UnNews:Scientists replicate dinosaur DNA; creationists challenge extinction theory

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Scientists replicate dinosaur DNA; creationists challenge extinction theory

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16 September 2010

Jurassic park tyranosaurus rex

An computer rendition of Tootles, the name given to the T-rex whose soft tissue is being used in this project. "I'll be the first in line to throw rocks at it," said Von Brewer.

VIENNA, Austria – Researchers, paleontologists, and genetic engineers from the University of Vienna have announced the beginning of their most recent work which aims to replicate DNA extracted from soft tissue found from dinosaur remains in hopes of one day cloning the savage beasts. The project, which is funded by the European Science Foundation and Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg, anticipates having a full T-rex cloned by 2015. Soft tissue collected in 2005 from the remains of 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex's leg bone and penile tissue, found in the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, is being used in the project.

Leading the project is genetic engineer Dr. R.D. Von Ludwig. "For the first time in centuries it is seeming probable that dinosaurs can be recreated. Video games like Primal Rage and Dino Crisis are no longer science fiction." Scientist, writer, and peer reviewer for Scientific American Magazine, Dr. Michael Grosling, recently expressed doubts about the project's likelihood of success in his August column, writing, "I know quite a bit about what materials they're working with, and I can say this: it is not looking good. You would need a more complete set of DNA, cells, and tissues in order to 'create' a dinosaur. With what they have, it's likely that we'll see a walking T-rex penis more than an actual T-rex."

Criticism has also been raised by Christian creationists. Jon Von Brewer, an American Christian Scientist and leader of the group Christian Scientists Against Secular Science (CSASS) has been the most outspoken critic. When Von Brewer heard that scientists would potentially use the recreated dinosaur(s) to test popular Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction theories, he wrote a scathing vitriol against Von Ludwig, calling him "Satan's scientist", "the Anti-Christ", "a dumbass", and "a purveyor of evil", amongst other things.

To his congregation in Plymouth, Mississippi, Von Brewer said, "If they want to test that meteor extinction theory, I'll be the first to do it. Go ahead. Recreate a T-rex. I'll be the first in line to throw rocks at it and say, 'See? Didn't happen!'"

This is not the first time science was held to the flame by the religious. Some of you may remember a few years back when Galileo had to rescind his sincere and evidenced belief that the sun was the center of our solar system, not the earth, due to threat of death by the Catholic Church. Two years later, when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species and it quickly became a best-seller on Amazon.com, he faced sharp criticism from proponents of intelligent design such as Ben Stein who tried to discredit his work by denying the existence of the Galapagos islands. Two decades later, when the Large Hadron Collider was about to be tested, Muslims contested its use by claiming a scientist who was working on the project at the time once drew a picture of Muhammad in grammar school.

"We're not trying to play God," said Von Ludwig, "because there is nothing unethical about bringing large, carnivorous lizards back to life. Some have been saying that 'the dinosaurs are extinct for a reason.' It's as though people are afraid of dinosaurs."

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