More B.o.B-ishness: Human Cloning

Science Denier Hall of Shame's photo.Last time, we dissected Bobby Ray Simmons (B.o.B) batch of tweets that a conspiracy from ages past is dead set on maintaining a deep, dark secret: that the world is in fact flat. The reasons for the alleged conspiracy were not, and never are, given.

Further, Bobby seems to like to present himself as a sort of a thought-freedom warrior that must constantly be on guard against the forces of the alleged conspirators. The following video shows the true depth of the paranoia: https://youtu.be/v5-My8Rx6uw , assuming this is not all just a publicity stunt.

Today, we shall address another topic of silliness, human cloning. We’ll stick to the same format as last time. We’ll analyze (and, honestly, ridicule) each tweet as it came about.

Again, remember the reasons we do this. Artists, especially in the music industry, often have a rather large youth following. People of that age may have not yet developed the analytical skills necessary to be aware that an artist may not be the best source of scientific information. And they will vote, at some point.

So, let’s get right to the tweets, and we’ll follow up with a brief dismissal of the entire ‘human cloning’ topic.

• Every time you see a celebrity “randomly” loose their mind = cloning center
OK, first, it’s ‘lose’. LOSE! The phrase ‘loose their mind’ has no meaning! (Sorry about that… IT’s always annoyed me when people confuse ‘lose’ and ‘loose’.)
Great, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can address the alleged point of the tweet.
It asserts that the second of the following two scenarios is more probable.

Scenario #1: In the entertainment industry, where excessive partying, drug use and aberrant behavior are not only the norm, but actually contribute to the fame and success of some of the biggest names we know, occasionally a performer will lose (see? LOSE!) their grip on reality.

Scenario #2: Cloning Center

Sorry, Bobby, if the reality actually WAS scenario #2, having either the original, or the clone, publicly act as if they had lost their mind would be counterproductive. It would draw attention to what should be a ‘secret switch’.

• hundreds of kids go missing each year = cloning center
How do you dare make use of the tragedy of missing children to promote an invented threat with no evidence whatsoever?
Again, which scenario is more logical and probable?
Scenario #1: Thousands (that’s right, thousands. Not hundreds) of young people are either kidnapped or coerced via drugs or other means by truly evil people for truly evil purposes such as human trafficking. Many more have lost hope in their situations and run away, often falling victim to the same people mentioned in the first sentence.
Scenario #2: Cloning Center
This one is particularly bad, as if people are convinced that scenario #2 is in fact the correct one, we are choosing to pursue a false conspiracy instead of the real, known and demonstrated conspiracy of human trafficking and the tragedy of ruined lives.
Sorry, no humor or clever sarcasm in response to this tweet. The very idea of using the plight of missing children to further the goals of a conspiracy theory fills me with anger.

• when a celebrity in great health suddenly suffered a stroke, heart attack, aneurism = cloning center
The statistics show that there is no greater instance of stroke, heart attack or aneurism in celebrities versus the general population that are exposed to similar risk factors. These might include diet, stress level, sleep schedule, drinking… And even if there were, wouldn’t the goal of cloning be the quiet replacement of the original with a controlled copy? How would that even work when publicly killing off or incapacitating the original? If this is ‘them’ doing ‘conspiracy, they suck at it..

• Notice a celebrity who have tattoos or piercings mysteriously vanish ? = cloning center
The notion of celebrity is largely about appearance. A performer, model or actor/actress may, for personal reasons, desire a tattoo, piercing or other permanent or semi-permanent body marking.
Anyone had any unsightly skin issues appear just in time for Senior Prom? What saved the day? Cover-up.
There exists a much more effective (and much more expensive) form of cover-up that is commonly used in the entertainment industry. It is capable of making tattoos or other body markings undetectable for short periods of time. When an event such as an acting role, modelling appearance or public appearance are not the appropriate place for visible body markings, celebrities have this option, and it works.

Now on to the topic of cloning in general.

Is cloning possible? Well, since it’s been done with animals, obviously it’s possible, but here are a few little details of which the Human Cloning Conspiracy Theorists are apparently unaware…

1. If you wish to clone a ten-year-old animal, it will take approximately ten years. That’s right, cloned life forms don’t grow any faster than naturally born ones. There is no known technology for accelerating the process.

2. Clones are not identical to the original. Identical twins share the same DNA, as do clone and original. There are always at least small differences. This is because not all of the development process is determined at the DNA level. The process of cellular reproduction and differentiation (the process by which generic cells morph into cells with a specific purpose, like heart, liver or brain cells) leaves room for variation.

