Cloning

Surrogate Mom for a Neanderthal Clone?

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Grandad?

The internet has been abuzz over a Daily Mail article, "Wanted: 'Adventurous woman' to give birth to Neanderthal man — Harvard professor seeks mother for cloned cave baby." The Havard professor is geneticist George Church who denies that he is currently pursuing any such research. Church is the mastermind behind the Personal Genome Project* that is aiming to sign up 100,000 people willing to provide their genomes and medical histories to researchers.

Church believes that the rumor got started through a bad translation/misinterpretation of an interview that he gave the German magazine Der Spiegel. Church insists:

"I'm certainly not advocating it," Church said. "I'm saying, if it is technically possible someday, we need to start talking about it today."

In my 2009 column, "Neanderthal Rights" I explore the morality of genetically resurrecting our closest evolutionary cousins. I concluded:

So what if we bring back Neanderthals and it turns out that their intellectual capacities are so dissimilar from ours that they cannot cope successfully with modern life? Should we control their fertility so that they go extinct again? This comes uncomfortably close to the eugenic arguments used to justify sterilizing people who were deemed mentally defective in the 20th century. Or perhaps Neanderthals could be placed in reservations where they would be allowed to develop without further interference from modern humans. Would this be akin to confining them to a zoo?

One science fiction trope says that it is impossible for two intelligent species to evolve simultaneously on the same planet since one would inevitably out-compete the other. This may have happened on our planet. Neanderthals disappeared around the same time that modern humans began to move into their territory. New research suggests that our ancestors killed them off. Perhaps we should use modern science to resurrect Neanderthals in order to right an ancestral wrong.

Just because these moral conundrums cannot be answered in advance is not a good enough reason to preclude future efforts to clone Neanderthals. The only way to find out what rights Neanderthals should have is to bring them back into our world.

For what it's worth, 23andMe tells me that about 2.7 percent of my genes are likely derived from a Neanderthal ancestor.

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Personal Genome Project.

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  1. What the fuck is wrong with these scientists? We don’t need to be going backwards, we need to be moving forward. WHERE IS MY FLYING CAR?

    1. They promised us jetpacks, Kitty!!!

      1. Jet packs are a shitty idea. No way you don’t take a bird to the face every now and then.

        1. Flying cars combined with anarchy is a pretty shitty idea too.

    2. Flying car? what are you, trapped in the fucking Jetsons or something? MATTER TRANSPORTER OR BUST. I’m boycotting modern science until they can beam me to the fucking Bahamas. That’s right, science! I DONT BELIEVE IN YOU NOW. Ice on Mars? Discovered the Higgs Boson particle? Cold Fusion?… you *don’t say*? NYA NYA NYA NOT LISTENING

      1. You mean disassemble you and recreate a different being in the fucking Bahamas.

        1. Meh. Given that every cell in our bodies* dies and is replaced afresh on a constant basis, I am not particularly concerned about a little molecular shake-n-bake. People are pretty tired of This Me anyway.

          Only concern is the whole “fly getting thrown into the mix”-thing. I saw this movie once. All I can tell you is, Jeff Goldblum used to have decent abs. It went downhill.

          1. Fly head Bart was pretty cool though

          2. I think there might be a difference in continuity when it happens all at once compared to a little at a time.

    3. Food replicators. I want a cup of Earl Grey in the morning instantly and without having to wait for it to cool off.

    4. Every time I think of flying cars I think of Houston or Atlanta rush hour, and wonder how many people would be re-enacting Blue Angels routines, only on a multi-thousand car level going 15% above the posted limit. Then I thank FSM there are no flying cars.

      1. So you’re saying you’ve seen The Fifth Element.

        1. Pssh. The Fifth Element was obviously filmed in some Eastern city that knows nothing of NASCAR style commuting.

    5. From what I’ve learned about air traffic control and airspace regulations in my private pilot training so far, the reason we don’t have flying cars is that NO ONE IS FUCKING STUPID ENOUGH TO BANKROLL A BUSINESS PROVIDING FLYING CARS TO A MARKET THAT IS SO HIGHLY REGULATED YOU WOULD NEED TO FILE A FLIGHT PLAN TO GO TO THE GROCERY STORE, ATC COULDN’T FOLLOW EVERYTHING IN THE DAMN AIR WITHOUT A FEW TRILLION DOLLARS MORE OF EQUIPMENT AND EXTRANEOUS PERSONNEL, AND SAID FLYING CARS WOULD COST AT LEAST SIX TIMES MORE THAN A COMMON MINIVAN TO BUY AND HAVE TO BE TORN APART BY A CERTIFIED MECHANIC SO FREQUENTLY YOU’D NEED TWO OF THEM JUST TO GO TO WORK EVERYDAY.

      /rant off.

      1. Needs moar caps

    6. WHERE IS MY FLYING CAR?

      Given how most people drive, are you really going to trust the average dipshit to be able to successfully operate a flying car?

      1. If someone would get to work on it now, then once the self-driving car is perfected, the next logical step is the self-driving (piloting?) flying car.

