The Strange Case of Dr. Stevenson
By Alec Rawls © 1998. (3500 words) Scheduled to be published in The Thinker, 10/98.

Laboratory diary of Dr. Richard Lynn Stevenson, Professor of Human Genetics, Stanford University. Start of experimental log for test of Lamarkian hypothesis.

9:00 AM, Day 1, November 22nd in the year of our lord two thousand ninety seven.: Took first injection of reconstituted diasporic DNA. Dosage: .0005ml of DNA in 10cc of saline.

I am nervous, but excited and optimistic. All humans have a small percentage of the full diasporic genome already in their chromosomes, so it is not really a foreign agent, and since the complete diasporic genome is not being placed into my own chromosomes, but is merely being made available in my bloodstream, whatever effect it has should be much diluted. Very likely it will have no effect, but according to the Lamarkian hypothesis, this DNA is engramatic (it encodes synaptic patterns). My hope is that it may induce a "memory RNA" type effect. Since the effect, if it occurs, will only be directly observable within the mind of the subject, investigative progress requires that it be tested on a human being, capable of reporting internal mental phenomena. The danger being low, and the restrictions on experimentation with human subjects being high, I am expediting matters by experimenting on myself.

I expect to take the next week to write a leisurely account of the antecedents to, and prospects for, this experimental course. By then, I should be beginning to register whatever effects will occur. Standard memory RNA effects take several days to begin to manifest and several weeks to peak, seeming to follow the same time course as other forms of patterned basic learning in humans, though the exact mechanism through which memory RNA can transmit learning from a trained to a naive specimen is one of the great unsolved puzzles of human biology and intelligence. Every step of the bio-chemical process from genotype to phenotype has been resolved for the entire human phenome. All the elemental physical processes of the human body and brain have been completely understood for fifty years now. Yet the emergent properties of those processes, in the form of human intelligence, have remained beyond our comprehension.

Modern electronics can mimic exactly the input output behavior of individual neurons, and we have compiled these artificial neurons in just the way that they are arranged in the large scale structures of the brain, yet we have still not succeeded in generating the first sign of artificial consciousness. This is just what we should expect. How can a mind achieve intelligent thought unless it has something intelligent to think? The processing power alone is not enough. Sentience requires knowing how to use it.

Engrams could provide this missing element and the most promising source of engrams is this diasporic DNA that I recently discovered. Not only is it from the engramatic portion of the human genome, it has an unanticipated coalescent property. Its age can be determined (from the accumulation of random base pair substitutions across different samples) to be over one hundred million years! Yet its meaningful structure is identical in all samples. What accounts for this stability? Is the essential emergent property of intelligence somehow encoded here? What a propititious place to look!

Day 1, 11:00 A.M.: Something is already happening. Big things. Gorgeous and terrible. Feelings, emotions, sweeping across my being like storms across a plain. Agonies, love, purity, turmoil, turning in sequence. The mechanism must be different than I hypothesized. Somehow the engrams are able to impose on my synaptic structure as it already exists. Perhaps the presence of the entire set of engrams allows them to gain synergistic strength from each other. I am an idiot! I should have injected just 10% of the reconstituted diasporic whole. I was so certain that the effects would be diluted that I wanted to let the parts of the whole work together however they can. Now my competence may be impaired.

Struggling to maintain. Chemicals of emotion dumping into my brain by the bucketful. The heartbreak! What did this creature live through?! And it was a creature. It lived once. It roamed the Earth. It ruled the Earth. Tragedy, and strength. Those are its pillars. My mind can still function amidst this turmoil because of that strength. There is a purity to it. I can look inside it. I can be it, and in being it, I know what it is: it is the strength of love!

Love values all, hence it craves to understand all, so that it can know how to save and create value. Yes. Love loves the truth, all truth, because only the truth matters, and love is about what matters. Deceit and manipulation have their uses, which give them a door in. Only love, with its love for the truth, can keep deceit from overreaching and destroying understanding, shrinking the mind, creating stupidity and baseness.

Is love the key to intelligence? Yes!

Day 1, 4:00 P.M.: I just ran for three hours and have now been resting. I am not hungry yet, but I sense that when I am hungry, it will be a ravenous hunger. I fear for my food! (What an odd thought.)

