Thursday, May 24, 2007

What if God was a great white?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/05/23/virgin.sharks.ap/

"The joint Northern Ireland-U.S. research, being published Wednesday in the Royal Society's peer-reviewed Biology Letter journal, analyzed the DNA of a shark born in 2001 in the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.
The shark was born in a tank with three potential mothers, none of whom had contact with a male hammerhead for at least three years"


Oh. Great. The savior of the world comes back in shark form? I'm surprised their weren't Christians surrounding the tank, stealing water to sell on e-bay and waiting for a glimpse of the blessed little one. The baby was, after all, born of a virgin, in Omaha (that's pretty close to a manger in Bethlehem, right?).

"The baby was killed within hours of its birth by a stingray in the same tank. Analysis of its DNA found no trace of any chromosomal contribution from a male partner."

Damn. That's pretty cool! Although, first sting rays are taking out Jesus Sharks, then they're going for Steve Irwin... are we seeing sting ray rebellion?

"The findings were really surprising because as far as anyone knew, all sharks reproduced only sexually by a male and female mating, requiring the embryo to get DNA from both parents for full development, just like in mammals," said marine biologist Paulo Prodohl of Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, a co-author of the report.
"As is typical with scientists, we doubted our own results and so we did it again, and then a third time using a new technique with new genetic approaches. This confirmed there was no DNA of any male," said Prodohl, an expert in fish genetics with specific knowledge of hammerhead DNA.


This is so totally fascinating, on one hand. And, on the other hand, I can see a bunch of Christians salivating at the question: "Well, if all of these other animals can do it... why couldn't Mary?" They'd have to re-write the Bible again, maybe have Mary stay behind for three years while Joseph, and every other male, roamed the desert. But, $20 says Kent Hovind figures out a way to put this in his schtick.

21 comments:

Travis said...

Well, it's rare as hell, but it's obviously somehow possible to give birth without a male involvement, so while many people say Mary was sleeping with the milkman, maybe she was just that rare case that gave birth without male involvement? Hell anything is possible. I think it makes at least as much sense as divine intervention.

fubarmonkey said...

I agree that anythings possible considering we still have a long way to go on gene research. Mapping the human genome was only the beginning of understanding.

But if Mary did give birth without sex, and that kind of phenomena is possible (even if very rare), then that means there's nothing significant about the birth of Jesus except that he was born through a rare (but not otherwise impossible) phenomena.

Even if fundamentalists somehow write this off as more vague support for the beliefs, they still have the obstacle of proving that Mary was a virgin, that Joseph didn't share any DNA with Jesus, and let's not forget proving that their Jesus even existed.

Come to think, Jesus being the perfection of man and all, I wonder what his DNA would look like?

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Oh, but the implications go deeper.
If Jesus did exist (which I doubt, but let's roll with it), then he may (long shot in hell) have been the product of some mutant reproduction. However, as in the case of the Jesus Shark, Jesus would've most certainly been female! Since the genetic code would've been all Mary.

So, I'm just waiting for one of my Christian friends to say that virgin births can happen. I'm just waiting for one of them to use this shark. Because, the moment they do, I'm going to suggest that Jesus was female and watch their heads try to wrap around that. ;)

George said...

I love science. You think you have it all figured out, and then it turns and pulls a fast one on you.

I should point out that I know nothing about science, but it still fascinated me. I think that's one of the reasons I initially became an atheist.

DemosthenesandLocke said...

now your getting it chicka. SCIENCE FAILS TO RECOGNIZE THE SIINGLE MOST POTENT ELEMENT OF HUMAN EXISTENCE!!! LETTING THE REIGNS GO, TO THE UNFOLDING IS FAITH FAITH FAITH FAITH!!!!!

Matt D. said...

However, as in the case of the Jesus Shark, Jesus would've most certainly been female!

Exactly. We had a caller last week who wanted an explanation for the progression from asexual to sexual reproduction (which is a gross oversimplification and potentially, "just wrong"). I mentioned cases like this as evidence to explain the possibilities and I was secretly hoping that they'd try to extrapolate this to Jesus - just so I could make this point.

I was also going to make a point similar to fubarmonkey's - that a natural explanation eliminates the need to make an appeal to divine intervention.

Nature is gloriously amazing, inspiring, intriguing and beautiful - but, as we keep learning, its explanation is firmly rooted in the natural and not the supernatural.

Tone said...

Although, first sting rays are taking out Jesus Sharks, then they're going for Steve Irwin... are we seeing sting ray rebellion?

