A joint effort by Japanese, Russian and American scientists is underway to resurrect the extinct woolly mammoth by way of cloning. Frozen mammoth tissue in good condition has been obtained from Siberia and new technology provides for the nuclei of its cells to be implanted into elephant eggs in a manner conducive to cloning. If all goes as expected a living mammoth will walk the earth in 5 to 6 years.


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I would definately pay a heavy amount of dollars to ride a mammoth.
Why consume resources for the purpose of resurrecting an extinct life-form? Sure, it's cool. I ask this question from more of a Socratic standpoint rather than a skeptical one. How will this endeavor ameliorate some of our collectively severe problems on this planet?
I disagree..... anything that advances science potentially(and most probably) will ultimately help mankind; who knows maybe mammoth burgers will be better than crabby patty's
I wasn't proposing anything with which to be agreed or disagreed. I will say that we can't assume that scientists are "advancing" anything by virtue of them doing any kind of work. A lot of people who operate under the auspices of doing science have a way of doing little or nothing, but in an expensive, verbose fashion. We have to think critically with regard to the specific applications scientific work will have to the improvement of our lives as a whole, or else time and money are arguably being wasted. I agree with you though; mammoths may be one hell of a way to feed the masses. That begs the question as to the environmental impacts of mammoth agriculture. Will their impacts be lesser or greater than the cattle industry? Would it not be more economically efficient to instead tackle the problems associated with the meat industry and then feed people that way? It's worth thought. Why resurrect the mammoth?

Why resurrect the mammoth ?.....

because we can.... because this is the, or at least a, next logical step in genomic research.

Scientists must stick to their amoral high ground.

Yes one must consider the consequences of what one does... but to not do it because of fear someone will use it in not so great ways or it will damage the world if it goes too far is a no go argument  in my book;

Take gunpowder as an example. it has killed untold numbers of people, extinct species and maimed many more.  But it has also fed the masses, moved mountains and been the great equalizer in many a dispute.

Science expands knowledge period. To not go the next step with the mammoth may not be the end of the earth, but then again maybe the way to save it will come out of the research.

Now we're onto something. The advancement of genomic research in general potentially has positive consequences for society as a whole. I also agree that science must remain disassociated from morality. However, my concern is not so much that cloning of extinct life-forms may be used for "evil" or destructive ends, but rather that resources consumed for such a project might be better used for solving global human problems.

Simply AWESOME!!!
Yeah, the question of applicability aside, it's pretty cool that humans have that capability.
Science does not need a purpose.  Knowledge is amoral.  

I'll say again that I agree that science, by nature, is separate from morality. A moral purpose behind science would be utterly ridiculous. I'm questioning whether this venture--as I do with all scientific ventures about which I hear--has any application that will ameliorate pressing human problems such as widespread hunger; poverty; anthropogenic climate change; anthropogenic environmental degradation; economic disaster, Sarah Palin, etc. I go further to propose that any scientific project that doesn't have the potential to solve such problems wastes resources that could be spent in improving human quality of life.


Science absolutely does need a purpose; otherwise it's pointless.


I have made no attempt to bring morals into this discourse. I'm speaking from a position of utility.

Channeling science to work only for utilitarian purposes is a sure way to weaken science and the simple desire "to know."  Many significant discoveries have ocurred through serendipity.  We can't simply close off an area of research because it don't seem to be useful, because it may turn out to be useful tomorrow.  Why do you want to limit knowledge?  Directing research towards solving problems is not often the most efficient way to accomplish something.  How many decades has it been since we launched a war on cancer?  No, all resarch is good.  If they build a mammoth, maybe we'll discover a way to regenerate lost arms and legs.  Who knows. 
That is exactly what I want and need to hear. You made a great point. Thanks.



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