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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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38 Responses to 425

  1. Rich says:

    Love the comic!

    (The unnecessary apostrophe…not so much!)

    Feel free to delete this post

  2. I know a few Hybrid’s meaning they are not fully human. what’s an apostroph’e?

  3. Maggi says:

    Thanks Dennis, I could not believe my eye’s …

  4. marcus says:

    that hybrid has an upside down cross on his chest! Thus confirming many people’s fears about the ethics of such experimentation…

  5. Maggi says:

    That is not a cross, it is the worldwide cartoonish symbol for ribs and breastbone.

  6. k-h-s says:

    Is that centaur deaf?
    no.. no..
    He’s been shot in the head by an arrow!
    no.. no..
    He’s toking a bong!

    see one sin leads to another! lol


    actually I think he’s eating a candle stick holder :)

  7. wayne says:

    I was thinking about doing some hot pepper seed saving this summer in hopes of a new hybrid… if it comes out with a cross I could be rich…

  8. jonbirch says:

    hi rich… no need to delete your post… we are none of us perfect. it was an awful error on my part for which i humbly apologise. you’ll see it is now corrected… now, if you could just check the other 424 for me that would be great. :-)

    you lot are very cheeky! :-)

  9. jonbirch says:

    hi wayne… when you say ‘you could become RICH’, do you mean ‘Rich’ who corrected my typo? if so, maybe you could proof read cartoons 1 to 222 and he could do the rest. :-)

  10. Carole says:

    I’d like to start a campaign for the return of the superfluous apostrophe. I had grown to accept and, yes, love the cartoon complete with its flaws.

  11. jonbirch says:

    what other flaws are there? i’m getting paranoid now. :-)

  12. Carole says:

    Oh, give over! I was trying to be nice! There’s no pleasing some people! ;)

  13. Chris F says:

    Those of us coming late to this cartoon have no idea where the apostrophe was!
    I understand the fear in people engendered by the prospect of hybrid embryos – the ear grafted onto the back of a mouse some years ago seemed grotesque enough
    But I think we should be careful not to reject something being used as a research tool to discover ways of treating some conditions that have no help at present.
    The reality is that the human embryo can come to live birth with small chromosomal changes – but anything with the major change of other species chromosomal material incorporated into the genome – it just aint going to survive.
    There are other aspects to the ethics of this of course. But I question the current hostile reaction of the Christian community.
    Sorry – everyone is being funny and I’m being horribly serious!

  14. su says:

    I love that romantic beasti, though doubt embryo research will produce anything so stylish. I have to say though, personally, that finding the government feels so free and easy with alarming scientific experiments corresponds with the lack of respect they have show in other areas.

  15. zefi says:

    I thought that’s a product of evolution…?

  16. jonbirch says:

    chris f… finally. someone responding to the theme… :-) it’s a biggy and images of ears on mice do nothing to help the argument do they.

    i would really like to see far more debate in the public domain. it’s too important an issue to just be left to the few who seem do be making all the decisions. i can see arguments both ways, but i’d like to hear it debated sensibly and soberly. somehow i doubt that’ll happen.

    i think it’s more a product of imagination zefi. :-)

    carole… what i meant to say was ‘thank you’. :-)

  17. becky says:

    Jon – Francis Collins, an evangelical Christian and director of the humane genome project, has noted the differences between abortion and the use of stem cells for medical research – here in the states, his words fall on deaf ears all too often.

  18. Carole says:

    Su has made a good point. I think a lot of the hostility from the Christian camp comes from lack of trust in the British government. When the public consultation document on the review of the work of the Human Fertilisation and Ebryology Association was put up for public scrutiny, some say that the tactics of the government were cynical. The review was ‘hidden in plain view’ ie it was put out very quietly and with a short consultation period. The make-up of the HFEA has been criticised as lacking balance. And the use of the statutory instrument has left open possibilities for the law to be changed without full debate in parliament.

    I cannot speak from the perspective of someone who has been affected by a genetic condition but I’m pretty sure that if I were, I would want no stone left unturned in the search for a cure. However, I do have deep suspicions that the honourable intentions of many research scientists will be hijacked by the pecuniary interests of others. I do fear that when you give these people a foot in the door, there is no knowing where they might end up. There is no knowing how many ‘defective hybrids’ will end up in the bin. It just makes me feel very uneasy.

  19. k-h-s says:

    sorry for avoiding the real subject matter Jon..
    It just makes me feel all weirded out.

    so with my lack of composure,
    I have little to offer the debate.

    ask me in a few days time.


