Friday, October 31, 2008


Sarah Palin needs to talk to people who understand science before she rushes off to condemn studies done on fruit flies.
An article here:
Anyone who knows much about biology knows that there are three types of animals that are great for research. Chimpanzees, because they're more like humans than any other animal, and thus help us understand ourselves better. Mice, because, like us, they're mammals, but they're also cheap and they reproduce quickly. And fruit flies, because they're extremely cheap, and they reproduce extremely quick.
Studying these animals leads us to a better understanding of biology and medicine. This type of research is extremely important, and the fact that she makes fun of it is troubling.
I would say she just alienated a whole lot of scientists, but in all reality, I think most scientists have already been alienated.


Mommy Bee said...

Actually, visit --he's the one who made the pic. He's obviously an obama man, and has a lot of amusing things to say about it. :) (Incidentally, he's the guy who's renting from us...they're great people.)

Woodine said...

I agree that she has made some silly comments about science, though I think that one wasn't as bad as it was made to look, and from the bit I read the emphasis was on Paris, not the fruit flies (though I also recognize it was the USDA in Paris). That being said, you're right, she probably has no idea how important they are to research!

However, the senator pushing the bill was notorious for pork barrel spending. And, there are a lot of other ways for reputable scientists to get funding - funds set up specifically for those purposes where you apply for a grant and they consider the validity of your research and your proposal for further investigation. It's a process all scientists have to endure and bypassing that process by earmarking other legislation makes me question any senators connections to a particular group or industry. Do they really need earmarking to get their money if their research is so important?

Yes, she probably doesn't understand science. But I don't think it's nearly as bad as it was painted.

Tim said...

If you've talked with scientists lately, you probably know that funding has experienced serious cuts. Bush gets a bad rap from scientists for several reasons, one of them being that he's severely cut funding for research.
So better that some of the earmarks go to that than to the bridge Palin was for before she was against...

Woodine said...

First of all - I hope you don't feel I'm being too combative. It is interesting for me to think through your arguments and to be intellectually challenge. And while I may seem a McCain/Palin advocate - in reality I'm still considering voting third party. I just want this election to be done!

The problem with earmarking as opposed to grant proposals is that it eliminates the process of defining the direction and specific inquiries of your research and leaves open a door for more wasteful spending. I watched my professor construct a grant proposal that was associated with my and other students research and it is quite the process. Do I wish there was more funding readily available? Absolutely! Am I happy about cuts - of course not - though I must say it concerns me that both candidates have plans for heavy spending in several areas with no real plan for increasing the government's revenue - not significantly enough to counter their spending. Science is not where I'd like to see the cuts, but there do need to be cuts made in other places!

Unfortunately for us, I don't know a senator with deep ties to the G-protein assembly process in relation to the PhLP protein and CCT chaperone, so my professor is not a likely candidate for earmark funding. If the Olive oil industry is so concerned about the fruit flies they should providing funding for the research or make applications for grants, not government earmarking.