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

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.