Mermaids, Centaurs, Minotaurs, Werewolves . . . these supposedly mythological creatures have thus far been commonplace only in legends, film, books, our imaginations, and sometimes our nightmares. But we’ve come a long way towards changing all that. Scientific advancements towards creating human-animal hybrids have been on the forefront of possibility for the last 20 years. So why hasn’t it progressed past a Petri-dish? Because a bunch of fun-sucking politicians are continuously trying to thwart our attempts. The latest culprit? Republican representative Tom Kirby (R-114th) from Georgia.
Kirby has been trying to push forward legislation prohibiting the use of human embryos for scientific research and experimentation. His little anti-pet project, HB 287, is known as the Embryo Protection Act and states that it would be a misdemeanor “for any person or entity to intentionally or knowingly create or attempt to create an in vitro hybrid human-animal embryo” in Georgia, or to “transfer an in vitro human embryo into the womb of a nonhuman or to transfer an in vitro nonhuman embryo into the womb of a human.” Kirby is hardly the first to address this though. Our “most smartest” former President George W. Bush decided to try to push through a bill on the ban of human-animal hybrids back in 2006 during his State of the Union address, and both Louisiana, Kansas, and Arizona have similar laws in place.
In 2014, Kirby posted on his campaign website, “The mixing of Human Embryos with Jellyfish cells to create a glow in the dark human, we say not in Georgia.” This is in reference to the 2008 study at Cornell University that Kirby is all up-in-arms about. Scientists successfully infiltrated what they described as a non-viable human embryo with a gene for a fluorescent protein from a jellyfish. After three days of division, all the cells in the embryo glowed. Of course, it seems, that Kirby doesn’t really understand what Cornell scientists were attempting to accomplish. The jellyfish-human experiment was done in the name of stem cell research, not a stepping-stone towards creating designer babies. Just imagine someone ordering up a light blue baby with a unicorn horn and a rabbit tail . . . could make for an interesting looking future.
In a recent interview with NBC’s Atlanta affiliate 11Alive, Kirby put forth his disapproval of laboratory created creatures; specifically bird-men, mermaids/mermen, centaurs, and werewolves, stating they should stay in the realms of mythology. He did say, however, that if these traits were the result of a natural genetic mutation, or if these creatures already exist, then it’s totally cool.
It does raise questions about how far science might go in the advancements of human. Would the ability to glow-in-the-dark be an asset or harmful to human existence? Let’s weigh some of the pros and cons:
Cons: Very visible to potential enemies in the dark, trouble sleeping because you’re a human night-light.
Pros: Reduced chance of injury as a human flashlight, never have to purchase glow-sticks
Clearly, the pros outweigh the cons. Bring on the fluorescence.
Plenty of species have developed new superpowers or adaptations over time in order to survive changes in their environments. Usually these changes occur over an excruciatingly long period of time. One of the bonuses about science is that, as humans, we have the ability to cheat the natural progression of things. Let’s say due to some horrific natural disaster we have to adapt and live underwater. Wouldn’t it be handy to have a set of gills to ease the transition? Apparently Kirby is against using our wit to adapt and survive.
Now, I could see perhaps why adding werewolves to the populace might be a little on the irresponsible side, but I’m all for mermaids, bird-men, and centaurs. Imagine the cool Mortal Kombat like move you would be able to rain-down on your enemies if you had the poison-filled tentacles of a jellyfish or how nice it would be to have wings to get around? Seriously Kirby, who the hell are you to tell us we can’t make bird-men?!?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but he’s pretty irked by the media’s portrayal of his bill. As a politician, you should know that when someone asks you your opinion on whether or not your bill bans the creation of centaurs and you answer, “Y'know I really don't like centaurs, they really have bad attitudes most of the time and we've got enough people with bad attitudes as it is,” that we’re going to address it. He is so outraged that he has been directly quoted by the media that he wrote an all-out rant on his website stating “PLAYTIME IS OVER!” and in reference to the 11Alive interview he states, “He asked several silly questions about mythological creatures and others from cartoons. I should have just shut him down then, but actually believing he was a man of his word and would report what HB 287 is really about, I made the error of playing along with him.” Since when, in a political campaign, do you “play along” with “silly” questions the media asks? What is this? Amateur hour, Kirby? PLAYTIME HAS JUST BEGUN.