Beneficial Mutations in Bacteria, Wherein Conservapedia is Pwned, Take II: Andy Schlafly’s Lawyer Gambit Fails

Look closely.If you want to see what happens when an intelligent, polite man meets an ideologically-driven unread boor, look no further than the continued correspondence between Andy Schlafly, pundit and bigot extraordinaire, and Dr. Richard Lenski, biologist. This little battle has become somewhat of a cause celebre, so I’m happy to revisit the debate. For those of you just joining us, here’s the story as it stands now (fuller recap on earlier developments here):

  1. Richard Lenski published a scientific study proving, again, that evolution can generate new information and beneficial mutations, thus disposing of a common creationist canard.
  2. Andy Schlafly, creationist pundit and proprietor of Conservapedia (the “trusworthy” encyclopedia) couldn’t stand science beating his beloved ideology (creationism), so he wrote Lenski and complained: “show us your data!”
  3. Lenski replied, “please read the paper, it’s all there.” My last post left off at this point.
  4. Although Schlafly could have read the paper to get the important data, Schlafly instead replied in true lawyer fashion (I can mock my profession!), dodging the issue on the merits and instead demanding that Lenski produce all twenty years of his research leading to his conclusions – i.e., an impractical amount of data – for Schlafly’s review.

There’s a trick to that last request: it’s a particularly evil modern lawyer move called “burying the opponent in discovery.” You demand that the other guy show you an impossibly large amount of vaguely important or tenuously related documents, thereby abusing notions of procedural fairness to waste everybody’s time, rack up your bills, and hopefully run the little guy out of the process if he can’t afford the cost of sending you the documents. Ideally, this trick forces settlement, thus avoiding a substantive debate that you might *gasp!* justly lose. Although Schlafly’s not billing, he presumably thought that he could claim the high ground by demanding that Lenski show him twenty years worth of data, and mocking him when he didn’t or couldn’t do so.

To be clear, real lawyers frown on this tactic: it’s immoral and against professional ethics. But that won’t stop a man like Schlafly from trying it, so demand he did. Lenski, Schlafly assumed, wouldn’t waste his time, and Andy could claim victory not because he’d won on the battlefield of ideas, but because he’d tuckered his opponent out by focusing the debate on posturing & style, instead of substance.

If that was Schlafly’s idea, it didn’t work. Lenski saw the trap and avoided it. He again replied by challenging the political paradigm into which Schlafly was trying to shoehorn the debate, demanding instead that Schlafly debate him on the scientific merits, or not at all. Lenski also played within the Schlafly paradigm insofar as necessary to defuse it: “If any such request [for production of scientific data] requires substantial time or resources… then of course I would expect the recipient to bear those costs.” There goes the lawyering trick.

In short, Andy Schlafly just lost on his own turf, and will lose in a debate on the actual science of the issue, if he chooses to engage in one. Don’t expect him to do so, though. Expect a few more tricks that will just make us good lawyers look bad.

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71 comments

  1. Barikada · ·

    Site’s down, mate. Letter’s been reposted over at http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Conservapedia_Talk:What_is_going_on_at_CP%3F#Lenski_Letter

    Cheers!

  2. AKjeldsen · ·

    So what you’re saying is that this is not so much a case of Conservative [[Deceit]] as of Lawyer [[Deceit]]? ;-)

  3. Totally! It’s lawyer [[deceit]] in service of creationist deceit.

  4. Of course that dirty lawyer tactic can backfire when at the opposing party’s expense the material is produced in such a quantity as to bury the opposing party in an attempt to figure out what is pertinent.

  5. I would’ve loved for Lenski to provide Schlafly with 20 years worth of data and let him paddle through it.

  6. Why is that people who thump their Bibles the hardest, and proclaim its contents inerrant the loudest, are the first to ignore the simplest tenets therein?

  7. That’s why their called “zealots”, I believe.

  8. “Their”? I meant they’re. Whoops!

