Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » The Cure to Autism Involves Mocking a Route to the Cure:
"Sarah Palin... in her big “policy speech” yesterday: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.
Take it away, PZ Myers:...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.This is the type of ignorant Christian Nationalism, where hillbilly gut instincts and religious edicts trump knowledge and reason, that corrupt Republicanism has devolved into. This is what is meant to be “conservative” these days. It has nothing to do with the conservatism of years past, and everything to do with nativism (notice how Paris, France was included in the mocking- those god damned furriners!), reflexive hatred of the other, suspicion and derision towards those who know something, and cronyism. This woman embodies everything that is wrong with the current Republican party; there is a reason the know-nothings embrace her..."
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.