This morning, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) gave her first policy speech urging the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), “a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.” In the speech, Palin cited the need to do more for children with disabilities such as autism:
For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information. Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference.
Palin claimed that the amount that Congress spends on earmarks “is more than the shortfall to fully fund IDEA.” She then ridiculed some of the projects — such as “fruit fly research” — saying they have little or no value:
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.
So instead, I'll let Dr. P.Z. Myers speak my mind: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. To be frank, I am far from surprised - because that is how intellectual sloth-afflicted primitive minds think - of which Sarah Stillson Palin constitutes a "fine" example:It never ceases to amaze me to what levels of utter irrationality the fundamentalists, neocons and other right-wing madhaters are willing to descend into.
They lie, they misrepresent, they use decoy arguments and make ad hominem attacks. For them, the use of duplicity, of secrecy, of arguments of (non-existent) conspiracy, of fact (and non-fact) selectivity/cherry-picking, of quacks/fake experts, as well as putting forth logical fallacies, are simply means to an end.
And this "end" is the following: to promulgate, support and defend their beliefs or their ideologies.
Truth be told: these are the only things that truly matter to them.
Why else would they try to censor science, attempt to control it, seek to falsify it or rewrite it, quietly hide it, brazenly deny funding for it, attempt to change its mission/purpose, actually lie about it, use spin games to deny it, go to great lenghts to confuse people about it, attempt to dismiss it as a matter of differing beliefs or philosophies, or go as far as to demonize it?
Why else would they use the politics of fear, ignorance and lies? Now, here's why they do so:(...) the fundamentalists, neocons and other right-wing madhaters are very much alike the people from the allegory of the cave, and somehow made flesh and blood.
They are indeed living in a cave, their backs to the entrance while facing the sunlit cave wall, seeing only shadows of reality. And it is from watching these two-dimensional shadows that they construct myths and stories to comfort themselves - because they not only fear the shadows that they see, but they also fear even more what these shadows represent.
Thus, they find themselves frightened to the deepest levels of their fragile souls by the glorious truth of the multi-dimensional reality in which we live, whenever they get out of their cave. Their intellectual sloth-driven, ignorant and fearful minds simply can not, or flatly refuse, to comprehend it.
That is why their beliefs and ideologies are not only parochial, but adamantly intractable.
Consequently, at the end of each day, the fundamentalists, neocons and other right-wing madhaters return to the safety and comfort of their cave, vowing to say and do everything in order to transform our multi-dimensional reality into the simpler, two-dimensional one made of shadows that they are accustomed to.
Hence, my conclusion is that the fundamentalists, neocons and other right-wing madhaters are the same ignorant, fearful and surperstitious primitives that our ancestors were, thousands upon thousands of years ago - except that they now use newspapers, magazines, television, radio, politics, and the internet, to spread their intellectual sloth-driven non-understanding of the world and, consequently, working hard at bringing us down to their level of ignorance. To which I add: that, coupled to their pathetic inhability to accept - or deal with - reality, along with their typical shameless hypocrisy in trying to justify any and all duplicity on their part in the face of whatever self-deluded moral ground du jour that they claim, make them not only nothing more than primitive minds, but utter incompetent modern human beings as well.
The result is the fierce undercurrent of anti-intellectualism, anti-science and tribalist-racism that bubbles up increasingly to the surface (especially thanks to the recent strategy of the McCain-Palin campaign), despite these modern, scientific and technological times of ours. It's what I've come to call our "Semi-Dark Ages". A few cases in point:Congressman Rohrabacher's Floor Speech on Global Warming: "(Are we to believe) buffalo farts have more socially redeeming value than the same flatulence emitted by cattle?"
Bachmann Calls For McCarthyite Investigation Into Anti-American Activities Of Liberals;
Sarah Palin Says She Open To Teaching Creationism In Public Schools;
Palin Claimed Dinosaurs And People Coexisted;
Palin Explains What Parts Of Country Not "Pro-America";
Bachmann: ‘Not all cultures are equal’;
Palin: Iraq is a task "from God";
Conservatives Call Obama’s Correct Pronounciation Of Pakistan ‘Exotic’ And ‘Annoying’;
Palin Sees America As Wealthy And White: New Hampshire And Alaska Are ‘Microcosms’ Of The Country;
Another McCarthyite Republican: Rep. Robin Hayes says “liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God";
Bachmann tells Pelosi to give up on global warming because Jesus already saved the planet;
McCain: Washington D.C. and NYC = Fake America;
Racism, hate bubble up yet again at Palin's rally in Vegas. Thus I give you primitive mind-thinking at work - and I could go on and on and on with further examples, just for this year alone.
Oh - and the fruit fly thing? Here's but one example of how useful the knowledge of its cellular and molecular biology as a scientific, experimental animal model has lead to a better understanding of human diseases:
Palin did not specify what fruit fly research earmark she was referring to (presumably a grant for olive fruit fly research), but she is apparently unaware that scientific research with fruit flies has led to valuable discoveries that have boosted autism research, as a study at the University of North Carolina demonstrated last year:
[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for ... nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.
The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.First-ever Genetic Animal Model Of Autism;
New Treatment Strategy Possible For Muscular Dystrophy, Mouse Studies Show. In case you would want to know more, instead of being a primitive mind like Sarah Stillson Palin, you might want to begin here, here, here and here - and from there, you may go as deep as you want.
(And be most welcome to my world, as well as that of all cellular and molecular biologists, geneticists, biochemists, etc.)
Feed your mind, eh?
(Cross-posted from APOV)