Christine O’Donnell doesn’t understand why monkeys can’t turn into people right before her eyes.It is incredible that in the 21st century, the rabid right wing is running people with an 18th century mentality. So much for "American education". And it shows you how dangerous demagogues are during stressful times. Desperate people turn to bizarre demagogues when they are without hope.
Bill Maher continued his video torment of O’Donnell by releasing another old clip of her on his HBO show on Friday night, this time showing one in which she argued that “Evolution is a myth.”
Maher shot back, “Have you ever looked at a monkey?” To which O’Donnell rebutted, “Why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?”
In 2007, O’Donnell frantically warned Bill O’Reilly, “American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”
The field of human-animal experiments is dubbed “chimera” research, named for the she-monster in Greek mythology that has a lion’s head, a goat’s body and a serpent’s tail.
Dr. Irving Weissman, director of Stanford’s Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, did the first experiments injecting human brain-forming stem cells into the brains of immune-deficient mice 10 years ago.
He assured me that the mice did not suddenly start acting human. “There were no requests for coffee from Minnie,” he said. “The total number of human brain cells in the mouse brain was less than one in a thousand. I don’t think we would get a mouse with a full human brain. And even if the mouse made it to a human mouse it would still have a mouse-brain offspring.”
Dr. Weissman is sensitive to ethical questions and has tried to ensure that “the nightmare scenario” won’t happen: putting embryonic stem cells into mice at the earliest stages, which could give rise to every tissue in the body including human sperm and eggs, which could lead to two mice mating and the early formation of human fetuses in the body of a mouse.
He is working toward breakthroughs on multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, strokes, breast cancer and a host of other diseases, and is worried by the retrogressive attitude about science and medicine among the new crop of Tea Partiers.
President Obama was supposed to be a giant leap forward in modernity, the brainy, rational first black president leading us out of the scientific darkness of the W. years. But by letting nutters get a foothold, he may usher us into the past.
Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Jim DeMint and some Tea Party types don’t merely yearn for the country they idealize from the 1950s. They want to go back to the 1750s.
Joe Miller, the Palin-blessed Republican nominee for Senate in Alaska, suggests that Social Security is unconstitutional because it wasn’t in the Constitution. The Constitution is a dazzling document, but do these originalists really think things haven’t changed since then? If James Madison beamed down now, he would no doubt be stunned at the idea that America had evolved so far but was hemming itself in by the strictest interpretation of his handiwork. He might even tweet about it.
Evolution is no myth, but we may be evolving backward. Christine O’Donnell had better hope they don’t bring back witch burning.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Maureen Dowd Takes on the Anti-Science Tea Party
Here are some bits from a Maureen Down op-ed in the NY Times about the nutty anti-science positions of the Tea Party and New Jersey's Republican candidate for the US Senate, Christine O’Donnell: