Rant of the Weekend

Palin gave a speech where she said this:

Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] You’ve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.

PZ Myers from Pharyngula had this to say about that:

I am appalled.

This idiot woman, this blind, shortsighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the international research community. You damn well better believe that there is research going on in animal models — what does she expect, that scientists should mutagenize human mothers and chop up baby brains for this work? — and countries like France and Germany and England and Canada and China and India and others are all respected participants in these efforts.

Yes, scientists work on fruit flies. Some of the most powerful tools in genetics and molecular biology are available in fruit flies, and these are animals that are particularly amenable to experimentation. Molecular genetics has revealed that humans share key molecules, the basic developmental toolkit, with all other animals, thanks to our shared evolutionary heritage (something else the wackaloon from Wasilla denies), and that we can use these other organisms to probe the fundamental mechanisms that underlie core processes in the formation of the nervous system — precisely the phenomena Palin claims are so important.

This is where the Republican party has ended up: supporting an ignorant buffoon who believes in the End Times and speaking in tongues while deriding some of the best and most successful strategies for scientific research. In this next election, we’ve got to choose between the 21st century rationalism and Dark Age inanity. It ought to be an easy choice.


  1. I’m sure Palin also isn’t aware that the only reason she knew about Trig’s condition when he was still in her uterus (since she chose to do ultrasounds to examine him as a fetus) is because of groundbreaking scientific work like this.
    I’m sure she also doesn’t get that perhaps one day, with a LOT of work on fruit flies and chromosomes, we may be able to not only better treat but perhaps even prevent things like Down syndrome (although this goes along the familiar umbilical-cord argument route).
    Then again, didn’t her government in Alaska order vast amounts of money to examine similarly ridiculous-sounding studies of animals?

  2. White rats.

    Why does nobody explain this by saying that fruit flies are for genetics what laboratory rats are for medicine for ages?

  3. Do remember she says these things because her, and the GOP, believe that people want to hear them. I’m not so sure she doesn’t know about the benefits of science, but blaming science for America’s problems will score votes.

  4. Just another typical display of abject ignorance from a halfwit religious zealot. Anyone who has any reasonable education has likely at least HEARD about the genetics of fruit flies.

    Those who haven’t should read James Watson’s book (but I’ll warn you – it’s lacking in the overt racism that stired up the controversy last year…unless there’s been a new chapter added).

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