Blithering Idiot Watch – Palin to stop federal funding for fruit fly research, the underpinning of all genetics, because she thinks it’s pork

“This is the most mindless, ignorant, uninformed comment that we have seen from Governor Palin so far, and there’s been a lot of competition for that prize.” – Richard Wolfe, Newsweek

Sarah Palin yesterday mocked – yes, mocked – fruit fly research. In a speech about autism and disabilities, Palin had the audacity to mock “fruit fly research” as wasteful pork. Yes she did. She thinks it’s pork because, to her, it has a funny name. Funny, because she’s a blithering idiot who apparently never attended high school.

Now, anyone who has ever studied any science IN HIGH SCHOOL knows full well that fruit fly research is one of the underpinnings of all modern biology. She is a freaking idiot. Here is what Palin had to say, then I’ll quote a science blog that brought this to my attention:

This is a matter of how we prioritize the money that we spend. We’ve got a three trillion dollar budget, and Congress spends some 18 billion dollars a year on earmarks for political pet projects. That’s more than the shortfall to fully fund the IDEA. And where does a lot of that earmark money end up? It goes to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good — things like fruit fly research in Paris, France…

And here is what science blog BiochemicalSoul.com had to say:

The fruit fly (Drosophila) has probably been the single most important organism for the study of genetics for over a century now. Almost everything we know about genetics, development, cell biology, neuroscience, and every other field of biology has strong roots in previous and current work on Drosophila. The fruit fly is one of a small handful of “standard model organisms” used by thousands of scientists across the world to learn how our bodies, organs, genes, and proteins work. Most of what we know about how a single fertilized cell becomes the amazingly complex beings we are comes from studies initially done in Drosophila. Vast amounts of our understanding of the brain (and brain disorders, diseases, and defects) also come from initial studies in fruit flies.
In fact, recent research from my own graduate alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on fruit fly brains has had an impact on the understanding of autism and has boosted autism research:

“[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.”

To decry research in [condescending and amazed tone] “the fruit fly” is a testament to the true idiocy of this woman and to the failure of our public education system. In fact, her own father, Chuck Heath, was a biology teacher – obviously a complete failure of a biology teacher.

Keith Olbermann is all over this. Republicans don’t respect science. It’s one more example of the intellect, of the brain. Modern Republicans respect stupidity and ignorance. That is when, they’re not respecting hatred and intolerance.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in New York City, and is the cofounder of TimeToResign.com. Bio, .

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