The Emperor's New Genes

Should we abandon faith in science?

To celebrate the millennium, the emperor was originally promised at least 100,000, a pair for every day of the 300 years he hoped to reign. But when the huge chests were delivered to his palace, he found only 20,000, and even those were padded out with huge bales of junk material.

“These will only last me 60 years, the lifespan of a mere mortal!” he complained.

“No matter, sir. In what we have delivered you will eventually find the cure for all those ailments from which you might die. Those will prolong your life, even ultimately achieve immortality. Just wait ten more years and you will see the magic potions appear in their hundreds.”

The emperor waited patiently. But the genes failed to deliver their magic.

“Where are all the hundreds of magic potions?”

The courtiers meekly reply: “Sir, it’s rather disappointing. You can count them on the fingers of one hand.”

“What went wrong?”

“Well, it’s embarrassing but we rea

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