The other day, Sarah Palin mocked scientific research involving fruit flies. My undergraduate research, which had implications for cancer in humans, was based on a fruit-fly model. I suppose we can't really fault Palin for not knowing all of this (ignoring the fact that fruit flies are a common tool in even high school biology classrooms). We can fault her arrogance, though. It always makes sense, if one is to be discussing a subject with such contempt, to make sure said person knows what they are talking about. Otherwise they will be made to look quite the fool.
At any rate, here is a scathing piece on Palin's larger theme of anti-intellectualism and anti-science. A fantastic quote:
"This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity."
I would like to reiterate something of my own. I believe there is indeed some wickedness at work here. There is this sort of pseudo-debate about whether or not evolution is real. First of all, for you Catholics out there, this is a non-issue. The Vatican officially supports evolutionary theory. For other Christian sects, people are wrong if they assume they are forced to make a choice between evolution and belief in God. The two are quite compatible. I'll post on exactly why at a later date.
The crux of the issue comes down to this. I don't personally care whether an individual believes in evolution or not. On the surface, it can sound like a pretty outrageous proposition and without actually having studied it, its easy to have some skepticism. That being said, people in this country have this deep aversion to evolutionary theory because there is a group of people that keep pushing the message that evolution is anti-God and contradicts the bible. It is my belief that the people that do this are evil, manipulative, and are doing it because they know that sewing the seeds of (false) controversy creates an intellectual vacuum that they subsequently fill. Its all about influence and power, and denying evolution is the way these particular men achieve theirs.
At any rate, some will not be convinced; fine. Next time such a person is in the hospital, they should be sure they only accept penicillin for their staph infections. Evolution being false, strains of staph couldn't possibly have evolved resistance to methicillin. Thus these people certainly wouldn't need special antibiotics that can kill MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), right?