Monday, October 27

Sarah and the Fruit Fly

Michael Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at UCa Berkeley, writes, "Now that I’ve had a chance to look at the blog reactions to the Palin fruit fly idiocy, I’m amazed at how rapidly everyone assumed she was talking about Drosophila. This is because most of the world - including virtually all Drosophila researchers - mistakenly believe that “fruit fly” is the proper common name for members of the genus Drosophila. However the proper common name for Drosophila is vinegar fly or pomace fly. Fruit fly properly refers to members of the family Tephritidae. "

So Palin got it right - the French project she referenced in her remarks on earmarking involved the olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae) - a tehpritid.

But do you think for one second that her detractors would bother to do the research to find out the specifics? Not at all.

They are too busy turning blind eyes to truth, defending the indefensible Obama.


Michael Eisen said...

None of the criticism of Palin was directed at her knowledge of fly taxonomy. It was directed at her reflexive criticism of science, and her obvious lack of understanding of the immense contributions of basic scientific research to the health and welfare of the American people. As our next president - Barack Obama - said "It's like they're proud of being ignorant".

Unknown said...

Then the criticism was even more misplaced because her point was that the earmark had nothing to do with the legislation at hand and should never have been attached to it.

Too, the American people don't need to fund research in France. There are plenty of projects in the USA that need funding and if we want to fund fruit fly research, there's a project in No. Carolina that would be more appropriate. Especially since that project is on the kind of fly that has the genome that might benefit research on autism.