We’re working through Carroll’s book(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) in my developmental biology class, and today we discussed a couple of chapters that included an amusing piece of fan mail Sean Carroll received. I thought I’d include it here because something about it sounds awfully familiar.
The context: Sean Carroll has done some beautiful work on the genes involved in regulating pattern formation in the wings of Lepidoptera—trying to answer the question of how butterflies get their spots. He’s even gotten some media attention for it, which prompted one person to write this angry letter.
“Who Cares?!” summarizes it all.
I can answer one part, though: “figure out why people can’t live together in peace—even I’ve figured this one out”. Obviously, then, this is a problem with a known solution, and so is not particularly interesting scientifically. Rather than yelling at a developmental biologist that he ought to be studying human social behavior in a field which the interlocutor already has all the answers, maybe the “fan” ought to be working harder to publish his revolutionary research.
Isn’t it odd how studying butterfly wings must mean you’ve forgotten about God?