A peek above our garters to Dr. BA for this.
Dr. Richard Lenski, Hannah Professor of Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University, recently published the results of a twenty year long experiment with E. coli where he definitively demonstrated some really cool evolutionary adaptations. The results were subsequently discussed in a NewScientist article.
Among other really neat results, one of the descendant colonies of E. coli developed a mutation that enabled it to feed off citrate, part of the solution in which it was growing, while other colonies, also descended from the same parent colony, did not.
The paper is well documented and well executed by all accounts of scientists in the relevant fields who’ve read the paper. It’s elegant, it’s meticulous, and it’s conclusive.
Infamously dunderheaded creationist Andrew Schlafly, creator of Conservapedia (AKA the Idiot’s Alternative to Reality), was not about to stand for the results of said experiment. In what appears to have been an attempt to intimidate Dr. Lenski into altering his conclusion as far as I can tell, he fired off an Email, ostensibly challenging the results. Unfortunately for Schlafly, Dr. Lenski was neither intimidated nor deceived into believing that Schlafly either actually read the paper or had the faintest clue about what he was blathering.
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Dr. Lenski was very polite in his reply, and addressed all of Schlafly’s concerns and “skepticisms”.
Not content to simply take his gentle licks and return to Fantasy Land slightly bruised, Schlafly begged for more with another Email that basically ignored Dr. Lenski’s reply.
Dr. Lenski very generously consented to assist Schlafly in his masochism, and utterly eviscerated him in an Email that will go down in the annals of Greatest Internet Smackdowns of All Time.
It begins thus:
Dear Mr. Schlafly:
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.
Dr. Lenski was just winding up. He handed Schlafly his own ass on a platter with cranberries and dressing, then shoved it down Schlafly’s gluttonous throat.
He concludes the meal so (emphasis his):
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.
Then, for dessert, Dr. Lenski added four postscripts worth of apple pie with whipped creamy goodness. Must. Read.
The entire affair, while having been edited into oblivion at Conservapedia, is preserved for your viewing pleasure at RationalWiki.
Pwnage. Historic Pwnage.
From whence came the art:
That image is titled My baby E. coli, by Wearn, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 license.