I started out on the bicycle but it was too slow. Running is my sense of speed, of search, of hope. What a joyous creature this is inside of me! I stay away from those shadows of heartbreak. He stays away from them. To touch them is to fall into an abyss. Their merest passing engulfs me and I must rely on his pillar of wisdom -- valuing everything, not just the most important thing -- to bring me back into the light. And he does it so completely! Such happiness, to look out on a new world, and such a magnificent new world it is, filled with value and opportunity! The Pacific Ocean from the top of Windy Hill: my God, the Earth is even more beautiful now.

Day 1, 8:00 P.M.: When my hunger hit, I grabbed a dog by the throat! Not a little dog. A full grown Doberman! A dog that could rip a person apart, yet it yelped in terror. In the instant it looked in my eyes it saw the moment of its death and quailed, weak with fear even as it filled with adrenaline. I dropped it in a shivering pile and ran. What the hell have I become?

Taking utmost control of my behavior, I went to the Safeway and picked up six roasted chickens, which I promptly started devouring. I found myself full after three (and they looked so small). After cleaning up, I am myself again. I mean, I am sane again, whatever hybrid thing I am. My mind is clearer, better, stronger from this transformation. I know things, important things. I am not sure what they are yet, but I know them anyway. I could act on them if I had to. I could do right, on the instant, with perfect competence. What battle could such a creature possibly have lost?

I also feel the stirrings of another drive. It will not take six birds to satisfy this need, only one. I can tell that much. It is not just a sex drive, but a love drive. But what if my one ... my Angela ... what if I have let her slip away? Far far away ... half a world away!

Day 1. 10:00 P.M.: Must maintain scientific discipline. Less time than anticipated. Must record synopsis of Lamarkian hypothesis and discovery of diasporic DNA.

Hypothesis first formulated exactly one hundred years ago by Mr. Knowitall in an article in Stanford's own Thinker publication, now (and even then?) the world's leading topical forum.

In the first great evolutionary debate, Lamark theorized that evolution proceeded by creatures adapting to their environments, then passing on their adaptions to their offspring. Darwin countered with the theory of mutation and natural selection. Darwin was proved to be right by Mendel's discovery of the genetic mechanism--a complete set of genes from each parent, some dominant, some recessive. We are born with these determining factors which we then pass on according to how well they equip us to pass them on.

Mr. Knowitall noted that Mendelian genetics, while constituting a Darwinian mechanism, does not exclude the existence of Lamarkian mechanisms but could provide the vehicle for them. The female has all her eggs fully formed at birth. There is no way that her experiences can affect the genetic makeup that she passes on to her children. But the male makes his sperm as he goes.

In particular, Mr. Knowtall surmised that crystalized understanding might be encoded into messenger RNA engrams in a small area of the cerebellum that had been found to exhibit messenger RNA activity. (It surprised him that this function would occur in a primitive, pre-mammalian, part of the brain, but somehow my experience with appetite today makes it less surprising to me.) From the cerebellum, this messenger RNA would enter the bloodstream, where the hypothesis was that it would be culled out by the testes and incorporated into the genetic complement of the male gametes.

In the second decade of this century (with the development of ultra high speed DNA transcription technology), this hypothesized Lamarkian mechanism was verified by comparing men's DNA with the DNA in their sperm. Small but clear and systematic differences were found. Men turned out to be passing on (to both their male and their female children) genes that they had not themselves inherited.

As the human genome was deciphered, it was found that about 90% of the genome (inluding a lot of dross that is never activated) pertains the physical structure of the human being. That left 10% of the genome unaccounted for. The Lamarkian hypothesis is that this other 10% is the accumulated engrams of male learning (only a portion of it activated, presumably). This accumulated learning would provide structure to intelligence, and perhaps could be used to recreate its emergence. Unfortunately, science has not yet figured out how to decipher these engrams, just as we have not yet been able to figure out how intelligence emerges. These two problems are one and the same, according to the hypothesis. Solve one and you can solve the other.

I partly solved one. My extraordinary friend Dr. Robert Louis Davison last year discovered a general analytic solution for non-linear Markov processes. Using this tool, I have been able to map the raw base pair sequences to a higher order of structure. I do not yet know how to interpret this structure, but I have discovered that the engrammatic 10% of the human genome, when viewed at the level of its higher structure, contains a subset, strewn in pure form, throughout all the peoples of the world. Every genetic sample I tested contained a small fraction of this subset. It was once whole, but is now broken up in a diaspora, wandering throughout mankind. From numerous samples I have been able to reconstruct the diasporic whole. That is what I injected into my veins. That is what is now surging in my brain: a creature who once crystalized the most fundamentally important understanding: love as the key to intelligence. So essential is it that no compromised version has ever survived. To fail to love, to not value what there is to value, would create a mind that shrinks instead of grows. Its light would go out. Yet love is dangerous as well as essential, and the species met some terrible fate. That too is in the diasporic DNA. Looming. Threatening.

