Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

“What’s That You Want to Genetically Engineer? God?”

Premium

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 16, 2004 PRNewswire via COMTEX — Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats announces a major simultaneous breakthrough in the fields of science and religion, expected to end the conflict between reason and faith.

Keats realized that if he could make an educated guess as to where God fit on the tree of life he could use a method of genetic engineering called continuous in vitro evolution to mutate other species into God.

Keats came to believe that God is genetically most closely related to blue-green algae, the first organism found in the fossil record. If God came first, Keats reasoned, said deity would be most closely related to whichever species came second.

Keats acquired a clonal strain of the cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon and then set about mutating it. “I figured that God thrives on worship. So I prepared four petri dishes, and then, for seven days and nights, exposed three of them to pre-recorded prayer — Jewish, Christian, and Muslim — while the fourth served as a control.” (His control group was raised exclusively on talk radio.)

Keats decided to use omnipresence as an initial measure of godliness, since it''''s scientifically quantifiable, he says. “By that measure, divinity becomes statistical: You can see if a species is evolving to become more godlike simply by looking for abnormal population growth.” Via some unknown mechanism, the cyanobacteria exposed to the Christian prayer known as the Kyrie significantly outgrew both the talk-radio control group and the two other test groups.

Try to match the songs! It’s fun!

1. “Bark at the Moon” (Ozzy Osbourne)

2. “Forest Hymn” (Deep Forest)

3. “Nightswimming” (REM)

4. “Blue Angel” (Squirrel Nut Zippers)

5. “Empire of the Damned” (Sepultura)

6. “Fly (Through the Starry Night)” (2 Brothers on the 4th Floor)

7. “The Greatest Love of All” (Whitney Houston)

8. “A Rush Of Blood To The Head” (Coldplay)

9. “All I Want for Christmas” (Alvin & the Chipmunks)

10. “(Look) in the Mirror” (Thom Rotella)

Answers:

1. C

2. G

3. A

4. F

5. E

6. H

7. J

8. D

9. I

10. B

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.