I am currently engaging in a debate about whether or not it is ethical to clone Neanderthals. I am not certain if it is or not. If we were to clone the Neanderthals it would be for human (homo sapien) reasons and this might be selfish. But then again there is some evidence that homo sapiens did in the Neanderthals. Do we owe it to them to bring them back? I am also thinking that they had intelligence and were very similar to us so maybe my inclinations that we should clone them are coming from some kind of empathy and desire to have a species similar to us be resurrected.
But they wouldn’t be the same as the Neanderthals of prehistoric times. They would be in a different context. Would they be able to cope and survive? Maybe they would like driving cars? Maybe they would like ice cream? Maybe they would like Detroit? Maybe they would have no ability to understand the concept of property and would walk into a store and grab everything they wanted and who would stop them? Maybe they would have encoded in their genes an instinctual hierarchy and murder wouldn’t be out of the question?
And we live in this world where such issues come up.
In the process of debating this issue, I raised that I would like our species to survive in the long run despite that we are dealing pretty ineffectually with major issues like our own over populating the planet and global warming. And we may just destroy the planet to the point where it cannot reboot and no life will be able to exist on earth. (If you have doubts about this check out this link about the toxic sludge devouring Hungary, it makes any monster movie look like a tea party: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/10/toxic-sludge-hungary-reservoir-collapse or this one: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/10/201010773641415530.html)
And if seriously considering the ethics of cloning Neanderthals, Hungarian toxic sludge, and the UN considering an ambassador to welcome any extraterrestrials (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8025832/UN-to-appoint-space-ambassador-to-greet-alien-visitors.html)that might stop by isn’t mind bending enough, then there is THE Tea Party. Ugh. Another post. Every time I hear a clip of Sarah Palin I get an image in my head of her with a red clown nose, big red lips, and driving the clown car that seems to remind me of the Tea Party. I described this image to a friend of mine and he thought that my image reminded him of the Joker that was Batman’s nemesis. Somehow I cannot see Batman as a liberal but the Democrats could use a hero right now despite that Michelle Obama was listed on the Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful Women along with Lady Gaga (http://www.forbes.com/wealth/power-women/list) who ranked higher than Nancy Pelosi, Sonia Sotomayor, and Sarah Palin.
And speaking of weirdness there is the movement out of Texas to rewrite history and take out liberal people like Thomas Jefferson and Thurgood Marshall, include organizations like the National Rifle Association and the Heritage Foundation, and rename the form of government in the US not a democracy but rather a republic because the word democracy is too close to the word democrat and shows a bias that children might learn to associate good things with something like a democracy or a democrat. The last bit I find particularly scary because the phrase “the democracy is dead, long live the republic” keeps toodling through my head. But when I get most of my news from the BBC and the Telegraph in the UK, the Christian Science Monitor, or the Al Jezeera News network because these offer more unbiased and extensive international and US news than anything on the major news networks in the US, it makes me wonder how healthy the democracy in the US is. Perhaps at this point in time the rights of citizens in the US are very strong and lean towards a type of representative democracy, but if no one knows what is going on can there really be an empowered citizenry?
So, in this highly changing time period where we can even consider seriously the idea of cloning Neanderthals, perhaps they wouldn’t want to come back to all this.
But maybe they would want to come back to listen to and dance to these two Japanese school girls sing Tom Lehrer’s The Elements Song. This made me smile today!