(Admittedly, there’s probably already a trope that means the same thing as this [I can’t believe there wouldn’t be]. If so, someone give me a heads up. Otherwise, I’m keeping it.)
In fiction, the motivation for scientific discoveries seems to occasionally be the same reason mountaineers kill themselves climbing dangerous peaks: “Because it’s there.” Often, scientists (especially mad scientists) don’t seem to know what their “point” was in pursuing a scientific discovery. They end up creating an abomination or horrible death weapon that seems to have no real purpose other than to create a new problem for mankind to deal with. It doesn’t benefit mankind, either now or in the forseeable future, and, if it has a potential usage, the risks quite outweigh the benefits.
In other words, the only legitimate reason anyone would have made this discovery or invention is they were drunk at the time.
This trope doesn’t include things that had a legitimate purpose that was benign, but ended up having an unintended side effect when the science went out of control. For example, the radiation experiment that made Spider-Man (in the comic) wasn’t Drunk Science because no one ever intended for a spider to fall into the beam and get irradiated. However, it does include legitimate science that was tested in a very stupid passion. For example, in “Deep Blue Sea”, when they try to find a way to increase human intelligence, they could have used lab mice as a test organism…but oh no, they had to use sharks. And not even two to three foot dogfish sharks, but Great Whites. Perhaps the researchers should have marinaded themselves before coming to work every day while they were at it…
“Batman: The Animated Series” – First, we have a mad scientist who thinks half-man, half-bat hybrids are necessary to continue human evolution. Later, we have one who thinks the same things in regards to half-man, half-cat hybrids. In truth, the only legitimate reason for this science is to provide Batman with ironic enemies to beat up.
“Jurassic Park” – The book or the movie works for this one, really. Now, obviously, cloning dinosaurs and putting them in a park for the viewing public is a quick road to becoming rich beyond your wildest dreams. But is there any reason they would have for, after cloning velociraptors, and finding them to be so intelligent and deadly that they couldn’t keep them in the regular park but needed to store them in an extra-security pen where the public couldn’t even see them, not destroying the existing ones, let alone stopping cloning more? People didn’t even know what velociraptors were before the book and movie came out. It’s not like the viewing public demanded to have them. They probably could have sold the park on the T-Rex alone.
“Splice” – What could possibly have more potential negative consequences than splicing DNA of a human with that of various deadly animals to create a totally new predatory organism?
“Species” – …How about doing the same thing with alien DNA?
“Star Wars: A New Hope” – I’m guessing there’s some sort of statistical likelihood of occurrence algorithim in the Galactic Empire that decides whether a rather critical design flaw is worth addressing, because there’s no legitimate reason why you wouldn’t fix a problem that would enable a tiny starfighter to blow up a moon-sized space station that took 18 years to build in one shot. And no crud about the Empire not knowing about it. That one scene indicates they knew perfectly well that the Rebel Alliance was trying to shoot that one thermal exhaust port and that if they succeeded the Death Star would go up in smoke. Yet on that note, why do the Rebels have targetting computers that can only target the area from a horizontal angle, and then only if they spend about two full minutes going through a trench?
“Armageddon” – The equipment sent with the team that lands on the asteroid includes a remote-controlled minigun. …Why? Especially since something that heavy would require a lot more fuel to put in space? Did they expect aliens to be defending the asteroid?
SyFy Original Movies – Happens all the time. Even worse, after the When Things Go Wrong moment, the original scientist usually becomes an Omega Jerk (see my previous posts) and insists on salvaging the project until the monster gets around to eating him/her. Listen, you can give me a six hour elaborate presentation on the benefits of producing large amounts of spider silk for industrial applications…I’ll still never think “make giant spiders” is a good idea.
Pretty Much Every Self Destruct Device Ever – Why do people in the future feel the need to make all of their large ships and facilities be capable of blowing up? And why is the detonator always located deep inside the facility or ship, so that it’s as far as possible from the escape routes once it gets set? Are people in the future more suicidal than they are now? Do they believe in “going down with the (whatever)”?