Now, it’s true that I first heard about this on Pharyngula, but if I used my blog just to post links to all the interesting stories I’ve seen on Pharyngula, I might as well just replace all my posts with this: http://www.scienceblogs.com/pharyngula. So, instead, I’ll link you to Conservapedia.
No, don’t leave! I promise you’ll like this.
You may have heard about Dr. Richard Lenski’s discovery of the evolution of a novel trait in a laboratory strain of E. coli. You may also have heard that Andrew Schlafly of Conservapedia has made a ludicrous demand to see Dr. Lenski’s data. This despite the fact that Schlafly has no science background, no qualifications to examine the data, and has not even read Dr. Lenski’s paper.
Dr. Lenski sent a very polite reply, in which he kindly asked Mr. Schlafly to read his paper. It’s only reasonable, after all, that you should read a scientist’s paper if you intend to critique his research. Mr. Schlafly’s reply? Another demand to see the data, despite no indication that he knows what to do with it, and despite the fact that, by all accounts, he still hasn’t read the paper.
Dr. Lenski’s second reply is the real money in this piece. He’s still polite, but in this letter he’s taken on the tone of an exasperated parent, scolding a child who refuses to behave. It’s fairly long, but you simply must read it. I’ve never seen a better takedown of a creationist wingnut.
Once you’ve read it, reflect on the tagline for this exchange on the Conservapedia main page:
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.
Dr. Lenski, a professional scientist, takes all this time to write a measured response to the ludicrous demands of a creationist whackjob, and Mr. Schlafly accuses him of attitude? That’s more than my daily recommendation of irony, that is.