When “What If We” Becomes “But Should We?”
Posted by Jimi on February 22, 2012
As I was surfing around the Internet I trip over this article which of course made my lateral thinking mind immediately reflect upon the movie Jurassic Park. While it is all well and good that we were able to bring this specific flower back to life, so to speak, it begs the question of other, more prominent species, in the life of Earth. As the article mentions this could very well open the door to regenerating mammoths, however it is imperative that these scientists should explore the impact that mammoths would have on the environment if they were to be reintroduced.
For reasons only known to her from time to time Mother Nature determines that a dominant species lifespan upon this planet has come to an end. Typically what happens is a lesser species then moves up, through evolution, to take the space left by that dominant species. This has all worked out very well until the coming of the current dominant species on the planet, namely us, humans. Not only have we firmly established our dominance we have begun working on ways to ensure that we hold onto that position. While this is all well and good, eventually Mother Nature will take notice and when she decides we have had our run will take whatever means necessary to get rid of us; apologies to the faint of heart but that is a truth well told in the history of this planet. Now the scarey part of this is how drastic will She have to be in her measures to eradicate us and will it cause irreparable damage to the planet in the process?
Now, humans are a very advanced and intelligent species. We moved quickly from the baser instincts of shelter, nurturing young and finding food to everything that we have available at our disposal today, including the Internet. However, as we move faster and faster in our discoveries and inventions we are ignoring the whole “Should we?” aspect of it all. Take for instance the above article and its references to regenerating older, even extinct, life forms. We have no idea how these species will interact with the current lifeforms on the planet, whether they will kill off some or pose other less sever hazards. Even if a plant is 99% the same as its modern day form, what is left in that 1% that could prove hazardous to us as humans? After all the planet was a lot different 30,000 years ago and who can measure the changes we have gone through since then?
I can point to the science fiction genre of movies for ages to ask these questions, but those are just movies. However, a reflection of past science fiction shows a startling pattern of science fiction becoming science fact. Movies such as Jurassic Park, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The 6th Day all bring to the forefront, or should at least, questions regarding the right and wrongness of the science involved here. When I use the terms right and wrong I do not mean from any religious sense, but as I have stated previously, the whole Should We? aspect. Along with an understanding of what we are doing with the species we are experimenting on, we need to understand how the changes they may achieve through this “force evolution” could impact us as humans.
While the idea of forcing evolution on primates is a disturbing one as shown in various movies, even more frightening to me is bringing back a species such as the dinosaurs. While it can be argued that primates other than humans can be sympathetic to our species, to dinosaurs we would just be seen as food, mostly a snack. While science can be a wonderful study for discovery and what not, we do need to keep in mind what it is exactly we are doing and the impacts that it could pose.