3. The ‘Cloning Center’ conspiracy theory implies that the alleged clones can be programmed to act in a specific way. Since the alleged clones are really ‘just another human’, why waste the time and money making a clone? If a clone can be ‘programmed’, so can the original.

If you wish to learn more about what cloning is and isn’t, I recommend that you start here: http://www.fda.gov/…/SafetyHeal…/AnimalCloning/ucm055512.htm
As always, thanks for reading!
– Jeff

Reader’s Request: B.o.B and the Flat Earth

Science Denier Hall of Shame's photo.Troy Lovett and John Davis both requested that we address B.o.B and his newfound belief in a flat Earth.
“Please for the love of science pin that idiot rapper B.O.B. to a wall for his idiot comments about the earth being flat.”

We will. Oh, indeed we will. Now that the flurry of activity has died down, we will analyze this public failure of logic.

But first, let us address why it is important that we do so. This particular artist has a rather large youth following. People of that age may have not yet developed the analytical skills necessary to be aware that an artist may not be the best source of scientific information. And they will vote, at some point.

Bobby Ray Simmons (B.o.B.) has made a fair amount of noise on Twitter regarding his belief that we exist on a flat Earth instead of an oblate spheroid. For simplicity, we shall address his tweets*, identified by bullet points, one at a time.
*NOTE: some of the tweets have since been deleted from Twitter. The Internet, however, never forgets.

• I’m going up against the greatest liars in history … you’ve been tremendously deceived
-Name the liars, please. You can’t possibly be saying that Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras), Plato, Aristotle, Eratosthenes, Seleucus of Seleucia, Posidonius, Strabo, Claudius Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Aryabhatta, Isidore of Seville, Beda Venerabilis, Anania Shirakatsi, Al-Ma’mun, Al-Farghānī, Biruni and Ferdinand Magellan were all members of the same club and decided to deceive the world with the same lie, even though they were separated by time, geography and culture?

• No matter how high in elevation you are… the horizon is always eye level … sorry cadets… I didn’t wanna believe it either.
-This ‘eye-level’ argument is annoying. We are to believe that, in my case, the horizon is 5’6” high? (the height of my eyes. I’m 6’ tall.) And OF COURSE the horizon appears to be at eye level… You are looking at it. It is in the center of your field of view. If it were 3 degrees lower, you’d never notice, because the feedback system in our neck and eyes are not designed to perform this type of measurement.

• The cities in the background are approx. 16miles apart… where is the curve ? please explain this
-One must take into account one’s own elevation, the elevation of the other city and the curvature of the Earth, plus some variable things most people don’t really think about, like atmospheric refraction. The following link explains this in great detail. http://goo.gl/iMBsfA

• y’all be like… “you’re not high enough to see the curve…keep going
-This is essentially correct. Show some appreciation for how large the Earth actually is.

• that awkward moment when you realize you’ve been indoctrinated into a heliocentric belief system
-Heliocentrism is not a belief system, it’s a model used to predict the motions of the planets and other celestial bodies that orbit good old Sol, our favorite star. It’s also the only model that works, because the math becomes unmanageable when predicting the movement of other planets and their moons if we use the geocentric model. It only works in the context of our solar system. For a larger context, a different model must be used in which our star, along with every other star in our galaxy, orbits the gravitational center of our galaxy.

• A lot of people are turned off by the phrase “flat earth” … but there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know… grow up
-Evidence is precisely what tells us that we are on a relatively spherical Earth.

Science Denier Hall of Shame's photo.

It appears that he has also taken a liking to other tinfoil-hat theories as well.

• there’s wind on the moon ?
-This obviously refers to the hotly debated (and thoroughly debunked) claim that the flag planted in the lunar surface was ‘fluttering in the breeze’.
Sorry, Bobby, but the motion of the flag was exactly what one would expect from a flexible material in a low-gravity, near-zero friction environment. After the pole was moved, it oscillated around a point of equilibrium before settling into its final position.

• Remember when they “lost” to footage to the 1st moon landing
-Nothing was ‘lost’. Raw footage that was transmitted via NASA’s ‘slow scan’ format was converted in real time and broadcast. These are recorded. The issue with not having the original tapes, which, admittedly, were erased and re-used due to a shortage of blank tapes, only became an issue when a search for the clearest images possible was undertaken in the late ‘90s. Sorry, nothing conspiratorial occurring here.

Perhaps the best advice ever given during his career as science-denier:
• if my tweets are rattling the tiny little cages of your reality … the unfollow button is right there

And, of course, the most telling, from January 27th…
• just took my meds
Incorrect dosage, Bobby. Obviously incorrect dosage.

BONUS: Neil deGrasse Tyson Responds: https://youtu.be/XHBZkek8OSU

Thanks for reading!
– Jeff