Woolly Mammoth Clones: Arriving Soon

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Megalodon:

So? They're not planning on putting the Mammoths in North America.

We're bringing back the mammoth to restore the steppe in the Arctic.

Not saying you're necessarily wrong in principle, but that does kind of make it look like you didn't read the article thoroughly.

1) "The Arctic" includes the northern part of NA, so unless they specifically mean Eurasian part of the Arctic, NA is still right.

2) (this is where I admit my error) Yeah, my post started with the passenger pigeon thing and I kinda kept the continental US in my head throughout when I was writing it, so I forgot about the Arctic.

3) All my reservations about the ecosystem and multiple extinct species which would need to be revived too apply to the Arctic as well.

In general, I consider most of "bring back an extinct species" initiatives to be nothing more than a fancy. We won't be able to recreate their original environment on a scale sufficient to maintain a wild population (and even if we do, what about the wild species which live there now?), and any data we would be able to collect would probably not be worth the cost of such project.

The thylacine was already extinct in mainland Australia due to competition with the dingo by the time sheep farmers arrived and we drove the species to extinction in Tasmania. If we bring it back (as it's another of the revival projects getting more media attention), do we restrict it to Tasmania or bring it back to its full historical range? If we bring the thylacine to mainland Australia, what do we do about the dingo? Do we cull them, or are those 20 thousand years or so sufficient for them to have a right to live in Aus? Should we recreate a placenta-free Australia?

Anyway, that was something of a tangent. My question is: where is the cutoff? What is the point in history we should be aiming for with those "reviving" initiatives? I think rewilding to a point several hundred years ago is reasonable. The climate is similar and those ecosystems are in relatively good shape. Often, it's a question of increasing the amount of protected areas, bringing in some species extinct in a particular area which survived elsewhere and learning to live side-by-side with nature. It takes time and resources, but can be done in a reasonable timeframe. But species extinct for several thousand years? That's juvenile fancy, is what that is. A yearning to see creatures from our picturebooks moving around and making all the sounds.

Why splice mammoth DNA with elephant eggs when you can do it with a specific species of frog that can change gender under certain conditions?

Just kidding. This is interesting stuff, though I don't really think our species is smart enough to get any real benefits from bringing back extinct species.

TheSYLOH:
Ok so bringing back the mammoth is not "helping" evolution?
You know whats not helping evolution?
Saving those critically endangered animals.
After all those tigers are obviously not necessary, their so few that they must have a negligible impact.
Pharmacological everything they do is no better than placebo, why are we preserving them?
Why not resume hunting and finish the job?
After all all those insects we regularly try to kill have evolved marvelous resistance methods! Clearly attempting to wipe out everything is the best course.

Now reintroducing the mammoth is clearly a bad idea. Invasive species always are.
But why not have a few thousand of them distributed over various zoos?

This is a slippery slope argument. I really don't want to reply to this run on fallacy, but I shall. There is a difference between hunting something to extinction and systematically destroying it, something we do with bacteria and viri.

I don't see how pharmaceuticals are related to this.

And I would agree that if something is going extinct then we must let it, but I did also say that our compassion does play a role in this process, so it is difficult to say what really constitutes evolution in that regard. However I will say that whatever the outcome, whether our compassion or destruction wins out, we must accept the results.

ToxicPiranah conveys what I'm trying to communicate far better than what I have.

However I must explain more what I mean by Human driven natural selection that yourself, Mr Ink 5000 and RA92 bring up.

I'll use RA92 to summarize your argument if that's fine with you?:

RA92:
No. We have wiped out thousands of species and upset countless ecologies for no bloody good reason. Like settlers bringing in domestic cats and dogs in new continents, which started predating upon local fauna. And wiping out species like birds can disrupt the spread of flora, etc. Human-caused extinctions have happened largely because of our population growth destroying habitats. We are reducing biodiversity and genetic diversity, and I hardly think the spirit of natural selection applies to these extinctions.

