Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Rotten Fleece Award for Professor Bainbridge

Professor Bainbridge is one of my Readable Rightie bloggers, but he flubbed it by criticizing the idea of fertlizing elephants with frozen mammoth sperm to create hybrid animals. Bainbridge did a poor job of reading the article he linked to, first of all - it's a Japanese scientist, not a British scientist, and it's only a speculative idea with no plans to spend actual money.

His main problem though is imitating the stupid Golden Fleece Awards given by former Senator William Proxmire, generally to berate tiny government spending items that were often science projects, projects that Proxmire didn't understand and didn't want explained to him.

Bainbridge plunges himself into the same trap. If this idea were feasible (I highly doubt it, but Bainbridge isn't focusing on that), then there would tremendous scientific interest in a mammoth-elephant hybrid. Anything about its behavior, physiology, or metabolism that differed from a typical elephant would be instructive.

And then you start your generational cross-breeding. You fertilize a female half-mammoth with mammoth sperm and get three-quarter mammoth descendents, an even better model to study. After not too many decades, we'll have essentially recreated an extinct species. I think that's interesting, to say the least.

Bainbridge imitated Proxmire better than he planned. Both of them deserve the Rotten Fleece Award.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.