Human Monster
by H. Millard (c) 2003

We are all protoplasm. The difference between humans and flatworms is the size of our petri dishes. But, enough of that.

There is a growing movement around the world against genetically modified food. Those in the movement want the things they eat to be pure and the way nature made them. Some activists in this movement have taken to adding the prefix "Franken" to genetically modified foods. Thus, we have Frankentomatoes, Frankencorn, Frankenjustabouteverything. To make these Franken foods, scientists artificially insert genes for various qualities into vegetables that don't normally possess these genetic qualities.

"Nazi killer dog""Nazi Dog"In a broadening of the use of the term "Franken" this prefix was also applied by some people to the dog that attacked and killed San Franciscan Diane Whipple a couple of years ago. You may recall the story. Whipple was returning to her apartment when a dog, owned by a couple who lived in her building, attacked and killed her. The story had legs mainly because the owners of the dog got it from reported white supremacists who had bred and trained it. However, no scientific insertion of genes took place. From all reports, it seems that this dog was bred the old fashioned low tech way, which is to say, uh, doggy style. Nevertheless, some in the press tried to create a Nazi superman/superdog angle, where it probably didn't exist, and this kept the story alive for a couple of weeks even though dog breeding has been conducted for centuries by people in all parts of society and of all political persuasions.

"dogs of war"The dog that killed Ms. Whipple was a 123 pound cross between an English mastiff and a Canary Island dog. English mastiffs often weigh as much as 200 pounds and stand almost 3 feet tall when on all fours, but they're not considered very smart. When you hear the Shakespearean expression "loose the dogs of war," you're usually hearing about English Mastiffs which were bred originally to protect castles in England and to accompany armies. The Canary Island Dog is smaller than the English Mastiff and weighs about 105 pounds. However, it is nearly as tall as the English Mastiff. It is also considered to be smarter than the English Mastiff. The thought behind the breeding was apparently that if you bred these two, you'd end up with a very large and powerful dog with pretty good dog smarts.

Of course, you may end up with just the opposite or some other variation. There's an old joke, maybe true, maybe not, that a famous and attractive, but not remarkably intelligent woman was once reported to have said to Albert Einstein, "Albert we should have children together. With my looks and your brains, we'll have great looking, smart kids. Einstein is reported to have replied "What if it goes the other way?"

The Los Angeles Times, apparently trying to scratch a little beneath the surface about the Whipple killing, ran an article titled "Crossbreeding Creates Danger." In the article, we read "Breeders say the problem is not any particular breed, but the effects of crossbreeding....You start mixing things and you lose stability." One breeder then says "This dog is obviously a genetic nightmare." Of course, this type of statement runs counter to the genetic gobbledygook served up to young children in various cartoons and films where blended, but always smart and noble, mongrel dogs and cats are the heroes. You know the formula. The street dog or alley cat outsmarts the snooty owners of a purebred dog or cat and the two "fall in love" (well, they're for kids, after all). The final scene is often frolicking mongrel puppies or kittens. Some of the puppies or kittens bear a resemblance to the father and some to the mother and some are a mixture. None of them are so evil as to be purebred, however. Fade to black. What do impressionable young children take away in their subconscious minds from such cartoons and films? Right. Fade to black.

Let's change just two words ala a little verbal algebra, and see how the above statement from breeders sounds. "Breeders say the problem is not any particular race, but the effects of crossbreeding....You start mixing things and you lose stability." One breeder then says "This human is obviously a genetic nightmare."

Although human breeding follows the same natural laws as dog breeding, few people are honest enough to admit that we should use as much care in human breeding as we do in dog breeding. Most people, if asked, would probably say that humans are different and should just mate based on "love.". Of course they would never permit their purebred dogs to mate in such a haphazard fashion. One reason for human reluctance to breed to improve the line is because of the bad taste left by eugenics and forced sterilization. Another reason is that some humans think that they are somehow above the laws of nature. Just below the Angels. Not really animals. Not at all like, oh, chimps, for example.

chimp and researcherHold on. News reports this week indicate that Morris Goodman, a genetic researcher at the School of Medicine at Wayne State University in Michigan, believes that chimpanzees should be added to the genus Homo which now only has one member--humans. Goodman's idea is to have three species fill the Homo genus. These would be Homo sapiens, Homo troglodytes (common chimps) and Homo paniscus (bonobo chimps). The reason that this makes sense is that chimps and humans share 99.4% of the same DNA. So, .6% of our DNA has kept us from being short hairy critters with long arms and bad manners. Don't let any race deniers tell you that we should emphasize the things we all have in common and forgot about tiny differences. There are no "tiny" genetic differences.