  2. So what if we bring back Neanderthals….

    Warty will feel less alone.

    Then he will rape them.

  3. Surrogate Mom for a Neanderthal Clone?

    “A planet where Neardenthals evolved from men?”

    1. mind blower

    2. There’s got to be answer.

  4. So easy a caveman can do it?

    1. That is gold right there.

    2. “Just because these moral conundrums cannot be answered in advance is not a good enough reason to preclude future efforts to clone Neanderthals. ”

      Hogwash. Figure out the moral cunundrum FIRST, and then go forward with your research.

      I always surprises me how a Libertarian like Mr Bailey can proceed blindly with this research when there is a very high likelihood that the result would be a medical experiment on another sentient being without its consent.

      If police were about to use deadly force to stop a violent criminal, Libertarians would (rightly) be up in arms if that force had a good likelihood of injuring an innocent bystander. But because cloning is “cool”, they don’t want to bother themselves with messy questions like whether or not it is ethical to create a sentient being and put it in a state of peril and likely pain (as will probably happen with the initial clones).

      1. Ooops – meant to post this further down, sorry.

  5. If we’re going to bring something back to life, can it at least be something tasty? Like a stegosaurus.

  6. Didn’t Warty’s mom volunteer for a similar program in the 70s which then went horribly awry?

    1. Warty was thawed from a block of ice, so no one knows…

      1. They froze him to stop his initial rampage.

        1. To think Encino Man was marketed as a comedy… *shudders*

  7. How much?

    1. Before you answer that question Kristen you need to look in the mirror and ask: what would Jezebel think about selling your ovaries to give birth to a caveman?

      1. PAID RAPE!

    2. I’d do it for free, but I’d want iron-clad guarantees that the offspring would be legally my child and accorded FULL human rights.

  8. Super-strong, super-smart Chuck Norris clones? Let’s do it.

  9. A simple lab insemination hardly counts as “adventurous.” Survive a STEVE SMITH encounter then we’ll talk.

    1. A simple lab insemination hardly counts as “adventurous.”

      I dunno, there was this one time when I was a lab assistant at a cyclotron that I…

    2. Giving birth to one of those things might be pretty close to surviving a STEVE SMITH encounter, though.

    3. Considering it was likely that Neandertals had the enormous relative strength of apes, the possibility of a kicked-in uterus is pretty adventurous.

      GESTATION TO THE EXTREME! DO THE ‘DEW!

      1. Oh, I can’t wait until we can incubate all kinds of freaky abominations. X Games, I have a new event for you!

        1. “He’s really showing us what a man with a cannon in his chest can do!”

          1. China Meiville, as best I can understand his writing, is already on top of this.

  10. So what if we bring back Neanderthals and it turns out that their intellectual capacities are so dissimilar from ours that they cannot cope successfully with modern life?

    So what if we bring back Neanderthals and it turns out that their intellectual capacities are so dissimilar from ours that they can cope more successfully with modern life than we can?

    1. Indeed. Analysis for Neanderthal bones suggests that they lived very intense lives to say the least. They noted there didn’t appear to be a division of labor between the men and the women since both sexes would have injuries from hunting, falling, and apparently fighting.

      They’d make pretty good athletes and reality TV show stars.

      1. They’d make pretty good athletes and reality TV show stars.

        They’d make? My dear fellow, I hate to break it to you, but they already walk among us. Can anyone deny that Snooki is not a cloned female (I think) Neanderthal?

    2. So what if we bring back Neanderthals and it turns out that their intellectual capacities are so dissimilar from ours that they cannot cope successfully with modern life?

      Meh. They’ll just have to do what homo sapiens does, which is become a Cop

    3. …they can cope more successfully with modern life than we can?

      Well, then, we’ll just have to make sure they pay their fair share.

  11. Europeans are 1-4% Neanderthal.

    What does that do to the “one drop” theory?

  12. Givene the size of the Neanderthals for the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts of the mother must be enlarged.

    1. Very well — *elephant* surrogate mother.

  13. I recall doing research for a anthropology class project in which there appeared to be to sufficient archaeological evidence to support the theory that Cro-Magnon invaded Europe and raped and cannibalized Neanderthals before wiping them out.

    Never again!

    1. You mean we’re Reavers?

      1. Cro-Magnon invaded Europe and raped and cannibalized Neanderthals before wiping them out.

        Neanderthals were very, very lucky, as we did it in that order.

    2. But it wasn’t rape rape.

      1. Did the bodies of Neanderthal women have a way to shut that whole thing down?

        1. I doubt there was much sapiens on neanderthalensis rape. A female Neanderthal could probably rip your arms and legs off.

    3. Mmm. Long pig without the prion problems.

    4. How do you way STEVE SMITH in European?

  14. “Wanted: ‘Adventurous woman’ to give birth to Neanderthal man ? Harvard professor seeks mother for cloned cave baby.”

    That’s nothing but a ruse by a Neardenthal-looking professor to get laid…

  15. to the ladies here: So gestating a human baby of your own making seems kind of icky to me in the first place, how on earth would you cope with the whole V/lizzard aspect a non human?

