Sunday, March 17, 2013

Welcome... To Jurassic Park!

Ironic that I watched all three Jurassic Park movies last weekend, and landed on this story a week later...

After cloning a sheep when I was a teenager, scientists have now cloned... an extinct frog. Which raises, once again, the question: just because we can, must we?

Here are a few quotes from Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum):
God help us, we're in the hands of engineers. 
Gee, the lack of humility before nature that's being displayed here, uh... staggers me. 
God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs. 

John, the kind of control you're attempting simply is... it's not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh... well, there it is.
And, of course, this exchange:
Dr. Ian Malcolm: If I may... Um, I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here, it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now
[bangs on the table]
Dr. Ian Malcolm: you're selling it, you wanna sell it. Well...
John Hammond: I don't think you're giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody's ever done before...
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.  
 I mean, ok, these frogs were extinct because of massive deforestation, perhaps more by human force than nature's. On the other hand, they disappeared 30 years ago; are they suited to our world? Are we suited to house them? As the world has evolved, so have bacteria, disease, and wildlife - a disease that disappeared 300 years ago could still kill humans today if it were re-introduced to us because our bodies have since forgotten how to deal with it - or it could just mutate with what's around. Same goes for animals, who can destroy ecosystems by their mere presence and need to feed, or lack of hygiene (or too much of).

You cannot right a wrong by double-wronging without assessing what you can of a possible bigger picture first, and that includes playing God.

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