  20. jonbirch says:

    that’s alright khs… i was only teasing. :-)

    becky… i shall go find out what francis collins has to say.

    su has made a good point indeed carole. trust is everything in issues such as this. there are two polarised views which i keep hearing. i still don’t know what i think. but looking at the way things usually go (thinking of drugs companies and the huge riches they make out of those who suffer) and looking at the way the splitting of the atom went… i too am uneasy.
    it wouldn’t be such a problem for me if i was sure of those in authority and their respect for human life. but as we’ve seen from iraq, the treatment of that country and our very own soldiers… hmmmm.

  21. ron says:

    As far as the genetic experiments might go, the picture would be fine.
    Except he/she wouldn’t be holding a musical instrument. It would be a weapon, wouldn’t it?
    I live in America and things don’t seem that different from over here.

  22. becky says:

    Jon – Given Collins is an evangelical and an internationally renowned scientist, I see him as someone who can be a bridge builder. Here’s an interview that goes into depth re: his thoughts on this subject:


  23. jonbirch says:

    hi becky. trouble sleeping so got up for a bit… just read that article. truly fascinating and thoughtful stuff. a very interesting man indeed. i’m glad he corrected himself later on in the interview over the ‘god existing outside of time etc…’ type stuff. that’s a very annoying phrase that i’ve heard people use often and is meaningless and makes no sense at all… but he’s keen to make ammends later and express himself better on that subject.
    his ideas on god being the author of the evolutionary process are quite beautiful and i found him putting words to my own thoughts on the subject.
    he is clearly a deeply christian and hard thinking man and his views and thoughts on stem cell research are very thoughtful and far less glib and ‘trotted out’ than you usually hear from either side of the ‘debate’.
    he isn’t specifically asked about hybrid embryos… i’d be fascinated to know what his specific thoughts on that were. i think you can extrapolate what he might say but i’d hate to make that assumption.
    thanks for the thoroughly interesting link. more food for thought.

    i’m going to try and sleep again now. :-)

  24. becky says:

    Take care of yourself bud. Sleep is critical (speaking as someone who doesn’t always practice what she preaches). That’s why I get soooo irritated with Dawkins (who can’t stand Collins BTW) is that he keeps harping on any scientist who believes in God as though they’re part of the “creationist crowd” when that’s clearly not the case. I think you’d enjoy Collins’ book “The Language of God.”

  25. Robb says:

    I had something to say but now I’ve forgotten it because all I can think is “Dawkins is an $&%*£”.

    Oh yeah. Didn’t God build this in to some species? Mules for example. Ligers and zorses….

  26. Carole says:

    Yeah Robb, and I bet their parents had more fun in the process. So if after a night of excess you suddenly had the compelling urge, not to eat a dona kebab, but to produce a hybrid creature, what animal would you choose to amalgamate with?

  27. JF says:

    Seems a lot of people feel threatened and angered by Dawkins and his ilk. This I have never understood.

    Either your faith is sufficiently strong to withstand the probings of non-believers, or it is not. In the former case, Dawkins is “wrong”, in the latter, he is “right”.

    What is there to get upset about?

    At least he stimulates debate about the central aspects of our existence by arguing his own considered convictions. I wish there was more stuff like that on TV and in the bookshop.

    I will watch the link posted at #22. Thanks for that.

  28. jonbirch says:

    i think the thing is jf… he may stimulate debate but he won’t actually himself debate as becky points out, so he winds people up. he is a very proud fundamentalist lacking in any humility and scornful of those who hold differen views… there are plenty of christians who are equally as annoying for all the same reasons. i gather ‘the dawkins delusion’ by Alister McGrath and Joanna Collicutt McGrath is actually better argued and well worth a read… not read it myself so i can’t comment.

  29. Robb says:

    Sorry JF, Dawkins doesn’t threaten me – he annoys me. He annoys me by throwing scientific reason out of his pram to persue his predefined conclusions. Science works the other way around. He does it in a populist way. He does to science what George Bush does to St Augustins theories.

    Let him probe away…

  30. Robb says:

    there are plenty of christians who are equally as annoying for all the same reasons

    BTW, I don’t discriminate. They annoy me as much if not more than Dawkins. Primarily because they throw all the theological tools out of the pram to have a fight with Dawkins!

    Just look at this crap. If you want to be even more annoyed, search for the articles written by people who were duped into being interviewed for a different film with a different title who found themselves edited down to a two minute clip in it. I am with Dawkins ilk on this one! “We represent Jesus and we have the ethics of a sewer rat…. in love”.

