Humanity has always been curious about mixing breeds and species. First it was the horses and dogs and just some species of plants like roses etc. Then people got adventurous and brought in creatures like Liger – a mix between Lion and a Tiger, which some people term as the “ultimate killing machine”.
Since the last decade, scientists have been getting closer to creating human clones. So, obviously the next question would have been – what about animal and human? There are enough legends in that area – of Mermaids and Centaur. The Indian stories are full of monkeys and other animals talking and fighting with the humans. So, was it part of human history ever? Are we coming a full circle or is it the fructifying of human desires? Whatever the truth be, it might be happening soon.
DK Matai discusses the three streams of such experimental creatures being thought about.
1. A Chimera is produced when a human embryo is fused with an animal embryo;
2. An Hybrid is produced when a human female egg is fertilised with animal sperm or vice-versa; and
3. A “Cybrid” is produced when an animal cell’s genetic material is removed and replaced with human genetic material.
DK says “…after 10 years of stem cell research, scientists are now facing difficulty with cell therapy from the present human embryonic stem cell experimentation. The next phase involves human-animal combinations via Chimeras, Hybrids and Cybrids.”
He cites two examples when attempts have been made at fusion:
– Soviet Union’s top scientists, Professor Ilya Ivanov, tried to impregnate female chimpanzees with human sperm in Africa in order to create a human-chimpanzee hybrid
– In August 2003, Hui Zhen Sheng of Shanghai Second Medical University, China, announced that rabbit-human ‘cybrid’ embryos had been created. Researchers fused adult human material with rabbit eggs stripped of their original genetic material and created rabbit-human hybrid embryos which developed to approximately the 100-cell stage, after about four days of development.
Despite his pro-science leanings and his liberal view on things, DK is worried. I am sure many are. And I can understand their issue with these steps.
Personally, however, I do not see a need to be worried. The reasons are:
1. If the world as we know comes to be ruled by this new creature/species which kills all of human population because of an experiment gone wrong, well then so be it. At least a more powerful creature would be alive and hopefully would not be using any Nukes for a while. To suppose that humans have this “God given” responsibility to calibrate or manage nature is very egotistic. I am under no illusion that I or even Albert Einstein was the greatest creation that nature could come up with. Wait a few centuries for the latest update on this front. 😉
2. How do we know for certainty that “WE” arent any experiment gone wrong!? Seriously. What has human given to the nature and the Universe? Net-net, except for self serving plans and eulogies to his/her greatness and destruction of whatever s/he came across, what have we ADDED to the Universe? Really nothing!
3. I do not like to kid myself that I or anyone I know is the keeper of morality of the Universe. In this Universe, bigger galaxies keep eating up the smaller galaxies, and I literally cannot do a sh*t about it.
Ok, what I saying is that there is no such thing as a cosmic morality. So, should any other morality and ethics or codes be relevant then??
Is morality really – “How the world works?” Or “how I THINK it should work??”
There is subtle but a BIG difference in the two positions. I don’t think we really look at it that way. But honestly, what is the OTHER WAY?
Truth is that if we were humble and honest to our selves, we would stop discussing “morals” or any of those arbitrary created codes by the ruler of the day!
Now, while you worry about my immorality and how my thoughts are going to take humanity down the drain… here is a reminder that animals could fall in our trap as well.
Conan, the Chihuahua, has become a buddhist.
Mimicking his master, priest Joei Yoshikuni, a 1 1/2-year-old black-and-white Chihuahua named Conan joins in the daily prayers at Naha’s Shuri Kannondo temple, sitting up on his hind legs and putting his front paws together before the altar. Well, if praying was not enough, he is going to get a crash course in Meditation! If recitation of words while closing ones eyes without introspection or self-analysis was meditation (which it is for most!) then this small guy fits the bill perfectly! He will get to the “Lord” faster than his master. I mean, he doesnt care about the next door neighbor’s Mercedes or his next salary or about morality of the Universe. His mind will be easier to still than any human’s!
And while we are at it, lets get a parrot in the temple as well and get it to learn some meditation and prayer. Imagine – this thing would be even vegetarian and could recite any shloka or words of the Enlightends for hours on end!
Now, if the animal/human fusion does happen as DK surmizes, then at least we would know what the animals think when we hurt them and kick them! THAT is what we should be really really worried about! Can you imagine the cursing that you would hear in a farm where the animals are raised for meat… the pigs will be shouting their throats out and chickens will be all over about what they think of your Mother/sister’s anatomy! 🙂 Now, that should be interesting!
And, if there were only fused animals left, how moral would it be to eat meat of you “half brother”? THAT would be a real dilemma. Cannibalism – is it part of Universal morality?