Saturday, October 25, 2008

She's Against Studying Fruit Flies? Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

After blogging about how Sarah Palin doesn't understand causation, I'd sort of assumed she couldn't stoop any lower on the staggering ignorance of basic scientific knowledge front. Well, I was wrong. Here she is, supposedly railing against wasteful earmarks and congressional pet projects:

Congress spends some $18 Billion for earmarks on their political pet projects. And that, right there, is more than the shortfall to fully fund [autism legislation] IDEA. Where does that earmark money end up, anyway? You guys have heard some of the examples about where these dollars go. You've heard about the bridges, you've heard about, um, some of these pet projects that really don't make a lot of sense. Sometimes these dollars go to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research, in Paris France. I kid you not."

Let's set aside the fact that her prioritization of Autism is the very definition of a pet project, even if it's a good one. And let's also ignore the fact that fruit flies have been used to study autism, so her "argument" isn't even internally consistent.

The problem here is that "fruit fly research" and "modern Biology" are basically synonymous. Famously so. Fruit flies are the single most studied organism ever, the paradigmatic "model organism" in genetics and evolutionary and developmental biology because of a combination of historical circumstance and legitimate scientific reasoning. To dismiss "fruit fly research" is to dismiss Biology. Period. Hell, they're used in such a vast variety of research that I'm not sure what it would mean to condemn their use wholesale.

She seriously could not have chosen a stupider example if she was trying. It's so stupid that the most charitable way to read her position would be as an honest attack on the theory of evolution and science in general, since the evolutionary synthesis would not have been possible without Theodosius Dobzhansky's pioneering work with fruit flies. But yeah, no, there's no way that she knows that. She’s just an idiot who wants to cut funding for fundamental research without even the most basic understanding of what she's talking about.

Even if it hadn't gotten personal, there would be no doubt in my mind: Sarah Palin can never hold national office. Never, ever, ever. Kudos to JJ for getting the vote out in SoVa. I'll be phonebanking on Sunday, but it's no substitute for going to talk to voters in an important state. Let's build a little more of this.

EDIT: Alright, that pollster chart I originally had here isn't workin that well, which is too bad because it's a beautiful picture today. That "tightening" of the polls we've been hearing about? Not so much.


  1. after this is over we should make an authoritative list of things sarah palin doesnt understand, as long as it wouldn't violate the blogger entry length limitations


    That list needs to exist.

  3. 6.54, posts like this one are the reason why even from Botswana, where most internet connections are shitty, I continue to take the time to read this blog. Good stuff. You have reaffirmed my resolution that, should the unthinkable happen and McCain wins this thing, I shall have to permanently miss my return flight to the States.

    To the Train of Thought bloggers in general, you've spent a lot of time focusing on Palin. Actually all media sources I read have been focusing on her a bit too much, if you ask me. I'd like to read something on Matt Gonzalez for a change. Or at least Joe Biden.

  4. sam- i/we just can't help it. shes the gift that absolutely refuses to keep giving. every time i open Word to write about something else i see a new palin headline and the old story goes out the window.

  5. Thanks, Sam! And yeah, it's true – I'm ready to admit to a bit of an obsession with Palin. In fact, 1/2 of the posts I'm planning has to do with her, so it's even worse than you know.

    It's just that she's so utterly and amazingly everything that I'm against in this country, in ways that are continue to surprise me. To see her floundering so horribly, to the point where she would cost John McCain a close election, makes it hard not to get carried away. But yeah, I'll try to get over it.

    (PS: Gonzales but not Clemente?!)

  6. JJ & Sam: It's also worth noting that we haven't even been covering all that we could about her – she's even worse than this blog implies. In an awesome move, Andrew Sullivan's been running a series he calls "The Odd Lies of Sarah Palin", trying to demonstrate how she's not just a liar but is weird and slightly pathological about it, which is in its upper twenties or more by now. Course, he posts something about every ten minutes.

    Still, it's probably unhealthy to hate her so much that we'll be sorry to ship her constant bumbling back to Alaska.