While scientists may be thinking of adding more Homos at the genus level by putting like with like, they might also consider separating like from unlike at the species level and start using better terminology with Homo sapiens as well. Doesn't it seem just a little absurd that all several billion humans are considered to be of the same species and that some people are now saying that race doesn't exist, when our own eyes and our science tell us that there are fairly distinct groups of humans who are very different from other fairly distinct groups of humans and that these fairly distinct groups are-- just what our eyes tell us--different, and can be logically grouped together in what we usually call races? An important aspect of science is to classify things, including living things, so we can better understand them. Why should humans not be subject to correct classifications?

Today, "race" is taking a lot of hits from blenders who continue with their race denying in order to break down resistance to the blending away of distinct races. They figure you're a racist if you believe your own eyes about differences in skin color, hair type and texture, bone structure, and many other physical differences as well as scientifically proven differences that require special equipment to determine, or if you believe the statistics about different crime rates, I.Q. scores, school performance, and other things that point back to mental differences. Many of these deniers come to their ignorance from a religious bias, and reason, consciously or subconsciously, that the "real" person is the "soul" or "spirit within the flesh," and this soul or spirit is raceless. Thus, race isn't important. Thus, race doesn't exist. Others come to their bias with various quasi-scientific rationales based on incomplete or false information about genes. Still others come to their bias from a belief that if you deny differences, the differences won't exist.

Can it be, in contrast to what the race deniers are trying to sell, that not only is race a reality, but that the correct term for race really should be "species" or "sub-species"? The problem in terminology is an old one. The main reason that all humans are lumped together as one species is because they can interbreed. Could it be that this reliance on the ability to interbreed to determine a species is wrong? We know that lower animals of different species can and do mate and have offspring, and that many of these animals are often even more genetically disparate from each other than are human races different from one another. Yet, no scientist worth his salt claims that these animals are of the same species simply because they can have viable offspring. So, if very different lower animals can have viable offspring, isn't this at least a clue that the ability to interbreed or not interbreed should not be the defining characteristic of a species? Trust your senses to tell you the truth. Apart from cases of animal and plant mimicry, a general rule of existence is that if something looks different, it probably is different.

Nature has given all animals sense organs so that they can survive to breed and replicate themselves and struggle to improve and make their kind the dominant kind. Generally speaking, nature isn't about cooperation and getting along. It is about constant change. All living things are nothing more than the result of the natural evolution of inert chemicals. Nature's endless experimenting with a chemistry set. Some experiments work, some don't. Some experiments work for a time, only to be discarded as some new model evolves. We can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste things in our environment precisely so that we can survive to breed true and pass on our genes. When we start to override our senses and deny what these senses tell us about something as basic to us as knowing who is US, and who is not US, we run into trouble. And, humans are, indeed, running into trouble because they are overriding their senses and can't seem to distinguish between what is acceptable and desirable to override and what isn't.

The race-deniers and blenders don't want people to notice that nature has color coded people and that while there are individual differences, people who share many primary racial characteristics that are easily seen--such as skin color--are usually of one group composed of genetically similar people--a family, an extended family, a tribe, a race--and all those with different characteristics are usually of a different group whose members are genetically similar to each other in many important ways.

Ugandan PygmyIf you don't believe there are racial differences between the very different peoples on this planet, you may be on your way to changing your family's racial characteristics forever. You may wish to consider whether or not your understanding of what this really means is scientifically correct or whether you've just bought into the cartoon version of reality that uses dogs and cats as metaphors for humans and where the mongrels are seen as better than those that aren't mongrels.

As human beings, we have a certain amount of choice to determine what we wish to become, but this choice is often manipulated by those who want us to act in certain ways. Knowing that this manipulation exists, it behooves us all--no matter what race we belong to--to carefully consider our mating choices, because they will determine the future of our families.

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