  9. If Andy Schlafly thinks he has problems:

    Over at Carl Zimmer’s “The Loom” blog, a principal investigator who co-authored the paper, Zachary Blount, is refusing to give straight consistent answers to my simple, basic questions about the experiment, i.e., (1) Whether evolution of citrate-eating (Cit+) bacteria was a goal of the experiment and (2) whether the purpose or one of the purposes of the glucose-cycling (alternating glucose feeding and glucose starvation) was to favor Cit+ evolution. See the following comment and preceding comments on “The Loom” blog –
    http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2008/06/02/a_new_step_in_evolution.php#comment-946973

  10. That last link does not work right. The comment is Comment #309 under the following article –
    http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2008/06/02/a_new_step_in_evolution.php

  11. Mr Christopher · ·

    Larry, shut up. Seriously. You’re mental.

  12. Ooops. Had typos. Don’t write posts at 1 AM, kids.

  13. Jagannath · ·

    Larry, did you read the paper before asking?

  14. It is wonderfully appropriate that Larry Fafarman should show up at a blog post where the topic is abuse of process.

    You know how hard it is to get banned from Wikipedia?

  15. [...] science of evolution vs. faith in creation Printed at Conservapedia (Yes, and if you click here, and then here, you’ll understand why) in a letter from Michael Lenski, a real biologist, to [...]

  16. Needs more science.

  17. [...] more on this, see here and here. If you’re interested in seeing the kind of people Shclafly panders to, check out the [...]

  18. Larry, he already provided the answer to your question in his very first post directed at you (post #122).
    1. No
    2. No

    Quite specifically he stated that the evolution of Cit+ eating bacteria was not a goal of the experiment.

    But I must say that your whining of having to read 8 (EIGHT! THE HORROR!) whole pages (whole pages! Oh no!) of fine print (and small letters, is their no mercy on this world!) did make me laugh.

  19. Larry F is back again in another zany adventure!

    “Zachary Blount, is refusing to give straight consistent answers to my simple, basic questions about the experiment.”

    Translation:
    “Knowing that attempting to argue with me was akin to wrestling a pig, Zachary Blount refused to waste his valuable time responding to my ignorant, petty, and pedantic concern-trolling.”

    Don’t stop, though. It’s people like you who make the internet the interesting place it is (though this is neither the time nor place for recriminations).

    I’m thinking about starting a pool called “Where can Larry Farfarman get banned from next?”

  20. Tomk80 said,
    – ‘Quite specifically he stated that the evolution of Cit+ eating bacteria was not a goal of the experiment. “–

    His answers to that question were ambiguous and inconsistent — see comment #150. And he never answered the question of whether a purpose of the glucose cycling was to favor Cit+ evolution.

  21. Heraclides · ·

    “You demand that the other guy show you an impossibly large amount of vaguely important or tenuously related documents, thereby abusing notions of procedural fairness to waste everybody’s time, rack up your bills, and hopefully run the little guy out of the process if he can’t afford the cost of sending you the documents.”

    Ms. Seidel’s story might interest you if you haven’t already run into it: http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/164/ She’s a “small player” who was faced with this exact thing and persisted in having the lawyer punished for it. And won, it seems.

    (It has been rather widely spread around scientific blogs so I’m guessing you’ve already seen it, but just in case…)

    Larry, according to Lenski’s reply Zachary Blount is a doctoral student. Generally for students, its the lab head who is the PI on the grant.

    Also, no-one has to answer a question in a blog or whatnot. I frequently don’t answer if I decide its not worth the effort for a whole host of reasons.

  22. Larry,

    There is no inconsistency in the answers given by Zachary. A possibility of something happening is not the same as a goal of something happening. This directly answers your second questions as well. Was the goal of glucose starvation the evolution of citrate eating bacteria? Answer: no.

    Others already answered your questions on what the goal of glucose starvation was.

  23. Heraclides said,
    –”Larry, according to Lenski’s reply Zachary Blount is a doctoral student. Generally for students, its the lab head who is the PI on the grant. “–

    I didn’t say that Zachary Blount was “the” principal investigator — I said that he was “a” principal investigator. He was listed as lead author of the paper.

    –”Also, no-one has to answer a question in a blog or whatnot. “–

    He answered questions that were far more difficult than mine.

    And as the saying goes, “if you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.”

    Tomk80 said,

    –”Larry,

    There is no inconsistency in the answers given by Zachary. A possibility of something happening is not the same as a goal of something happening. “–

    A “goal” does not have to be a sure result. In searches for the Lost Dutchman Mine or the ivory-billed woodpecker, finding them are “goals.”