From a modern perspective, the tragic possibilities of love come as no suprise. We temper love, in order to survive. But this love drive that is building inside of me, it has a pure strength, heaping on the coal, channeling all, commiting life to love. Life will be here, or nowhere. No wonder the damned creature went extinct! He drove himself nuts! Yet there is such power here... a grasp that we no longer possess.

The drive is coming on, and it has a name, burning hotter by the hour: my Angela! I wrap her passionate love in my arms. Her heart is in my heart, her mouth in my mouth, yet the more I feel, the more I feel falling away from me, as loss, and a dread of forever! The pain that is her absence is revealing itself to be everywhere, as I have always known, but can no longer transcend. I was deluding myself. Unwilling to need her (I had learned from my mistakes with women, you see) and caught up in my scientific schemes, I stepped off the foundations of my own life. Now I suddenly I realize that I am not flying, but am falling, and half of me may already be dashed on the rocks below--the half of me that is her--if I am too late, and the rest of me soon to be dashed beside her, if that is where our wholeness wakes. For it is waking. That much is beyond my control.

Day 2, 11/23/2097, 2:00 AM: My burning has reached a million degrees, and finally, serenity. I have passed through ten circles of Hell. There is no more of me to burn up. I am flame itself now, no longer hot, but simply my own temperature. Nay, I am cool, limpid. A long draught from a flowing summer spring.

A twig snaps a hundred yards away. I hear the distance through clear morning air and look up to see a thin canopy of treetops. I am home! Yet I am not really here. I am only an observer in this wooded glen. I hear voices, over that hillside. What is it? An archaeological dig! A secret is being unearthed. Must hurry. My temperature--just took it--is 106. I can hear their words! Ha ha. I record here my witness:

Paleontology:  a detective story 
(From the diary of Dr. R.L. Stevenson, 11/23/2097)

A beast from our mythology, 
The Lovosaurus Rex,
Became says anthropology, 
The Bunkosaurus next.

I heard the archaeologist
Relating what he'd found.
The Lovosaurus Rex, it seems,
Too well had stood its ground.

Feet unearthed were stuck in stone.
Flesh was withered to the bone.
Sloping back and hanging head
Is how I hear they found one dead.

How could such a thing have happened?
How so still when once impassioned?
What could slow and cease to beat
That fired a forge of such great heat?

I sit and ponder what I know
But fear to reap what knowledge sows:
That Love would fight if it was war,
That what love ceased
Was to implore.

But how could Bunkosaurus win
What Lovo was denied?
In what peculiar circumstance
Did Bunko come to thrive?

The Bunkosaurus of this time
Is seen the same in any clime.
He looks astute, although he's mute.
A source of fame, this pantomime?

Another clue I put in place.
A brace of comets fell from space.
They shook the Earth and all its ways.
Undid in one, God's seven days.

Oh what a dread and darksome day.
The more I see I turn away ...
That love had grown in openness
Till comets rained their mindlessness
And all that once was shared was lost,
The heart one knew amongst the cost.

Appearances became the judge. 
He was strong who wouldn't budge.

When Lovosaurus' heart would lift,
When Lovo made his hopes a gift,
The maid had learned by rule of thumb
That what was offered she should shun,
That each would win the best one could,
That who was eager lower stood.

So Eve would dream of Bunkosaurus,
Grand and fine above the chorus.
Never was her heart so sure
As when that placid brow was pure.
Didn't Lovo prove her quest?
If she's so good she'll win the best.

Another Lovo was no fool.
He knew of females to be cruel.
He hurt and scorned his own true Eve.
He taught the lessons she'd believe.

I see how now to make good sense
Of one last myth that lost me hence.
I think in fact I'll make it me
And cast my love not to the sea
But take this gold that I called mine,
Return the Rhinegold to the Rhine,
Throw the chains of love aside
And love unchained 
My own true bride.
				The End

2 days later at Stanford Medical Center, the Emergency ward:

Male doctor: "Have you figured out what is causing his fever?"

Female doctor: "We've made some headway in isolating the agent, and can see what it is doing to him, but not how."

"What is the agent?"

