Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Palin, Paris, and Fruit Flies

In what is starting to become almost tedious, Sarah Palin yet again revealed her ignorance by mocking fruit fly research, and showed her blatant political dogwhistling by mentioning it in the same sentence with "Paris", another term her Mongolian hoards hate. I'm surprised she didn't work "terrorists" in there somehow.

For the uninitiated, some of the most powerful genetic research is done with fruit flies. Of course, to someone who denies the theory of evolution, this might seem mockable, but to those of us in the real world, it is very important science. But then, as the McCain campaign has made clear with their disparaging remarks about astronomical tools and attempts to keep bears from going extinct, they care little for science that doesn't involve killing something or extracting petroleum products from the ground.

We are a society that has enjoyed the fruits of being scientifically and technologically superior to the rest of the world for so long that apparently some of us have forgotten that such a position is not a birthright, but the result of an emphasis on science in our culture. The Chinese and the Middle East both held that position in human history once as well, and both fell behind after adopting xenophobic and religiously closed-minded positions on science and research. Sarah Palin and John McCain would send us down that same path. It won't have a huge impact on us or our children, but would be felt generations from now. But I guess when you are just waiting for the rapture, such things fall from your understanding of "the public good".,

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