    –”Others already answered your questions on what the goal of glucose starvation was.”–

    No, I didn’t get a straight answer to that question. One commenter called it just an “environmental stressor.”

    “I’m from Missouri — you’ll have to show me.”
    – Willard Duncan Vandiver, US Congressman from Missouri

    “I’m always kicking their butts — that’s why they don’t like me.”
    – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

  24. Luis Dias · ·

    Larry, you’re no Swarzennegger. You’re a dumbass troll. Go please yourself out of the internet. Your smell is nauseating.

  25. Heraclides · ·

    Reading your post, I guess you think you’re the master of the sidestep.

    In my experience (in biology), ‘PI’ usually refers to the principle investigator on the grants funding the work and the term ‘principle author’ is more commonly used to refer to the “main” author(s).

    His not answering may (is likely to) have nothing to do with the question itself, as most people will realise.

    I pointed out I sometimes don’t answer for a whole host of reasons. Some reasons in the past have included that it became clear the person asking the questions was: a crackpot, being dishonest or disengenious, just being a troll, and so on. Nothing to do with question itself…

    I find often that people making out that they aren’t getting a reply because of their question itself, are just trying to claim a false “victory by default”. (Reminds me of Mugabe and the Zimbabwe elections, for some reason.) Sorry, but I’ve seen this one before, so I’m not buying and I doubt anyone else will either.

  26. Larry

    “A “goal” does not have to be a sure result. In searches for the Lost Dutchman Mine or the ivory-billed woodpecker, finding them are “goals.””

    But it needs to be an intended result. In this case, the evolution of citrate digestion was not an intended result.

    “No, I didn’t get a straight answer to that question. One commenter called it just an “environmental stressor.””

    Which was a straight answer. What is the goal of glucose starvation? The goal is to provide an environmental stressor. Can’t get more straight as an answer than that.

  27. [...] A Candid World blog gives a nice summary of how particularly nasty Schlafly’s gambit is. You can read it here. [...]

  28. The trolls are out in force today.

    Heraclides –

    OK, so maybe I didn’t use the officially correct term — so I’ll call him the principal author instead of a principal investigator (BTW, it is spelled “principal,” not “principle”)

    –”His not answering may (is likely to) have nothing to do with the question itself, as most people will realise. “–

    You are so full of living crap that it is coming out your ears. If it is a reasonable question, then he ought to answer it, regardless of who asked it.

    Tomk80 said,

    –”But it needs to be an intended result. In this case, the evolution of citrate digestion was not an intended result. “–

    Wrong — “intent” is not part of the definition of “goal.” People whose goals are to find the Lost Dutchman Mine and the ivory-billed woodpecker do not “intend” to find them. A sports team “tries” to score a goal, not “intends” to score a goal. “Intent” only refers to what actions one plans to take.

    –”One commenter called it just an ‘environmental stressor.’

    Which was a straight answer. What is the goal of glucose starvation? The goal is to provide an environmental stressor.”–

    No, it is not a straight answer — it is a vague answer. “Environmental stressors” act in different ways — for example, ionizing radiation tends to cause mutations and glucose starvation in this experiment tends to cause artificial selection (the equivalent of natural selection in the wild). And the correct statement is “the purpose (of glucose starvation) is to provide an environmental stressor,” not “the goal is to provide an environmental stressor.” You don’t understand the meanings of plain, everyday English words.

    Luis Dias barfed,

    –”Larry, you’re no Swarzennegger. You’re a dumbass troll. “–

    Bingo! Like the quote said, “I’m always kicking their butts — that’s why they don’t like me.”

  29. Larry:
    “Wrong — “intent” is not part of the definition of “goal.” People whose goals are to find the Lost Dutchman Mine and the ivory-billed woodpecker do not “intend” to find them. A sports team “tries” to score a goal, not “intends” to score a goal. “Intent” only refers to what actions one plans to take.”
    People whose goals are to find the lost Dutchman do have the intention of finding it. That is the whole point of a goal. They do not go out for the intent of the trip, or for the intent to see some nice scenery. Their intent is to find that mine. That is what a goal specifies, that thing that you intent to achieve.

