December 19, 2007

Max Planck Institute Coming to Florida: Do They Know What They're Getting Themselves Into?

After the last entry, I couldn't let this next story pass without comment. The Max Planck Institute is planning to locate a biotech-related research and development facility in Florida.

Biotech company moving to Florida

Gov. Charlie Crist announced Tuesday that the state will spend $94 million to lure a prestigious European institute to a growing high-tech corridor in Palm Beach County.

The Max Planck Institute of Bio-Imaging is coming to Jupiter in a part of the state that already is home to the Scripps Research Center and what economic development officials call a "health cluster..."

Local development officials will kick in another $93 million for the project. Economic development officials said the state is still negotiating how long to stretch out its investment, with the window being between five and 20 years.

Researchers will specialize in the next generation of medical imaging, peering at the molecular level to map the origins of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's...
I wonder for how long the institute and Floridians will be so enamored of one another, particularly when it comes to the attention of the state's numerous fundamentalists that their tax dollars are being spent to bring a company whose technology will be applied using evolutionary biology. For example, the Max Planck Society is heavily involved with projects in developmental and evolutionary biology, with reports available such as Borrowed Genes: Keys to Evolutionary Novelty in Plant-Insect Interactions and The nematode Pristionchus pacificus as a model system in evolutionary biology. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in MPS who would advocate for Creationism and religious accommodation.

In short, The Max Planck Institute and the larger Max Planck Society are exactly the kind of people against whom school boards like those in Pinellas and Polk counties are arguing against. The kind of people they'll hire, and the people they'll bring in, are scientists, and a significant portion of them are evolutionary biologists likely to support, and even join, groups like Florida Citizens for Science. Moreover, Floridian children who are to have a snowball's chance in Miami of ever getting one of the highly-prized jobs at MPI mentioned in the article will need to have world-class education in science, including evolutionary theory.

I wonder how long it will be before this dawns on the Florida Fundies and they start breaking out the torches and pitchforks. Figuratively, I mean. I think...

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