"That syringe he injected himself with? It contained residue of human genetic material. It is pieced together from the not yet understood part of the human genome. We have found accumulations of it in two locations: a small area of his cerebellum, and in his testes."

"His testes?"

"We need to run more tests. The DNA seems to be incorporated into his sperm making cells. Actually, we have found it in his sperm."

Male doctor: "What? Thats... That's... What does that portend for any children he might father?"

Female doctor (shaking her head): "Good question."

".... So what is causing his fever?"

"Another part of his cerebellum, a 'later' part in terms of the development of the brain, has become hyperactive. Somehow it is sending waves of effect out through his entire cereberal cortex. It is very odd, that a pre-mammalian part of the brain -- late pre-mammalian -- could be inducing content in the mammilian cortex in such a direct way. It is like a passion that is organizing all of thought."

Male doctor (taking a stab at it): "Like... love?"

Female doctor: "That is exactly what one of our neuro-biologists thought. He has studied brain activity during emotional states but he has never seen such a coherent relation between cerebellum and cortex, emanating -- we can trace the patterns of firing -- from the primitive to the intelligent. How can that be? Love, as a principle?"

Male doctor (opening his hands): "Christianity... "

Female doctor: Hmm. "Well, I'm an M.D., not a philosopher. Look here [she show's him Dr. Stevenson's charts]: his hormonal system is also hyperacting, sympathetically as best as I can tell. That is the proximate cause of his fever. It's like his throttle is stuck. This is what I am worried about. Last night I thought he was in for permanent damage if he did not get some relief soon. Now it seems that he is starting to adjust. His temperature has dropped to 103, which at least is sustainable, although the hyperactivities persist."

Nurse, escorting a woman: "Excuse me Doctor."

Female doctor: "What is it Sara?"

"Angela is here."

"You are Angela? From Santiago?"


"Dr. Stevenson has been in some kind of fevered semi-conscious state. He suffers mental anguish and hallucinations. The one constant is that he has been calling your name -- sometimes crying it out, as if he were searching for you, sometimes whispering it affectionately, as if you were there with him."

"Can I see him?"

"Of course. Come this way please."

They arrive at his room: "Go on in. We'll wait out here."

She enters.

Angela (squeezing Dr. Stevenson's hand): "Can you hear me sweetheart?"

Dr. Stevenson (sweating, tossing, moaning): "Angela! Is that you? Are you near? Angela!!"

"I am here beloved. I am here!"


Struggling out of his haze, he begins to gain awareness from her touch and opens his eyes: "Angela? Is that really you? Have you come back to me?"

Angela (pushing the hair back from his brow with her whole hand): "All you had to do was ask."

Dr. Stevenson: "And we'll be together always?"

Angela [nodding her head, a tear falling down her cheek]: "Yes."

Dr. Stevenson: "We'll fall back in love? And get married? And make babies?"

Angela [kissing his hand]: "Yes, yes, yes."

Contentment spreads across Dr. Stevenson's face as he bats his own wet eyes. Discovering the bedding atop him, he pulls the covers aside and gives a slight tug on Angela's hand. She kicks off her shoes and climbs into bed beside him. "Hee hee." "Ha ha ha."

"That part about making babies?" he asks her.


"You might not want to breast feed them."


Dr. Stevenson laughs: "You have a lot to learn about the man you just agreed to marry."

"Just don't think you can scare me out of it."

"Oh no. I'm planning on loving you into it."

As they kiss and become aroused, Angela worries about their surroundings: "Wait, honey no."

"Yes. I have to have you."

"But wait, not here."

"Yes, I have to molest you -- your front to your mouth -- with a -touch- just enough, and a push just enough, and enough and enough and enough and enough, till with all of my strength, still I couldn't be rough."

"Oh God."

"Like this."


"Like this kiss..."



The textbot Kidsafe™ has terminated your access to this story line. Please transfer to an adult-secure data device if you wish to learn what happens to Angela, Doctor Stevenson, Female Doctor, and other characters. Remember kids: Be Safe!

Editor's Note: In the fifty years since this diary entry was written by Dr. Stevenson, the scientific community's best guess about the original incarnation of the "Lovosaurus Rex" is that it was the Allosaurus. To see a depiction of a pair (naturally) of Allosauri, painted by paleontologist Dr. Robert Bakker, visit the web-site of The Tate Museum in Casper Wyoming at Click on Bakker art, Allosaurus Pair.


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