    “No, it is not a straight answer — it is a vague answer. “Environmental stressors” act in different ways — for example, ionizing radiation tends to cause mutations and glucose starvation in this experiment tends to cause artificial selection (the equivalent of natural selection in the wild). And the correct statement is “the purpose (of glucose starvation) is to provide an environmental stressor,” not “the goal is to provide an environmental stressor.” You don’t understand the meanings of plain, everyday English words.”
    The meaning of both sentences are similar. There is nothing wrong with my english. And the statement is not vague. The nature of the stressor clearly stems from the description of it: “glucose starvation”. The goal of it is also clear, provide a selection mechanism, a stressor.

  30. Larry said:

    “I didn’t say that Zachary Blount was “the” principal investigator — I said that he was “a” principal investigator. He was listed as lead author of the paper.”

    Larry, “principal investigator” has a specific meaning–it refers to the individual or individuals who originated a research program and who obtained the funding. In biology, the lead author on a paper is generally not a principal investigator. It is usually the junior investigator–typically a student or postdoc–who carried out the experimental procedures under the direction of the principal investigator(s).

  31. AHA! I’ve got it! This will make you lousy trolls look like the world’s biggest dunghills!

    Suppose a committee is considering this research for an award or a prize and asks the researchers the same questions I asked: (1) Was Cit+ evolution a goal of the experiment and (2) was favoring Cit+ evolution a purpose of the glucose cycling? Is that jackass Zachary Blount going to answer, “No, it was not a goal — it was just an unforeseen accident. We don’t deserve any credit for it.”

    BTW, was this experiment funded research? If so, what does the research proposal for this experiment say about my questions?

  32. [...] with Dr. Richard Lenski, I’d like to point out that while Schlafly’s use of sketchy lawyering tactics in that debate may be the latest iteration of that trend, it’s by no means the first time [...]\

    Update: this self-trackback should link here.

  33. Larry, you can cut the insults. I have not insulted you, so there is no reason for you to insult me, nor is there any reason to use insulting language in the direction of people like Zachary Blount, who isn’t even here to defend himself against it. It is uncalled for and doesn’t serve any purpose.

    So let’s play your game, what if a prize committee would ask those questions:

    ” (1) Was Cit+ evolution a goal of the experiment”
    Answer: No, the goal of the experiment was to document the occurrence and patterns of spreading of beneficial mutations in e-coli and to be able to trace these back in ancestral populations. The Cit+ evolution falls amongst these, but other beneficial mutations have already been reported on in the past.

    [quote] (2) was favoring Cit+ evolution a purpose of the glucose cycling?[/quote]
    No, favoring Cit+ evolution was not a purpose of the glucose cycling. The purpose was to select any beneficial mutations for e-coli, not specifically cit+.

    [quote]“No, it was not a goal — it was just an unforeseen accident. We don’t deserve any credit for it.”[/quote]
    They do deserve credit for the work they have put in. 20 years of work deserves quite a lot of credit. Note that the reason that they could do what they have done is the preservation of 20 years of cell-lines. If their experiment should be judged on effort and elegance, the prize would be theirs.

    Not to mention that quite a lot of prizes have gone to accidental discoveries.

    [quote]BTW, was this experiment funded research? If so, what does the research proposal for this experiment say about my questions?[/quote]
    Look it up, why don’t you? Most likely it states as a goal investigating the patterns of occurrence and propagation of mutations in e-coli.

  34. [...] Long story short: Schlafly and Lenski corresponded; Schlafly got owned; Conservapedia has repeatedly crashed under the weight of e-gawkers.  (Here’s a decent summary.) [...]

  35. Larry writes:

    ‘Suppose a committee is considering this research for an award or a prize and asks the researchers the same questions I asked: (1) Was Cit+ evolution a goal of the experiment and (2) was favoring Cit+ evolution a purpose of the glucose cycling? Is that jackass Zachary Blount going to answer, “No, it was not a goal — it was just an unforeseen accident. We don’t deserve any credit for it.”’

    I suppose that you imagine that you are being very clever here, but you are so transparent that it is rather pathetic. Clearly, your own “goal” is to set up a false dichotomy by insisting that the emergence of the Cit+ trait must be either a specific goal (in which case you can insist that it was ‘guided,’ and thus not ‘really’ evolution) or else it was a complete accident (and thus the experimenters deserve no credit).

