Blout et al.
Ah, a kindred spirit (see my user page)! Good analysis of the paper, but honestly it's not worth the effort. Many people, including myself, tried to explain some very simple concepts (particularly that the historical contingency hypothesis and associated statistics have nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not the trait evolved, but rather how it did- if mechanism A is used to explain observation B, and A is incorrect, B still happened) to Andy, but once he makes a claim he never retracts it because he either cannot fathom the idea of being wrong, or- more plausibly- lacks the self-confidence to do so. As some public-service advice from personal experience, don't get worked up over Lenski now- anything you post against it on CP will just be deleted since Andy has decreed that the entire scientific establishment is wrong and should look to him for how to perform experimental microbiology (seriously- the arguments over technique are the most amusing). It's best to stay with current issues, and while he will never, ever admit being wrong about any detail of anything, you can help reveal just how little he actually understands (such as not having not read Blout before criticizing, claiming contamination despite the presence of specific genetic markers and consistent replication, basing his statistical criticism on the name of the analysis software used- "Statistics101"- without examining its capabilities, 'never' demonstrating what the actual result should have been and denying that he needed to do that in order to substantiate his claims, not even addressing the Z-test by name until others started explaining it in detail, claiming that the Z-test was fabricated just for Lenski's purposes well after the original statistical paper was posted, claiming that Lenski used the wrong form of the Z-test when in fact he ran both forms (the combination of the previous two claims is interesting), criticizing him for using the term "marginally significant" which Andy had never heard of despite his "superior" statistical training (so it must have been wrong), requesting unspecified data of shifting definitions ranging from raw measurements to bacterial samples (ha!) to photocopies of every grad student's notebooks from the past twenty years, not comprehending the meaning and use of "confluent", wanting to know the absorbance values from every broth culture that was passaged for twenty years (seriously- he used this in his list of "omissions"), thinking that the absorbance values from every passaged broth culture would reveal any kind of useful information, thinking that he could actually interpret/make sense of/reconstruct the results of twenty years of microbiology notebook language, criticizing the reply to his PNAS letter for not being signed with the reviewer's name despite that being standard practice and clearly spelled out in the PNAS guidelines- which may have been a deliberate setup (pointing out the meaning of "anonymous review" earned me a deletion and two-week block)- and many others; those are just the ones off the top of my head). So speaking of not getting caught up in it, the point is that you won't getting anywhere bringing up the Lenski affair- just leave it behind and look for the current stuff. (As an aside, I think Andy's overtly defensive reaction to the Blout paper speaks to just how cool it really is!) Kalliumtalk 16:46, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
- Thanks for the advice and the summary (I don't think I have ever seen the full insanity of Andy's responses laid out quiet so barely - I had forgotten just how many facets there were). Don't worry, I have a good grasp on the situation, and I have been following it since the beginning. I have no illusions that anything can ever change Andy's mind. The man is insane, and he will revel in that insanity until his dying day. My main point in putting together the summary of Blount et al 2008 was to emphasize the portion about their measuring of the mutation rates, as many people seem to have overlooked that part of the paper - both supporters and critics (I also think it is worthwhile to summarize the paper again for the supporters - I have noticed that details have gotten slurred over time among some of them since it initially came out - not a good thing given how often it seems to be used in arguments). I was hoping someone would pick up on that emphasis and bring it up over on CP. I am curious as to what the reaction to it would be, or rather what the insane rationalizations would be. Though this has gone on for a long time at this point, I still find it all rather fun. What is more, and I don't want to go into the details, but I know some people in the Lenski lab, and I know that they are getting close to publishing on some parts of the genetics of Cit+. I think it is interesting to look at the state of play before that comes out and stirs everything up again. I think it is going to be quite fun to see Andy trying to understand molecular genetics enough to launch a full attack. Anyway, thanks for the recap of the insanity and the advice. I do appreciate it. And don't worry, I won't waste too much time and bitterly get sucked in. Kaalis 22:45, 15 March 2009 (EDT)
I have been watching your contributions, and I have decided the only recourse for your efforts is to make you into a sysop. This has been done in light of your lack of unfunny wandalism and your contributions. Here is your mop, reversion soap, and steel-plated BANHAMMAH. Your guide is here. JĀvąṢ₡ä₰ hi there 16:00, 16 April 2009 (EDT)