Monday, September 17, 2007

I Can't Believe It!

I started out writing a very different blog post this morning, but with Eckerd internet acting a little funky, I decided to wait on my posting. That gave me the time to discover something entirely different. "Top" lists are extremely popular in our culture, from David Lettermen to the chain-letter-like Internet "memes." Alex Boese has published on his site the Top 20 Most Bizarre Experiments of All Time. Boese maintains the Museum of Hoaxes Web site, however this list is based on his actual research for a book titled Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments.

While each experiment mentioned is truly disturbing, I think what I found to be the most disquieting were the two-headed dog and monkey-head transplant experiments. The fact that the United States looked at an experiment where a puppy's head was grafted to a larger dog as a challenge in science experimentation--a challenge which lead to the grafting of a monkey head onto a different body--seems unbelievable. The Cold War era inspired such terror in people that many decisions were questionable at best. The McCarthy trials were, of course, the seminal example, but the advent of these experiments shows how far Cold War fear drove even so-called rational disciplines.

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