    Your rather clumsy attempt to use a rhetorical fallacy aside, it is quite clear that evolving the Ci+ trait was not a specific goal of the experiment, but the outcome falls within the general goals of the project, which were to study the evolution of traits that produced optimized growth under particular environmental circumstances. The investigators did not know or plan how the bacteria would be able to achieve this, but set up the experiment so that there was evolutionary pressure favoring appearance of traits that achieved this end. So the investigators deserve credit for the discovery design, which made it possible to identify such traits and (due to storing culture samples every few generations) to reconstruct in detail the specific genetic events behind the evolution of such traits. They also deserve credit for using these methods to identify the evolutionary basis of the emergence of the Cit+ trait. As the scientific adage goes, “chance favors the prepared mind.” Most of the greatest discoveries have an element of serendipity; the credit that goes to the discoverers is for having the intellectual ability and preparation to recognize and understand an important outcome

  36. Heraclides · ·

    Larry,

    Excuse the mispelling, that’s what I get for posting in the wee hours…

    As for the rest of your reply to me:

    1. Misuse of terms shows up the bluff of trying to make out that you’re knowledge in an area when you’re obviously not.

    2. Rudeness is on reason not to reply (re: “you’re so full of…”)

    trrll: My original wording re PIs was so similar to yours for a moment I thought I’d accidentally double posted! Thanks for backing it up.

  37. Tomk80 said,
    –”I have not insulted you, so there is no reason for you to insult me, nor is there any reason to use insulting language in the direction of people like Zachary Blount, who isn’t even here to defend himself against it.”–

    Zachary can defend himself here, but I cannot defend myself on Carl Zimmer’s “The Loom” blog because I was kicked off for calling Zachary an “evasive jerk,” which he is.

    trrll said,
    –” Clearly, your own “goal” is to set up a false dichotomy”–

    No, that was not my goal. My goal was to show the asininity of Zachary’s refusal to answer my questions.

    –”it is quite clear that evolving the Ci+ trait was not a specific goal of the experiment, but the outcome falls within the general goals of the project “–

    No, that is not clear at all. I was trying to find out if Cit+ evolution was a specific goal of the experiment, and did not get a straight answer. And as I said, a goal does not have to be a sure result.

    –”The investigators did not know or plan how the bacteria would be able to achieve this, but set up the experiment so that there was evolutionary pressure favoring appearance of traits that achieved this end.”–

    I asked if a purpose or one of the purposes of the glucose cycling (giving the bacteria an insufficient glucose supply so as to cause alternating glucose feeding and glucose starvation) was to create “evolutionary pressure” favoring Cit+ evolution, and I never got an answer.

    –”They also deserve credit for using these methods to identify the evolutionary basis of the emergence of the Cit+ trait.”–

    When they refuse to answer simple, basic questions about the research, they deserve nothing.

  38. Hey, folks. Please don’t feed the Larrys.

    Whenever someone bludgeons his argument to death with an exhaustive proof. Larry then pops up with another rambling comment that usually begins with “But you didn’t answer my question: I asked [insert repeated, slightly modified, or entirely new question here].

    He usually starts throwing insults around from about his second comment onward, then saying he hasn’t insulted anyone, or possibly that “they started it.”

    He requires no input from the real world. He gets all the answers he needs from the voices in his head. Best to leave him alone to work it all out in there.

    Larry: when you constantly engage in duck and swerve argumentation, when you persistently attack people who tell you that your question has already been answered and would you please stand down, and when you then go on about how uncivil everyone is, then YOU deserve nothing.

    You got an answer to your question, Larry. You can’t keep on asking it until the facts fit your views. You’re intellectually dishonest and you argue in bad faith.

  39. [...] Long version here, or here, or here. [...]

  40. –”You got an answer to your question, Larry. “–

    There is a big difference between bad answers and good answers, you stupid fathead.

  41. Larry, watch the ad homs. You’re not gonna make any friends with those.

  42. Heraclides barfed,

    –”1. Misuse of terms shows up the bluff of trying to make out that you’re knowledge (sic) in an area when you’re obviously not. “–

    How is that, bozo? Just because I used the term “principal investigator” in a way that you didn’t like? You stupid trolls don’t even know what the word “goal” means. I said that since you didn’t like the way I used the term “PI,” I wasn’t going to use it that way anymore!

