In a recent article on the Huffington Post, Todd Palmer and Rob Pringle dissect this speech and all of it's entertaining ignorance. Some of the juicier bits:
The full article, titled "In Case You Weren't Scared Enough: Palin on Fruit Fly Research" is available here.
It's hard to know where to begin deconstructing this statement. This was a speech on autism, and Palin's critics have pounced on the fact that a recent study of Drosophila fruit flies showed that a protein called neurexin is essential for proper neurological function -- a discovery with clear implications for autism research.
Awkward! But this critique merely scrapes icing off the cake.
Fruit flies are more than just the occasional vehicles for research relevant to human disabilities. They are literally the foundation of modern genetics, the original model organism that has enabled us to discover so much of what we know about heredity, genome structure, congenital disorders, and (yes) evolution. So for Palin to state that "fruit fly research" has "little or nothing to do with the public good" is not just wrong -- it's mind-boggling.