Richard Lenski is a microbiologist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, who holds a professorship at Michigan State University. He has been growing E. coli on glucose-limted growth media containing citrate for 20 years — over 44,000 bacterial generations and counting — to see if random mutations could lead to the evolution of E. coli strains that utilize citrate. That has apparently happened in three separate steps.
The results conflict with the creationist tendencies of contributors to Conservapedia, so they — particularly the founder, Andrew Schlafly, a lawyer with an engineering background — have demanded to see the raw data. Through his online communications, Schlafly has demonstrated willful ignorance of the underlying science and Lenski’s research program. He either hasn’t read the paper or doesn’t understand it. Lenski has thus far refused to release the data, citing Schlafly’s ignorance and mischievous intentions.
The debate is not over yet.