On Dinosaurs and Life After Life
I realize that some news is fake news, some news is real news, some news is good news, some news is bad news and some news is good news/bad news. Recently, I read in The Guardian this piece of news:
The woolly mammoth vanished from the Earth 4,000 years ago, but now scientists say they are on the brink of resurrecting the ancient beast in a revised form, through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering.
Speaking ahead of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston this week, the scientist leading the “de-extinction” effort said the Harvard team is just two years away from creating a hybrid embryo, in which mammoth traits would be programmed into an Asian elephant.
So in your thoughts, is that fake news, real news, good news, bad news or good news/bad news? Do you think you will be seeing one of these wooly mammoth offspring roaming around your neighborhood in the near future? How about you, do you think it’s possible that some generic version of you might still be roaming around in another 4,000 years?
Those of us who played with Dinosaurs when we were children or went and saw Jurassic Park probably think the return of the wooly mammoth is good news. I am not sure we would want raptors roaming the neighborhood, but a wooly mammoth or a vegetarian Titanosaur might be fun to see walking around. Of course, when an animal is twice as big as a school bus you kind of don’t want to run into them by mistake.
I am not much of a scientist so have really no idea how you resurrect something that is dead, especially if it has been extinct for over four thousand years. I have trouble re-starting a dead battery. Yet if scientists can manage to “de-extinct” something, and they can clone a sheep can it be long before people are going to want to bring back Buddha, Jesus and their aunt Ida?
If you can bring back Ida and the rest of humanity then how far off are we from a blending of cloning and de-extincting and making people immortal? With all the former members of the human race and animal kingdom sharing space I suppose we are going to need to send boat loads of people to other planets where they can live happily ever after. Fortunately it seems we have seven new ones that might very well be inhabitable.
I am not a big sci-fi guy, but I can see this unforeseen future in the not too distant horizon. How do you control and limit science from exploring its boundaries? We now live longer than our predecessors and want to continue to improve on that extension. Right now those with the resources have access to the best of science and medicine as well as those that happen to live in countries where those services are provided to all. But, what happens when the options for living are extended not just into living longer, but in being able to live again? And, more importantly, if you could sign up for a return visit would you?
People talk about sustainability so that we do not exhaust the resources that support us. We consciously recycle so as to create less of a carbon footprint, but does sustainability also mean we tell those scientists not to resurrect the wooly mammoth? Do we protect our future by limiting it or expanding it?