The Fear of Science

Sarah Palin, discussing the McCain/Palin policies, said this:

“Too often, even in our own day, children with special needs have been set apart and excluded,” said Palin, whose infant son Trig has Down syndrome. “Too often, state and federal laws add to their challenges, instead of removing barriers and opening new paths of opportunity. Too often, they are made to feel that there is no place for them in the life of our country, that they don’t count or have nothing to contribute. This attitude is a grave disservice to these beautiful children, to their families, and to our country — and I will work to change it.


“That’s more than the shortfall to fully fund the IDEA,” she said. “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, or a public policy center named for the guy who got the earmark. In our administration, we’re going to reform and refocus. We’re going to get our federal priorities straight, and fulfill our country’s commitment to give every child opportunity and hope in life.”

From Washington Post

But here’s just one example as to why the money is going to fruit fly research:

Neurons, or nerve cells, communicate with each other through contact points called synapses. When these connections are damaged, communication breaks down, causing the messages that would normally help our feet push our bike pedals or our mind locate our car keys to fall short.

Now scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for these 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.

From Local Tech Wire

Congratulations, Sarah, you just outsmarted yourself. Zing!

Why does it seem that the Republicans with louder voices have a defined fear of the sciences. Its almost as if we’re heading toward a new dark ages: villify the sciences, the higher learning and even reading in the country. As a holder of a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, the zealotry and religious fundamentalism that are becoming mainstream, along with this hatred of the sciences, frightens me. You can suggest all you want the validity of your “theories” of Creationism and Intelligent Design, but the theory of evolution is the only scientifically based explanation for the origin of creatures and thus humankind. These people who simply close their eyes to the world out their front doors, who daren’t take a look at something biological, chemical, or physical and say, “hmm, I wonder how this works,” have no place in higher office. If a person as closed-minded as that could become president or vice (one heartbeat away) president, something is significantly wrong.