Essay:Andrew's long-term plan

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There’s a well known saying. If you’re in a hole, stop digging. Well Andy is in a hole. As a result of the Lenski affair more people are laughing at him, and they're laughing harder. Schlafly’s critics understand that the little boy doesn’t understand science and are sure they’ve won the debate right from the start. Is he too dumb to see that he’s losing? When someone is as ”important” as Andrew Schlafly, people sometimes overestimate his intelligence. Can it possibly be that the man in charge of a big website isn’t fit to be more than a junior clerk?

Perhaps he’s smarter than he looks. Perhaps he’s trying something different. Perhaps he’s trying to undermine people’s confidence in science. He’s telling people that scientists conceal data. Ordinary people, especially Christian Fundies don’t read or hear what the scientists are saying. He knows his audience won’t find out what’s really happening. Surely that can’t be? Surely Conservapedia is far too trusworthy for that? Surely Andy is more truthful than that?

Could it be? Six months from now, Americans will be asking themselves how different President Obama is from Bush. Alternatively, Americans will be asking themselves how different President McCain is from Bush. Americans will have forgotten all about Andy Schlafly and Richard Lenski. If Schlafly succeeds, the Meme that scientists are untrustworthy will be just that bit stronger.

Conservapedia may be too much of a laughing stock: Andy’s sysops leave him. Parody websites multiply fruitfully. Hard-line creationists won’t help him and point out that they advised against confrontation with Lenski. After all, Lenski is a real scientist and his position is too strong for the creationists. However, if one effective creationist publicist takes up Schlafly’s case over Lenski, this could spread distrust of scientists. Those who fight for rationality against superstition need to stay vigilant. As of now that’s not happening.