  31. Chris F says:

    You’re right not to trust the scientists/politicians – of course if there’s a financial interest things will be abused – so yes, I too feel uneasy. Especially as there seem to be better scientific alternatives now anyway.
    But I’m also very uneasy indeed about the bandwagon approach of some Christians who seem to oppose this and other issues on the grounds of a traditional interpretation (=sometimes over-literal) of scripture. Surely Jesus turned traditional interpretations on their head when love demanded a fresh approach – a fulfilling of the original intention. Thus, healing on the sabbath – good being done right in front of the eyes of the establishment who labelled it “of the devil”
    So – what if someone is cured by means of this research? Does the end justify the means? Do we rejoice at the good we can see – or label it demonic?
    More questions than answers so far!

  32. becky says:

    The problem is that our ethics have not caught up with the technology in part because of this divide created by extremists on both side – when both sides are needed to help us moving forward.

    Here in the states, I’ve lived through enough havoc caused by extremists on both sides who have advocated that their will be done – this has resulted in shoddy science being taught in some public schools, Christmas displays that have become part of the fabric in a community being removed on the grounds they might “offend” someone, refusing to allow a Christian after-school group to meet on campus though the science club is allowed to meet, refusal to fund any stem cell research projects and the list does on and on and on. That’s the danger of Dawkins.

  33. jonbirch says:

    yeh becky… it’s the danger of fundies like dawkins and the literalist fundy christians at the other extreme. i can’t stand both positions with equal weight.

    i like francis collins argument, one i’ve heard before… that if evolutionary survival ,of the fittest is the only driving force then how come in humanity there is a deep cross cultural need to go against that. ie. people giving their lives to save others, or the strong desire to see people made well, or the need to see injustice dealt with… i guess you could argue that these martyrs and good hearted folk are the weak ones, but i know who i’d rather share the planet with.

    ‘Primarily because they throw all the theological tools out of the pram to have a fight with Dawkins!’ don’t they just robb.

    chris f… i am in agreement with you. more questions than answers… both sides of the argument are accused by the other of not caring about human life. the whole truth is not fully found in either position in my view. both claim the moral high ground. why do our authorities and experts only seem to deal in black and white… my life is a myriad shades of grey and i suspect that is true of many of us. we have all known or know someone for whom this research may possibly bring hope, very often people we love a great deal… but the issue seems so much greater than any one of our individual concerns.

    diane abbott (british politician/labour back bencher) gave the catholic church spokeswoman a hard time on andrew neils ‘this week’ programme last thursday. she seemed to be condemning her for not caring about those who might benefit from this research. to be fair, the spokeswoman could have been better prepared it seemed to me… but none-the-less if this is the level of maturity to be found in a debate about such a serious issue then frankly it’s a little bit of a worry.

  34. jonbirch says:

    carole… i’ve been thinking about the question you asked robb… ‘what animal would you choose to amalgamate with?’… i thought about this re. myself and have come to the conclusion that i am already crossed with a bear… a grumpy brown one.
    has anyone seen the brilliant ‘napoleon dynamite’ movie? a something of nothing film about a geeky nerdy school kid. it ‘s a work of genius filmed with almost no budget… this conversation reminded me of the scene where he talks about his favourite animal. the film is a masterpiece, if you haven’t seen it, do. :-)

  35. becky says:

    Jon – check out Joan Roughgarden (Evolution and Christian Faith) – she argues how survival of the fittest goes against the notion of how those who survive are those who are in communities whereas when we’re isolated we die – she then ties in her scientific thoughts with St. Paul’s metaphors of the body of Christ. I got chills reading her.

  36. kate says:

    Re #35 and survival of the fittest … surely that argument totally depends on how you define ‘fittest’. Survival of the fittest surely means survival of those best suited to the environment they inhabit, and if inhabiting the human environment well means having developed social skills to the point of having a community to live amongst, then it becomes survival of the most socially able.

    But I have absolutely no idea on the topic though, I’m just playing devils advocate and thought I noticed a flaw of logic.

    Personally I have no problem with the idea of survival of the fittest as a scientific notion, I’ve seen it appear to be true on many occasions — I just think that it’s not my theological standpoint, that we might have to run counter to nature even by loving as-close-to-selflessly those who are not the fittest, strongest, most able, socially developed, enjoyable to be around, successful etc. Not that I’m any good at that!

  37. Robb says:

    counter to nature even by loving as-close-to-selflessly those who are not the fittest, strongest, most able, socially developed, enjoyable to be around, successful etc.

    But that in some respects is a result of the instincts associated with survival of the fittest. The motherly/fatherly instinct is to protect – in order to pass the genes on through your offspring.

    Where it is counter to nature is when those instincts are aimed in other directions. This is possibly down to the clan/tribe nature of ancient humans in that until recently people were all related in some way to their community. I am Connor McLeod of the clan McLeod and there can be only one!!

  38. wayne says:

    Jon– I meant rich as in selling peppers with crosses on e-bay. Rich has to do all 400 by himself.

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