[@BPSDB] Andrew Schlafly, owner of Conservapedia – the homosexuality-obsessed site whose edit history and block list provide the answer to the question “Is a wiki better than a blog for expressing your personal opinion to an audience” – has come back for another round of the Lenski Affair. Not content with the answers he got from evolutionary biologist Lenski about perceived irregularities in Lenski’s paper, Schlafly is taking the fight to the journal which published it – PNAS. Oh yes, that’s right, he’s sending them a letter (da-da DAAAAA). The text is below, between the dotted lines, following which I’ll give a commentary.
The Lenski Affair is an interesting story in how deniers work. The obvious attempt to censor parts of the supposedly unedited letters on its own site, followed by the scrubbing of the relevant discussions, tells you all you need to know.
It will be interesting to see if PNAS provides a public response. Schlafly wrote a very easily rebuttable letter, with a cc to a Congressman and to Judicial Watch (?). He apparently has no real understanding of how experiments are reported or how data is provided (i.e. in the paper!),
Some people do seem to appreciate ignorance. Reading the front page of Conservapedia is a real hoot. Check this out (Bolding mine):
We were all taught it, but it’s just another false liberal myth: that the non-Christian Vikings (Leif Ericson) reached North America before the devoutly Christian Christopher Columbus did. This is yet another attempt to deny and downplay Christian achievement by distorting history. See American History Lecture One, which will teach students what is true and false about American history.
But if you check out the American History Lesson, it says this:
Before we describe this further, however, it is necessary to note that around A.D. 1000, the Scandinavian Leif Ericson discovered Vinland where the present Newfoundland is, and even founded a small colony there, although it ultimately failed after probably a few decades of settlement. There appears to be no evidence that they settled further south, in New England: “People have been looking hard for hundreds of years and there is no archaeological evidence in this part [New England]— it’s certainly possible, the Vikings were incredible boat handlers — but there is no evidence,” observed one university history professor..
Last I checked, Newfoundland was in North America. So even Conservapedia says the discovery of North America by the non-Christian Vikings is not a myth. Even a liberal myth.
Those dirty Non-Christian Vikings. Trying to take credit away from good devoutly Christian European Christopher Columbus. Of course, good old Chris NEVER made it to North America at all, nor did he get a colony in North America up and running.
If they present their science as poorly as they discuss their history (and checking out their discussion of evolution certainly does indicate that is the case), it could make for some interesting discussions at the PNAS editorial offices.
*By the way, John Cabot is generally regarded as the first European after Leif Ericson to land in North America, probably in Newfoundland in 1497.