andrew Schlafly is a liar. It's as simple as that. He's also *terrible* at debating. If you check the history on various talk pages, his debating tactic is basically "delete the comments and ban the user" if the user's points actually make sense and make Schlafly look bad. But if the user is crap at debating, Schlafly keeps the comments there to make himself look good.
Conservapedia also claims to not censor posters. It claims to be unbiased. It claims to present "the truth". It claims to not punish users for their ideologies. It claims not to punish users for their comments made elsewhere (blogs etc...) It does *all* of these things, constantly. It's what keeps them going.

If you disagree with Andrew, you're wrong. If you explain why you disagree, you're wrong. If you provide evidence to prove that you're right and Andy's wrong, you're wrong. If you persist, you're banned, and all your comments are deleted.
They distort the facts constantly, as well as using any tired old trick they can get their hands on to further their own cause. For example, the first picture on their evolution article (which is just a collection of anti-evolution quotes) is a picture of Hitler giving a speech. All of the "hot" topics such as evolution, homosexuality, religion etc... are locked so that only sysops, who Andy picks himself, can edit them. Other users must use the "talk" page to point out errors, and then they get banned for violating Andy's 90/10 rule (i.e. 90% of your edits must be to articles and 10% in the talk pages, which is stupid to begin with because andy insists that you explain your edits in the talk pages) which andy himself and all the sysops violate.

All of this would, frankly, be absolutely hilarious were it not for one fact that honestly scares me: Andy *teaches* people. He runs classes. People send their kids to him, and go themselves, because they think he's honestly a better choice when compared to public education.

The idea of Andy teaching his frankly insane ideas (a random example off the top of my head, Andy believes that 'faith' is 100% Christian and any other religions or faiths that claim to have 'faith' are just plain wrong) to other people who consider him an authority on the topics at hand is terrifying.

Everyone I know pronounces it by the letters. Pee En A ES, PNAS.

Andy *teaches* people. He runs classes. People send their kids to him, and go themselves, because they think he's honestly a better choice when compared to public education.

The parents will get what they deserve. Worst case, mentally crippled kids unable to function in the real world, like Schlafly.

Best case. The kids wake up one day and decide that the parents and Andy are fruitbat crazy.

Sounds like child abuse to me.

Argon @90: mentions DinsdaleP :

The giant Mafia porcupine?

Dinsdale!

Oh, yeah, and ... "he is wrong."

quote miner! ...only kiddding

I hadn't been back there in a while. They stopped posting their stats on the main page, which are still about half on the subjects of homosexuality and atheism.

I suppose they think wikipedia is liberal?

Are there any non conservapaedia links to this stuff? I don't trust them one bit to keep it up there intact...

The truly frightening thing for me is that Mr A Schlafly holds a Degree in Engineering from Princeton and a Law Degree from Harvard and is a member of the New Jersey Bar. (at least thats what I can find on the web)
It is maybe possible that not everyone at Conservapedia has his best interests at heart, but its sometimes hard to tell.