Firstly, to clarify what I mean by "good reason", I intended that phrase to convey the idea that the creatures we've come into contact with were unable to adapt to our disruption, so according to the principles of natural selection they became extinct on justifiable grounds.

And secondly we don't like to think it but we are part of the worlds Eco-systems. Usually we base this misconception on the fact that we are sentient and should "know better", however I feel that this intelligence, being naturally evolved, is in fact part of the ecosystem. This intelligence, in its current form, makes us the next challenge nature must face; no different from a meteor or volcanic eruption. It is highly unlikely that we will bring about the end of all life, even with our nuclear weapons and other destructive capabilities, there are things that will still survive; however we probably won't. Self destructive tendencies don't tend to remain in the gene pool for long.

With that said, we straddle an odd position where we can see what we are doing is wrong and harmful to ourselves, and other animals, yet our naturally evolved intelligence is stymied when we don't learn from mistakes; mistakes that cost the existence of whole species. As our intelligence grows and evolves damage is caused, and in the wake of this damage other creatures evolve to fill the gaps we leave behind. This is all part of evolution.

To further draw this comparison out, when a bloom of red algae occurs entire reefs are destroyed. Though we don't fault the algae, it's just part of nature.

Now, to draw this thought to a close: we ourselves must evolve with regards to how our intelligence projects the force it wields. This is because, as has been mentioned, we end up harming ourselves in the long run. Creatures from which we could have learned much are simply lost to the sands of time. But resurrecting these creatures puts in danger those that would come to replace them, and so we would have to decide whether to atone for the destruction of our own evolution, or leave nature to manage itself. I feel in the former situation of atonement we really would be "playing god", which is something I will ill advise for the foreseeable future.

So yeah, nice to be able to bring back extinct species and all.. but, uhm, we do remember that they went extinct right, that usually means there's little to no hope for the species itself actually surviving beyond 'hey look we made a mammoth'.

Though if the story of their extinction is correct our ancestors apparently found them quite delicious.... McMammoth burgers anyone?

LifeCharacter:
Maybe it's because I'm not a scientist, but isn't the simple solution to the problem of putting more mammoth into the hybrid just doing the process over again with the mammoth DNA and the new hybrid's eggs, and then repeating until you're satisfied?

I was thinking this too, seeing as how we breed dogs the same way. We made a couple breeds by breeding the ones with the traits we wanted.

Bke:
[q

This is a slippery slope argument. I really don't want to reply to this run on fallacy, but I shall. There is a difference between hunting something to extinction and systematically destroying it, something we do with bacteria and viri.

I don't see how pharmaceuticals are related to this.

And I would agree that if something is going extinct then we must let it, but I did also say that our compassion does play a role in this process, so it is difficult to say what really constitutes evolution in that regard. However I will say that whatever the outcome, whether our compassion or destruction wins out, we must accept the results.

You really must learn the difference between slippery slope and Reductio ad adbsurdum.
I'll let you go read it up.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

You argued that interfering with evolution = bad. So I bring up an example of interfering with evolution that is widely regarded as good.

pharmaceuticals are relevant because once you eliminate ecological reasons, then human reasons are a good next case.
For example one argument for saving the rainforest is that cures for diseases such as cancer could be found there. I was attempting to preempt an argument... this seems to have been wasted.

Now if you want to argue compassion. What could possibly be more compassionate than raising the dead?
Surely it would be nice if our children could see a mammoth, we could undo a mistake our cavemen ancestors made.

I can't be the only one who wants them to revive a T-rex, right?

Or maybe a saber-tooth tiger?

Even if they were able to pull this off, wouldn't cloning mammoths with a working reproduction system be impossible?

Also, what role would a woolly mammoth fill in any ecosystem, now? There's no purpose to bring it back. Unless we're going to ranch them?! I could go for some mammoth meat. I bet it tastes like bison, and bison is delicious. It'd probably go for at least a million dollars a pound, though, what with all the cloning and the amount of resources required to graze them.

