Friday, February 19, 2010

Promote Mad Science!

I recently read the book Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne. The book was informative and well written, but the one thing that really captured my interest was the following excerpt:

Conclusive proof that a given gene causes human/chimp differences requires moving the gene from one species to another and seeing what difference it makes, and that’s not the kind of experiment anyone would want to try.51

Most people would identify this excerpt as a factual statement accompanied by a short common sense observation by the author. However, Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov is not most people. You may have noticed the footnote indication at the end of the excerpt. Even if you didn’t, I did, and that’s all that matters because I read the book and I’m the one presently writing this blog post.

Chimpanzees have two states: rest and berserk. This chimpanzee is resting, so we can deduce that he is contemplating going berserk soon.

At any rate, I flipped to the back of the book and found the following paragraph (bracketed segments represent my thoughts while reading):

Actually, it has been tried at least once. [Awesome!] In 1927, Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov [possibly the best name ever], an eccentric Russian biologist whose forte was making animal hybrids through artificial insemination, used that technique to try to create human/chimpanzee hybrids (dubbed “humanzees” or “chumans”). [I salute you, sir.] At a field station in French Guinea, he inseminated three female chimps with human sperm. [good for him] Fortunately, there were no pregnancies, and his later plans to do the reverse experiment were thwarted. [Noooooo!!!]

Yes, in addition to having the initials III, Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was also a mad scientist extraordinaire. Unfortunately, his heroic and admirable attempts at combining humans and chimpanzees were unsuccessful. While the author doesn’t elaborate on the problem, its easy enough to discern.

First of all, the guy was Russian and therefore necessarily smashed due to excessive vodka consumption. Secondly, he was dealing with chimpanzees - otherwise known as the craziest poo-flinging spazzes this side of anywhere. To put it another way, its like trying to perform an experiment on a member of the Jersey Shore cast. As if these obstacles weren’t enough, Ivanov apparently faced outside attempts to thwart his experiments.

This was undoubtedly part of the problem.

All of this leads to one immutable conclusion: We need to promote human/chimpanzee hybridization in the United States. Just think what our scientists, free of alcohol intoxication and freezing temperatures, could accomplish. It is widely known that the U.S. educational system has been surpassed by many other countries in international math and science rankings. What better way to reclaim the mantle of scientific superiority and inspire American science students than to create freakish abominations that no one else has had the knowledge or stomach to create?

This is the land of the free and the home of the brave! We’re the ones who gave Britain the finger to start things off. We’re the ones who shot the crap out of each other in the wild west. We’re the ones who put Neil Armstrong in a freaking rocket, blasted that sucker off the face of the freaking earth, and then checked back later to see what was going on from the comfort of our freaking living rooms. Its time for the next great American advancement. Let’s make a humanzee!