Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Cloning Neanderthals

Posted by Michael Dickens on December 30, 2009

Earlier this year, the Neanderthal genome was sequenced. This means that, if we wanted to, we could clone Neanderthals by inserting their DNA into a human cell for the price of about 30 million dollars. A neanderthal could also be cloned by inserting DNA into a chimpanzee cell. It has been proposed that the DNA would be inserted into a chimpanzee cell instead of a human. Apparently, the purpose of this is so that people can mistreat the neanderthal without feeling bad about it. Is this justified?

First of all, it doesn’t matter in the slightest what cell the DNA was inserted into. What matters is the neanderthal after development. If the neanderthal has similar capacities to a human, it should be treated like a human. It would probably desire liberty just as much as any human; neanderthals are about as intelligent as we are. So we would have no right to cage it and study it.

That was a lot quicker than I expected. So let’s look at something else. How do we feel about creating a one-man species? The man wouldn’t be able to reproduce at all. His life would be far from natural, having no other members of his species around him. It would probably not be all that enjoyable. Can we really bring such a person into being?

Since I have been experiencing blogger’s block all week, I’ll just leave that question to the reader.

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One Response to “Cloning Neanderthals”

  1. LRFLEW said

    If we are treating him as a human, then we wouldn’t clone him. No human has been cloned, nor is going to any time soon.

    Now if it’s a one-man species, then is it human? One could also propose that because it is unsustainable, then can it be treated as a fleeting scientific resource?

    Although no human has been cloned, they have had human cells born in a laboratory; it’s part of the treatment for sickle cell anemia. If they grow unconnected parts of a neanderthal, is it still a creature?

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