Oh, author, you spelled "Wooly" wrong. It has two L's. I wouldn't give a shit if it wasn't the article's title.

TheSYLOH:
You really must learn the difference between slippery slope and Reductio ad adbsurdum.
I'll let you go read it up.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

Actually it was both fallacies but more a slippery slope because you extended it beyond the present matter, but becomes both when you say "Why not resume hunting and finish the job?". However you realize you are admitting to committing a fallacy? (I would put a winking face here cause I don't mean to make this observation out of spite, but I really don't care for smilies)

You argued that interfering with evolution = bad. So I bring up an example of interfering with evolution that is widely regarded as good.

I think you misunderstand, I have no issue with interfering with evolution, however I draw the line at resurrecting dead species' because, as I said, I feel that such an action is far more destructive than what anyone could justify.

pharmaceuticals are relevant because once you eliminate ecological reasons, then human reasons are a good next case.
For example one argument for saving the rainforest is that cures for diseases such as cancer could be found there. I was attempting to preempt an argument... this seems to have been wasted.

I see what you mean now, but I am arguing, mostly, evolutionary reasons (ergo slippery slope). So I essentially cover this when I said "Creatures from which we could have learned much are simply lost to the sands of time.", because we are harming ourselves there. However, in my original post, I did say that resurrecting them for our own means is justifiable. To clarify I don't want them in the wild; zoos and laboratories and what have you, are perfectly good places for these creatures but anywhere else is not.

I'll also mention here that if we kill all the animals on earth, save for the super resilient insects, we will die out or have to live off of bugs that can't really be eaten because they don't break down when exposed to our digestive systems or something equally absurd. Which is why I mentioned self destruction on our part as well, when speaking about the evolution of our intellect.

Now if you want to argue compassion. What could possibly be more compassionate than raising the dead?
Surely it would be nice if our children could see a mammoth, we could undo a mistake our cavemen ancestors made.

I have to disagree. Again, I mentioned that this will cause more harm than good, and we have examples presented to us by ToxicPiranah as to why I think this is so. In the regard of kids seeing a mammoth that would fall under my argument of "for our own means" as wonder and enjoyment are things we like apart from health, safety etc. To this I say we employ a utilitarian approach, where the species that would benefit, in the future, from anothers absence outweighs the return of something that's dead. As has been since the beginning of life.

If you're going to bring back species that have gone extinct, bring back the ones humans directly had a significant hand in causing to go extinct. Or better yet, focus on conserving what species we have, especially endangered ones; work on ways to prevent the 'problem' of extinction in the first place rather than focus on ways to remedy it when it occurs.

I'm not sure what to think about this. One the one hand it'd be really cool... but I doubt the concept could actually work out...

Personally, I think we should focus more on cloning extinct or endangered animals. Makes more sense if you as me...

The real question in all of this is "Can we take this a step further and finally create Pokemon?"

I for one am all kinds of behind this project, both for the revitalization and preservation of endangered species, and for fueling my dreams of a Pokemon filled future.

Bke:

SecondPrize:
The right to survive has nothing to do with it. The fittest having survived simply means they are still here, not that they earned a right to be here.

Well actually it's implied in the entire philosophy that by simply surviving you have earned your right to do so. When you stop surviving you lose that right. Remember, no matter what laws we impose upon ourselves, justice isn't a natural property of the universe. As such morality doesn't really factor into natural selection, it's binary either you do or don't. It's not like you can earn the right but have it snatched away from you by some dastardly villain.

Actually, the whole of philosophy acknowledges that concluding from descriptions to normativity is called the naturalist fallacy. Namely, concluding from "x is the case" to "x should be the case". Here: "Species x hasn't survived the struggle, so it has no right to live (i.e. shouldn't live, which is why we shouldn't resurrect it)."
The philosopher G. E. Moore proved it in his book "Principia Ethica", if you're interested in the topic.

