PZ Myers on Fruit Flies & Gov. Palin

Every time Gov. Palin opens her mouth, garbage falls out.  The latest buzz is the policy speech she gave yesterday where she tried convincing families with special needs children that if she and McCain were elected they would have an advocate in the White House.  I heard part of that speech on television last night and I’ve come to despise the sound of her voice as much as Dubya’s.  It really is like nails on a blackboard and I try tuning her out as soon as she starts speaking.

Unfortunately I wasn’t doing very well in tuning her out so I heard the inane remarks she made on the earmark that supported fruit fly research.  Take it away, Governor:

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 wasn’t having any of it and he lit into her good.  Here’s a snippet, but you really must go read the whole thing.

This idiot woman, this blind, shortsighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the international research community….

PZ is a critic of intelligent design, something near and dear to Gov. Palin’s heart.  So perhaps he was being a bit harsh with her.  Then again, maybe not!

I wonder if Palin’s science teacher father feels the same way about fruit fly research?  Here’s the thing.  I was unaware of what research Palin was referring to, as would nearly every other person listening to her speech.  She was quite vague about it after all.

But I guess I’m more curious than Ms. Palin because I started googling to find an answer.  Was the research genetically based?  I remember from the science classes I took more than 20 years ago that the common fruit fly is used for a variety of issues dealing with genetics.  Had that been the case, then Palin would have been in opposition to what she had just said with respect to being an advocate for special needs children.  Apparently when Palin talks about being an advocate for special needs children, it doesn’t include science research to learn more about the hows and whys of disease.  After all if God wanted there to be no special needs children, then he would not have allowed them to be born in the first place, right?

Anyway, it appears Palin was most likely talking about a 2008 earmark for research on the olive fruit fly, which actually isn’t being done in Paris, but in Montpellier, France.  I’m sure the speechwriters thought it carried a bigger punch if they used Paris, because we all know our hard-earned tax dollars would simply be wasted on croissants and can can shows, if it were being done in Paris.

As it turns out, the U.S. established the European Biological Control Laboratory  to deal with exotic, invasive pests in the United States, many with European origins.  The research being conducted there is to develop environmentally safe ways to control pests here in the United States.  Sounds like a program worthy of Palin’s mocking, no?

Just what this country needs.  Another person in the White House who is adversarial to the science community.


One Response to “PZ Myers on Fruit Flies & Gov. Palin”

  1. northbritain Says:

    The French fruit fly research she ridiculed concerns the Olive fruit fly Bactrocera oleae, not Drosophila sp.

    Nevertheless since the two species are close, the results of the French research may well lead to advances in understanding Drosophila and may bring similar medical advances.

    To say nothing of the damage she has done to the public perception of fruit fly research in general.

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