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“What Has Science Done?” is an expression conveying astonishment or horror at the power of scientific experiments or manmade creations. It is often used to caption images depicting bizarre inventions and photoshopped animal hybrids similar to Where is Your God Now?.
The catchphrase originated in the pilot episode “Rabbot” for the Adult Swim cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which aired on December 30th, 2000. In the episode, after a rabbit-like robot named “Rabbot” escapes from a laboratory, the character Dr. Weird laments the circumstance by exclaiming “What has science done?”
On March 31st, 2002, the earliest known use of the phrase online was posted on page 197 of the “Cliff Yablonski Hates These People” photo gallery on the Internet humor site Something Awful. In the gallery, a photo of a boy in a green shirt is shown crouching over another boy with the caption “What has science done?!! Don’t answer that you inbred horselovers” (shown below).
The earliest known use of the phrase on the image board 4chan appeared in a bunny pictures thread in the /b/ (random) board on December 24th, 2006. In the thread, the expression was used as a reaction to a photoshopped picture of a rabbit with a cat’s face (shown below).
On July 22nd, 2007, the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club Forums member fuzzycuffs started a thread titled “What has science done?! Baconsalt”, which linked to a website for the bacon-flavored food product BaconSalt. On December 26th, 2008, the first Urban Dictionary definition was submitted by user Profani, who definined the phrase as an awe-struck expression.
On March 30th, 2009, NeoGAF forums member Eteric Rice submitted a thread titled “What has science done? … Objection!”, including an image of the actor Christian Bale photoshopped to resemble the character Phoenix Wright from the Nintendo DS video game series Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (shown below, left). On May 16th, 2010, DeviantArt user DashMartin submitted an illustration of a genetically engineered creature titled “What has science done??” (shown below, right).
On October 6th, 2011, Redditor bahji submitted a post titled “What has science done!”, featuring a photograph of an automated pancake machine (shown below, left). Prior to being archived, the post received over 2,800 up votes and 180 comments. On February 6th, 2012, Redditor GashcatUnpunished submitted another post titled “What has science done?!”, including a photograph of engineer Calvin Rickson with a caption explaining that he had designed a special bra to keep women’s nipples from pushing through the fabric (shown below, right).
On YouTube, footage of strange video game modifications have been uploaded with the title “What has science done?”