When I was interviewing for grad schools in 2004, I went to rural Big Ten University and flew from NorCal. On my flight over I was a bunch of paper from professors there I wanted to meet with, mostly in the field of evomuthafukkinlution, the best goddamn field of science in TEH WERLDZ!!! I’m passionate about this shit, I mean Evomuthafukkinlution-is-my-life-don’t-fuck-with-me-brah-I-wear-Darwin-tshirts-like-everday kinda passion.
Señor Douchey McCreationist was sitting next next to me as I flew the long haul from NorCal to Big Ten U, except I didn’t know it was Señor Douchey McCreationist at first. I was a greenhorn as a senior undergrad. I didn’t know better. I had heard about these people, but lived a rather insular life in my EvoEco lab, where I avoided my classes by measuring thousands of snails. You see, I fucked with these people on the internet in the geology forums, but these IDiots hadn’t materialized in my real life. I didn’t recognize Teh Sinez!
I don’t remember the article I was reading, but it certainly had the word Evolution in the title. So Señor Douchey McCreationist is being a nosy piece of shit and decides that since we are plane buddies he’s going to waste my fucking time and get all nicey-philosodouchey christian-like on me. Well, it went something like this (sort of):
So a little bit of fucking plane etiquette! Don’t be so fucking nosy and STFU! If someone is busy doing something, pretend they aren’t there. Especially, if your intention is to provoke conversation by your goddamn worthless agenda. FUCK YOU.
What really irked me though, was that I felt I should have been a good goddamn ambassador of science or some shit like that, and I usually am. I usually try to answer people’s questions about evolution in a congenial, friendly manner. But I had less than 24 hours to read a shitload of papers to get to know the research of people who were evaluating me for grad school. In hindsight, that probably didn’t matter, but I took my interviewing seriously. I wasn’t going to surround myself with people who weren’t doing badass research. I’m in it for gold baby! So I felt a sense of failure as a scientist in 2004 when I was just beginning my post-undergrad career. But, again in hindsight, he was clearly the provocateur and was likely looking for a fight, not to enlighten his peanut sized mind.
But another lesson was learnt. Be prepared to do battle AT ALL TIMES. Know your shit, in other words. When scientists fumble addressing the public, SCIENCE LOSES.