Dinosaurs and fruit flies

Posted on 25 October, 2008. Filed under: US Elections | Tags: , , , |

On Friday, Sarah Palin gave a policy speech outlining her and John McCain’s policy and commitment to supporting families of children with special needs.  A cause I applaud. Recent years have seen an unbelievable escalation in special needs, autism in particular being diagnosed with alarming frequency. The emotional, physical and material burden this places on families are tremendous, and especially in the case of poor and single parent families, devastating. I think it is crucial that the government reach out to help these families. (Is that terribly socialistic?)

Perhaps her speech would have carried more weight if her track record spoke to it, but she carries around the albatross of having slashed funds for a special Olympics programme in Alaska. But I guess that was before she herself was the mother of a special needs child. (A mean socialist, I am.)

The thing that bothered me most, though, relates to fruit flies. Government funding for research into silly things like fruit flies is just wasteful, says Mrs Palin. Well, go to an agricultural area and tell that to farmers whose crops are being damaged by fruit flies, I say. I guess she would say the same about funding research into Ips beetles. University of Colorado is spending, sorry, I mean wasting, some more money on those pesky little critters. But I’m sure that environmentally friendly Mrs Palin doesn’t mind that these 1/8 to 3/8 inch long babies are busy destroying entire forests. Of course, the real irony here is that it was a study on fruit flies that detected proteins that might help us to better understand autism.

The flies served to highlight a problem I have with Sarah Palin, and indeed, many other people. She basks in ignorance. For a woman raised by educators, she shows a determined lack of regard for the virtues of education and the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. With her attacks on the elite, and academics, oh no, sorry that was Ms Bachman, (how did I manage to confuse those two, I wonder?) she forces one to look at her life more closely.

Having led an interesting and colourful life, I, too, can only boast of a bachelor’s degree, which took me quite a while to complete, in many (not consecutive) years. So I will cast no stone, there. But it doesn’t seem as if either of her eldest two are interested in academically improving themselves, nor, indeed, is her son-in-law-to-be. Now to each his own, I agree, and not everyone wishes to go to college or university, but in my experience, in families that place a premium on intellectual pursuits and academics, it is the norm to venture forth to institutes of higher learning. Which leads me to believe that these are not important things in her or her family’s schema. In most people that would be their problem, not mine, but in a woman who strives to become vice president of arguably the largest power in the world, and potentially  its president, it sends chills down my body…

And that brings me to the dinosaurs. I am a Christian. I believe that God created the world. But God, in my eyes, is a God of order, not professor Dumbledor waving a magic wand. I, like many other Christians, and scientists, and Christian scientists, have a worldview in which evolution and Biblical creation not only co-exist, but support each other. And I really do not think it is unreasonable to ask Mrs Palin to tell us, once and for all, whether or not she truly believes that dinosaurs roamed the world until about 6 thousand years ago. Just a simple yes or no answer will do. Because if a member of the flat-earth society was going to occupy a senior office in the White House, wouldn’t you want to know?

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