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Re: [evol-psych] Sarah Palin's war on science (Christopher Hitchens on)

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  • Richard Harper
    I nearly missed reading this post. I only clicked on this because I grew up in Palin s neighborhood so I ve been mildly following the Press about her. (I
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 1, 2008
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      I nearly missed reading this post. I only clicked on this because I
      grew up in Palin's neighborhood so I've been mildly following
      the Press about her. (I happen to know a number of people who
      know her, etc.) I have changed the subject line to include
      the author Hitchens, as I read everything of his that comes across
      my desk/desktop. I don't always agree with him, but he is
      generally recognized as one of the masters of the written word.

      Richard Harper



      On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 6:46 AM, Edgar Owen <edgarowen@...> wrote:
      > Read to the end, it gets better and better..... Edgar
      >
      > Sarah Palin's War on Science
      >
      > The GOP ticket's appalling contempt for knowledge and learning.
      >
      > By Christopher Hitchens
      > Posted Monday, Oct. 27, 2008
      >
      > In an election that has been fought on an astoundingly low cultural and
      > intellectual level, with both candidates pretending that tax cuts can go
      > like peaches and cream with the staggering new levels of federal deficit,
      > and paltry charges being traded in petty ways, and with Joe the Plumber
      > becoming the emblematic stupidity of the campaign, it didn't seem possible
      > that things could go any lower or get any dumber. But they did last Friday,
      > when, at a speech in Pittsburgh, Gov. Sarah Palin denounced wasteful
      > expenditure on fruit-fly research, adding for good xenophobic and
      > anti-elitist measure that some of this research took place "in Paris,
      > France" and winding up with a folksy "I kid you not."
      >
      > It was in 1933 that Thomas Hunt Morgan won a Nobel Prize for showing that
      > genes are passed on by way of chromosomes. The experimental creature that he
      > employed in the making of this great discovery was the Drosophila
      > melanogaster, or fruit fly. Scientists of various sorts continue to find it
      > a very useful resource, since it can be easily and plentifully "cultured" in
      > a laboratory, has a very short generation time, and displays a great variety
      > of mutation. This makes it useful in studying disease, and since Gov. Palin
      > was in Pittsburgh to talk about her signature "issue" of disability and
      > special needs, she might even have had some researcher tell her that there
      > is a Drosophila-based center for research into autism at the University of
      > North Carolina. The fruit fly can also be a menace to American agriculture,
      > so any financing of research into its habits and mutations is money
      > well-spent. It's especially ridiculous and unfortunate that the governor
      > chose to make such a fool of herself in Pittsburgh, a great city that remade
      > itself after the decline of coal and steel into a center of high-tech
      > medical research.
      >
      > In this case, it could be argued, Palin was not just being a fool in her own
      > right but was following a demagogic lead set by the man who appointed her as
      > his running mate. Sen. John McCain has made repeated use of an anti-waste
      > and anti-pork ad (several times repeated and elaborated in his increasingly
      > witless speeches) in which the expenditure of $3 million to study the DNA of
      > grizzly bears in Montana was derided as "unbelievable." As an excellent
      > article in the Feb. 8, 2008, Scientific American pointed out, there is no
      > way to enforce the Endangered Species Act without getting some sort of
      > estimate of numbers, and the best way of tracking and tracing the elusive
      > grizzly is by setting up barbed-wire hair-snagging stations that painlessly
      > take samples from the bears as they lumber by and then running the DNA
      > samples through a laboratory. The cost is almost trivial compared with the
      > importance of understanding this species, and I dare say the project will
      > yield results in the measurement of other animal populations as well, but
      > all McCain could do was be flippant and say that he wondered whether it was
      > a "paternity" or "criminal" issue that the Fish and Wildlife Service was
      > investigating. (Perhaps those really are the only things that he associates
      > in his mind with DNA.)
      >
      > With Palin, however, the contempt for science may be something a little more
      > sinister than the bluff, empty-headed plain-man's philistinism of McCain. We
      > never get a chance to ask her in detail about these things, but she is known
      > to favor the teaching of creationism in schools (smuggling this crazy idea
      > through customs in the innocent disguise of "teaching the argument," as if
      > there was an argument), and so it is at least probable that she believes all
      > creatures from humans to fruit flies were created just as they are now. This
      > would make DNA or any other kind of research pointless, whether conducted in
      > Paris or not. Projects such as sequencing the DNA of the flu virus, the
      > better to inoculate against it, would not need to be funded. We could all
      > expire happily in the name of God. Gov. Palin also says that she doesn't
      > think humans are responsible for global warming; again, one would like to
      > ask her whether, like some of her co-religionists, she is a "premillenial
      > dispensationalist"—in other words, someone who believes that there is no
      > point in protecting and preserving the natural world, since the end of days
      > will soon be upon us.
      >
      > Videos taken in the Assembly of God church in Wasilla, Alaska, which she
      > used to attend, show her nodding as a preacher says that Alaska will be "one
      > of the refuge states in the Last Days." For the uninitiated, this is a
      > reference to a crackpot belief, widely held among those who brood on the
      > "End Times," that some parts of the world will end at different times from
      > others, and Alaska will be a big draw as the heavens darken on account of
      > its wide open spaces. An article by Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times
      > gives further gruesome details of the extreme Pentecostalism with which
      > Palin has been associated in the past (perhaps moderating herself, at least
      > in public, as a political career became more attractive). High points, also
      > available on YouTube, show her being "anointed" by an African bishop who
      > claims to cast out witches. The term used in the trade for this hysterical
      > superstitious nonsense is "spiritual warfare," in which true Christian
      > soldiers are trained to fight demons. Palin has spoken at "spiritual
      > warfare" events as recently as June. And only last week the chiller from
      > Wasilla spoke of "prayer warriors" in a radio interview with James Dobson of
      > Focus on the Family, who said that he and his lovely wife, Shirley, had
      > convened a prayer meeting to beseech that "God's perfect will be done on
      > Nov. 4."
      >
      > 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.
      >
      > Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is
      > Not Great.
      >
      > Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2203120/
      >
      > Copyright 2008 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC
      >
    • Mark Hubey
      ... How about comments like Why do we have go to the moon? or Why do we have research in fighterPlanes/aeronautics/defense/.....? -- Regards, H.M. Hubey
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 1, 2008
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        Richard Harper wrote:
        > .. but he is
        > generally recognized as one of the masters of the written word.
        >
        > Richard Harper
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >>
        >> Sarah Palin's War on Science
        >>
        >> Gov. Sarah Palin denounced wasteful
        >> expenditure on fruit-fly research, adding for good xenophobic and
        >> anti-elitist measure that some of this research took place "in Paris,
        >> France" and winding up with a folksy "I kid you not."
        >>

        How about comments like "Why do we have go to the moon?" or "Why do we have research in fighterPlanes/aeronautics/defense/.....?"

        --
        Regards,

        H.M. Hubey
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