Anyway, no non-fallacious philosophy can ever imply something like this. (Of course, it's not fallacious if you deliver further premises and arguments for these. I.e.: "x is the case", "if x is the case, then x should be the case", conclusion: "x should be the case". However, you need to argue for this second premise. If you just leave it like that [or if you don't mention it at all], it's a fallacy. However, if you do make it explicit by arguing for it, it's no longer merely implied. Thus, it cannot be "implied in the entire philosophy".)

This article is very misleading. The scientists are very much not working on the woolly mammoth. All work right now revolves around the passenger pigeon. The mammoth isn't even a blip on the radar right now, at least for this group. Its a dream for future projects, nothing more.

ZZoMBiE13:
I can almost hear Jeff Goldblum rambling about natural selection and chaos theory.

"Your scientists were so obsessed with whether or not they could that they never stopped to ask themselves whether or not they should."

:)

So besides the obvious "awesome factor". Exactly what biological niche is this mammoth clone intended to fill? If your answer to that question was "beats the hell outta me" then congrats you are correct. This is why actual scientists don't just do shit for teh lulz.

Bke:

Actually it was both fallacies but more a slippery slope because you extended it beyond the present matter, but becomes both when you say "Why not resume hunting and finish the job?". However you realize you are admitting to committing a fallacy? (I would put a winking face here cause I don't mean to make this observation out of spite, but I really don't care for smilies)

If you think Reductio Ad Absurdum is a logical fallacy, you have unfortunately failed logic and probably a lot of higher mathematics.
Unfortunately this also means that attempt to logically debate you are futile as you are clearly using rules of logic that are far removed from the norm.

What a time to be alive, we do like in the future.

Bloodstain:

Ah yes, I became aware about halfway through this thread that my use of the concept of "right" was perhaps a bit hasty. I was actually bloody stupid for using it. However I do hope my point was clarified later, as we all know intent is difficult to convey in this medium. I shall have to consider my words a bit more carefully in future.

TheSYLOH:

What are you on about? I didn't say anything was a logical fallacy, I just pointed out the various ill-concieved arguments you had made. It is possible to have more than one fallacy in a single argument, be they logical, structural, distractive or what have you.

I am sad that you believed I was being aggressive though. As you say "you have unfortunately failed logic and probably a lot of higher mathematics" makes me respect you less for attacking me so in an attempt to win/end the argument. Up until here I found the debate quite engaging, but you're clearly invested in a manner that I cannot deal with.

I must emphasis my apology that the nature of my tone was not as clear as could have been. I hate internet debates for this very reason.

Because the world was just so horrible without fuzzy and brown elephants? I mean, at least a raptor with modified genes might make a good house pet, but wooly mammoths went extinct for a reason.

Racecarlock:
Because the world was just so horrible without fuzzy and brown elephants? I mean, at least a raptor with modified genes might make a good house pet, but wooly mammoths went extinct for a reason.

Well they were probably tasty. Seeing as how one of the most likely reason was human hunting.
Mammoth burgers anyone?

Bke:
I didn't say anything was a logical fallacy,

Bke:
Actually it was both fallacies but more a slippery slope

I'm sorry, I am struggling to interpret this in any other way.

Spacewolf:
Just going to quote you since it's the most relevant but doesn't the egg donor usually have their genetic material removed from the egg and replaced by whatever is meant to replace it? So while the egg would be from an Asian elephant the genetic code that dictates the babies chromosomes would all be mammoth.

That's if you have a full genome to work with. Between cell degradation and the fact, to my knowledge, they only found one mammoth fully preserved they are going to have to "patch the holes" if you will with elephant DNA. So with the patches and inevitable mutations we will never truly see mammoths. As derpy as it sounds Jurassic Park explained it rather well for only being a couple minuet blurb.

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