New scientific breakthroughs in the fields of artificial life and whoopee cushions


(From Frankfurter to Frankensteinfleisch…)

You’ve probably come upon this line by Jean-Jacques Rousseau before, in one way or the other, ‘God makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil.’

So, yes, we’ve been here many, many times before but let’s, for argument’s sake, suppose that the claims made in the following article are true:

“Artificial life could be created “within five years”, researchers from the USA have claimed. Laboratories across the world are closing in on a “second genesis” - an achievement that would be one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time. Prof David Deamer, from California University, said although building a new life form from scratch is a daunting task he is confident it can happen in five to 10 years.”

Now, I know that most of the tabloids and all of the world’s religions will be sharpening their headlines now, all ready to board the Mary Shelley express once more, telling us, like Rousseau did, that man should not try to play God.

The argument goes that, any time man tries to wear God’s beard and sandals, these efforts lead to the creation of one type of Frankenstein’s monster or the other.

As lines of reasoning go, this one is more than modestly convincing. I mean, God created the earth; man invented the karaoke machine.

So, you would be tempted to join the conga line of Popes, Mullahs and tabloid editors on this one and chant, ‘Case closed.’

Yet, I’m not so sure I agree. I’m not saying that I have much trust in a species that’s created Disney World, Mama Mia! and Jimmy Dean’s pancakes & sausage on a stick. Still, let’s not forget that it was our esteemed Creator Who managed to launch a product that rose to these kinds of Olympian heights:

“The funniest whoopee cushion sounds are long and whiny, according to research into the humour of flatulence. People are more amused by drawn-out noises than abrupt toots, with a seven-second burst most likely to provoke a laugh. And while whoopee cushions have traditionally been the practical joke of choice for cheeky schoolboys, women actually find the sound slightly funnier than men. The surprising results were based on a survey of 34,000 people who were played six of twenty possible whoopee cushion sounds and asked to rank the noises by how much they made them laugh.”

Honestly, if this is the best that God’s own creatures can come up with, I’d urge all of our white-coated Frankensteins to whip out their test tubes & Igors and bring it on.

It’s actually quite hard to imagine how they could come up with anything more patently and pathetically useless than the original ‘Crown of God’s Creation’.

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