  16. Anyone else have a problem with scientist creating a life just so they can test and experiment on it. Seems inhumane to me, no pun intended.

    1. It is totally inhumane and immoral.

      1. They’re creating the ultimate minority. And eventually, the newest Democrat voting bloc. They just have to hope that the Neanderthals are not smarter than the average low information voter.

        1. They just have to hope that the Neanderthals are not smarter than the average low information voter.

          They probably are. This could backfire on the dems, especially of the Neanderthals become bitter clingers.

      2. I meant to reply to this, but accidentally posted way up. As Libertarians, we should be completely against one sentient creature initiating force upon another sentient creature.

        It seems to me that creating a being using a process that is known to cause defects, pain, premature death and other harm meets the definition of initiating force.

        But because cloning is cool (and objections to it MUST be based on some sort of Sky God Worship) I have found that most Libertarians handwave past this moral ambiguity.

        It is likely that we will not stop cloning, as someone somewhere will do it. Welcoming the practice is another thing.

        1. * Note: I admit that there may be some philosophical reasoning that can rationalize life-creation as somehow morally acceptable. Great, let’s have that debate. My objection here is Mr Bailey’s desire to proceed boldly ahead in the absence of such reasoning (“Just because these moral conundrums cannot be answered in advance is not a good enough reason to preclude future efforts to clone Neanderthals “). In any other context, such a cavalier attitude towards a likely infringement on someone’s rights would be repugnant to a Libertarian.

          1. I don’t really have a problem with cloning per se. I do have a problem with cloning a sentient life just to experiment and do tests on it, which is what will happen with a cloned neanderthal. Their is also the question of what you do with it once it gets older. If we go with the reservation option, its unclear if a neanderthal would be able to survive without human interference, since no adult neanderthals would have taught it how to hunt and survive. We also don’t know how a neanderthal would cope with being solitary. Which leaves open the option of cloning additional neanderthals to keep the first one company. To me this just further compounds the original error of cloning a neanderthal in the first place.

            1. I don’t have a general problem with cloning, in general, just as I don’t have a problem with firing a rifle in general. The problem is that in specific instances of both, you have a high likelihood of causing pain and suffering of others- in most cases a wrong.

              Every example of cloning so far has resulted in creatures with rather alarming defects and health issues later in life. So if you are performing this procedure on a Human or other sentient, then you can be reasonably assured that you are inflicting on that ‘Person’ the same difficulties, without their consent. This should be ethically troubling, and have yet to see a framework that rationalizes for this in a way that makes it any more acceptable than a doctor performing surgery with gross negligence.

    2. Yes. While I admit I would find this very cool as well, the ethical problems are probably too much. Especially since it’s not like it’s going to be raised and allowed to have a “normal” life. I mean, how would its life progress in this scenario? If I was in charge, I would mandate that it’s caretakers raise it as if it was a regular child, and deal with any problems as they arose I guess. More humane than keeping it in a cage like an animal

  17. Lets clone and create a race of people who may or may not be able to cope with modern society and may have to be put on reservations. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. I’m reminded of Project Nim:

      The Heartbreaking Story of Project Nim – An Experiment That Evolved Into a Tragedy

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07……html?_r=0

      1. This guy is a sick fuck if you ask me.

      2. A chimp named Nim Chimpsky who smokes weed? Sounds like the next Rob Schneider movie.

        http://www.southparkstudios.co…..erpee-dumb

    2. reate a race of people who may or may not be able to cope with modern society and may have to be put on reservations. What could possibly go wrong?

      How is that different from what Democrats have been doing for decades now? The only difference is they didn’t create the other oppressed minorities, they just created the dependance factor.

    3. Lets clone and create a race of people who may or may not be able to cope with modern society

      …and will very likely be much more physically strong than the average Home Sapien. What could go wrong indeed. It’s like these people have never read a single sci-fi book or watched Planet of the Apes.

  18. So what if we bring back Neanderthals and it turns out that their intellectual capacities are so dissimilar from ours that they cannot cope successfully with modern life?

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’m just a simple caveman. Your modern world confuses and fightens me.”

    Or perhaps Neanderthals could be placed in reservations…

    Will there be casinos?

  19. You mean you gave me Neanderthal DNA on purpose? Assholes. WTF is wrong with you people. You didn’t once stop to think “Hey maybe we can give the baby Jessica Alba DNA or at the very least Ron Jeremy DNA”. ‘Cause that might of been too God damn considerate. You people disgust me and I’m a God damn Neanderthal.

  20. I think they should do it. Can you imagine how awesome the NFL will become when the teams are all populated by Neanderthals?

    1. We could have the Somoan Conference versus the Neanderthal Conference.

  21. I see absolutely zero negative moral component of creating life. What is done to and with that life certainly has potential negative moral components but the creation of it not so.

    1. Zero negative moral component?

      If you create a life, knowing that every moment of its life, it will feel excruciating pain, wouldn’t that be a moral negative?

  22. Sometimes man you jsut gotta throw them hands in the air like you just dont care.

    http://www.PrivoWeb.tk

    1. word up

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