I think it means sting rays are the devil...

Jesus was an alien hybrid, everyone knows that...

Virgin births ARE possible now... you just need a good invitro doctor but 2000 years ago, probably not. I don't even think they had invented turkey basters yet then.

Travis said...

Right, I hadn't thought about the fact that Jesus would have had to be a female.

Well, still, it's more likely that Mary gave birth to a male Jesus because of some biological accident than divine intervention. It's more likely that Joseph gave birth to Jesus than divine intervention!

demosthenesandlocke, nice nick! :)

PerpetualBeginner said...

Well, they are called devil rays, after all. There had to be some reason, right?

fubarmonkey said...

Good point. I hadn't thought about the "Y" chromosome not being in the picture at all with a virgin birth. That's a whole other can of worms. :p

Anatoly said...

Yeah I saw that news article and the first thing came to my mind was - it's Jesus! Maybe we should form a religion around the asexual shark, at least we know that they can give virgin births.

The Alpha said...

I've been thinking about the merits of Sharkism, a religion centered around the miraculous virgin shark birth. We can make the female deity popular again and alienate those that think kindly of sting rays. "Kill two birds with one stone" I always say. How many people do we need to gain tax-free status?

Freelancer said...

Anybody coming into town for the College World Series? I live in Omaha, and we can organize a pilgrimmage so as to get National Exposure. (Rosenblatt Stadium is right next to the Henry Doorly Zoo, Google maps search either one)

All hail the great Hammerhead? Now if we can locate Nailhead and Crucifixhead sharks, we'll have an honest to goodness Holy Trinity.

-Nick

Atheist in a mini van. said...

I've been thinking about the merits of Sharkism, a religion centered around the miraculous virgin shark birth. We can make the female deity popular again and alienate those that think kindly of sting rays. "Kill two birds with one stone" I always say. How many people do we need to gain tax-free status?


I don't know about tax status and that sort of stuff... but, I, too, find Sharkism to be intriguing. Stay with me for a moment, if the sting ray is the equivalent of evil (for killing Shaky-Jeezus (that's sounds like a Pizza Chain)), then the Crocodile Hunter, having been killed by a sting ray, might be considered for Saint status. And, as a saint, let us adopt his exclamation of faith: "CRIKEY!"

DemosthenesandLocke said...

jesus wasn't female. he was just like me, confused. the reason he didn't get IT, is because mary magdalene was a whore, who he fell in love with. every guy who has ever been enlightened, myself included had their mary, or their molly, or their vanessa, or whoever that girl was that made your entire body just want to explode and we don't know what to do about it because our fathers just didn't quite get us. but thats mostly because we were exactly the same. its almost as if that fatherly influence was long and distance but more intense than our close motherly influence. so we assign it the name god when it starts telling us stuff. joseph was jesus' god, he just didn't know it. i realize now that everyone is a god, in a sense. we are all 0 dimensional beings, pure energy, trapped in our earthly bodies. and some know how to come back to those who know. and thats it. its called enlightenment. your nirvana is yours. and everyone can be there man, you just have to will it.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

That should be "Sharky-Jesus".

Saurian200 said...

P-Momma,

Stay with me for a moment, if the sting ray is the equivalent of evil (for killing Shaky-Jeezus (that's sounds like a Pizza Chain)), then the Crocodile Hunter, having been killed by a sting ray, might be considered for Saint status.

Quick, everyone start praying to the Crocadile Hunter and see if any miricles happen.

Like, for instance, if you prey to Steve before bed and then wake up blindfolded with your jaws roped shut in a long crate on the back of a truck headed for the local zoo.

It's not a kidnapping, it's a miricle.

Alyx said...

I think the Jesus Komodo Dragon beat Jesus Shark to the Christhood. Except there were multiple little Jesus Komodos, so they have to share the honors. And obviously it was Their Divine Intervention that sent the Holy Sting Ray to kill off the Antichrist Shark before it could grow to maturity and bring about Aquatic Armageddon.

Katie W-N said...

*L* My husband told me about this story a few days ago and my immediate reaction was that Jesus had come back as a shark...it would be a lot harder to crucify a shark, the dorsal fin would probably get in the way. :)

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one to assume that the shark was the Messiah. :)

AlisonM said...

Ah, but it's a hammerhead. Already shaped perfectly for crucifixion, designed just like the atheism-debinking banana!

AlisonM said...

Ugh. Typos - I meant debunking, of course. Debinking is taking a baby's pacifier away.