    What a jerk.

  43. Heraclides · ·

    “What a jerk.”

    Keep describing yourself. You’re making a wonderful impression on everyone ;-)

    (I’d didn’t “barf” at all: I referred to the underlying reason why you originally used the term.)

    Have fun talking to yourself, I’m moving on. Another reason not to reply: posters throwing empty brickbrats ;-)

  44. When responding to jerks, abusive language helps me get my points across.

    –”I’m moving on.”–

    Good riddance.

  45. Larry, since you cannot respond in a decent way, I see no point in continuing this discussion with you. Whenever you feel you are able to respond without calling people names, especially people you have never met nor have had any prior contact with, I’ll be happy to discuss these issues with you.

  46. Larry, I agree with your detractors, I’m sorry to say :-(

    Also, if you want to hear more on Schlafly and his evil lawyering, there’s a new post today.

  47. “… abusive language helps me get my points across.”

    Larry thinks that a) abuse is a legitimate form of discussion, and b) that he has a point. How … er … interesting.

  48. Ames said,

    –”Larry, I agree with your detractors,”–

    What is there to agree with? I showed that Zachary Blount did not give a straight answer to my question of whether Cit+ evolution was a goal of the experiment (again, a goal does not have to be a sure result), and gave no answer at all to my question of whether favoring Cit+ evolution was a purpose of the glucose cycling. He has no credibility.

    “So I’m the bad guy? How did that happen?”
    D-Fens in the movie “Falling Down”

  49. Marion Delgado · ·

    If the evolution of creationism (From No Change to Flood Did It to Young Earth Creationism to Old Earth Creationism to Intelligent Design to Challenge Evolution) were columbiform evolutionary development, Larry Fafarman would be a dodo. And I believe most of the flock would agree with that estimate.

  50. Please don’t insult dodos like that, Martin!

  51. Ahem.

    As you have all noticed by now, a conversation with Larry Fafarman is somewhat more frustrating than trying to snag one of those stuffed animals with the little crane, but it doesn’t cost you a quarter:

    Larry Fafarman: What day is it?

    Fafarman’s Interlocutor: It’s Tuesday.

    LF: I demand that you answer my question. I want to know the day of the week!

    FI: I did answer you. I said it’s Tuesday.

    LF: Why can’t you give me a straight answer, you dunghill?

    FI: It’s Tuesday, dammit!.

    LF: Cursing will not help your case, you lousy troll. If you don’t know the day of the week, just say so.

    FI: IT IS TUESDAY. Stop pretending not to understand me.

    LF: The asininity of your response puts you in league with that jackass Zachary Blount, you stupid fathead.

    FI: God, are you a dodo.

    LF: Oh, now with the ad homs, is it? Your frustration shows that I am kicking your ass, you lousy troll stupid fathead jerk! Now I demand again that you tell me the day of the week, and without any evasions this time, jackass!

    FI: It’s Wednesday.

    LF: AHA! I predicted it! You can’t even be consistent! Just a while ago you said it was Tuesday!

    FI: When we started this discussion, it was Tuesday.

    Etc., etc., ad nauseam.
    This is why Fafarman is fairly quickly banned from every blog he frequents.

    Is there a user-controlled solution? There is — but sadly, it does not yet seem to work on this blog.
    It’s called killfile.
    If any of you know of a more generally useful script, please say so.

  52. Right interesting note: our buddy larry has already been given special user rights at conservapedia. He’s already won andy’s approval, and that should tell you all you need to know about him!!!

    Note: Conservapedia is seriously dying. They’re scaring away even their sysops at this point. If larry stays the course he could make administrator inside of a week.

  53. Ames, can ya point me to the user rights log of this horror?

  54. on iPhone only, can’t link… But check LarryFarma in the user rights log.

  55. There is a good name for the practice of sending people on wild goose chases through reams of literature — it is called “bibliography bluffing.”

  56. Larry:

    What on earth was that last comment about?

  57. @jre
    Your succinct upsumming of Farfarversation caused coffee to be deposited on my keyboard.

    Larry, actually going on a “wild goose chase through the realms of literature” is known as research.

    For us laypeople, various good-minded scientist types can translate the reams into something meaningful.

    Assuming you’re willing to use an open mind (although not so open that the wind blows through) and cross-check references–as well as use critical thinking to select your literature, your quest need’t be a wild anything chase but a rewarding adventure.

    As to bluffing, well there’s certainly some of that connected to this post: I think Schlafly’s claim to have a right to data that he hasn’t the education, mental equipment, nor intent to understand looks a lot like bluffing.

    The trouble is that you can bluff with a bad hand, but Schlafly’s bluffing with no cards.

  58. Marion Delgado · ·

    BTW Conservapaeia is not bad for what it is, a kind of glue-and-paste-over-the-weekend project for fundie homeschool CHILDREN, let me emphasize. Unpaid kids assigned to do “Left Behind” polemics.

    The sin is in those who take it seriously as a competitor to either regular or open source web encyclopedias, is all. If Andy Schlafly were honest and sane, it would have been called “Creation Wiki” and no one could fault them.

  59. [...] PWNAGE with extra awesome sauce 2008 June 27, Friday, 18:00 — monado The wooden-headed Andy Schafly has taken a verbal spanking from researcher Richard Lenski, author of a recent, peer-reviewed paper describing macroevolution in E. coli bacteria. There’s a summary of the action up til now at Submitted to a Candid World: Beneficial mutations…. [...]

  60. Radioactive afikomen:

    –”Larry:

    What on earth was that last comment about? “–

    Zachary Blount answered my simple, basic questions by telling me to read the literature — that’s called “bibliography bluffing.”

    Nothing in the literature could change the fact that Blount posted ambiguous and inconsistent statements on Carl Zimmer’s blog and refused to answer simple, basic questions.

  61. Uhhh, demanding that you read what you’re critiquing before you critique it isn’t a bluff, or a strategy. It’s just an assumption in polite academic circles, apparently one that you don’t adhere to.

  62. Ames said,

    –”Uhhh, demanding that you read what you’re critiquing before you critique it isn’t a bluff, or a strategy. “–

    Uhhh, I wasn’t critiquing anything. I was just asking simple, basic questions.

    –”It’s just an assumption in polite academic circles, apparently one that you don’t adhere to. “–

    Another assumption in polite academic circles is that you don’t falsely accuse someone of something he didn’t do.

  63. Larry: “Another assumption in polite academic circles is that you don’t falsely accuse someone of something he didn’t do.”

    So, Larry, when’re ya gonna get to taking that wonderful bit of your own advice?

  64. [...] with his latest defeat – the utter rejection of his complaints about a study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that demonstrated “positive” evolution & creation of new [...]

  65. Voice in the Wilderness · ·

    Larry “Dunghill” Fafarman states:

    “Zachary can defend himself here, but I cannot defend myself on Carl Zimmer’s “The Loom” blog because I was kicked off for calling Zachary an “evasive jerk,” which he is.”

    Others cannot defend themselves on either of your blogs. First is “I’m From Missouri”, otherwise known as Larry’s Cry Room, now contains only comments from two of Larry’s sock puppets, and the “Association of Non-Censoring Bloggers”, an organization with no members. Both are totally monitored and everything that disagrees with you is censored.

  66. Seems thats all the argument was about – Beneficial mutations lost the focus. There likely are no beneficial mutations in terms of evolving into a more useful organism, although the question is “what is useful”.

  67. “For us laypeople, various good-minded scientist types can translate the reams into something meaningful.”

    Yes – The “scientists” publish a lot of marterials all the time that go to the best sellers list to make a living. I assume they feel we “laymen” are able to understand the theories.

  68. [...] out about the work of Richard Lenski’s team a couple of years back, especially when he was harangued by a creationist who tried to sue him over the data he reported. So, this isn’t breaking news in science, but [...]

  69. schlafly is a creationist cunt.

  70. [...] because if it does not evolve from a single bacteria it does not meet the description you posted. Beneficial Mutations in Bacteria, Wherein Conservapedia is Pwned, Take II: Andy Schlafly’s Law… Richard Lenski published a scientific study proving, again, that evolution can generate new [...]

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