February 24, 2017

The old lady who swallowed a fly is a life lesson for science

I am a steadfast believer that things happen for a reason. I believe events work out as they are supposed to, as ordained by a higher power. No, not the trivial like picking up that split on the bowling alley, or winning a ball game, or hitting five successive green lights; random life chance plays a significant role in events. I think the Supreme Being guides us to his will. This may not fit with your creed. I'm good with that. I am firm in my religious beliefs and really have a strong libertarian outlook when it comes to religion. You can worship, or not, as you please as long as it does not impinge on my rights. I have never been comfortable with the proselytizing aspect of religion. But religion is not the topic of the day.

I have always liked science. I'm just not too good at it. I will blame it on math and leave it at that. Biology, chemistry, physics -- I like the concepts, but I get lost in the details. I was fortunate enough to study the sciences in the course of my classical liberal arts education, and learned just enough to be dangerous. I understand what goes on in the circulatory system or the chemical changes at the molecular level when steel is heat treated. My office is living proof of the third law of thermodynamics.

What do the preceding paragraphs have to do with each other? Simply stated, the efforts to clone long-extinct species is a very bad idea. Jurassic Park is a fun movie, but a terrible idea. Cloning a wooly mammoth falls into the same category. These animals are extinct for a reason. Humans might have wiped out the passenger pigeon, but maybe Nature wanted the skies cleansed of the immense herds of these poop machines. Imagine the ecological damage a thousands-strong flock of birds could do. Perhaps the mammoth was so terrifying that it was a good thing our ancestors killed them off?

One of the great unintended consequences was the absolute destruction wrought upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas by European diseases. It never occurred to the best scientists of the time that could happen. You may argue that we are much advanced scientifically in the modern times, but it was not so long ago the best scientists thought you treated a cut by smearing it with horse dung or that bleeding cured just about anything. Is there reason to believe future scientific minds will not look back on our own era and marvel at how crude, how inept, how wrong we are today? Species are extinct for a reason. Let's leave it that way.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am constantly amazed by how scientific facts change depending on the level of funding.


James Old Guy

Ed Bonderenka said...

I just saw a movie last night, "Is Genesis History?".
All science. Dinosaurs included. Good stuff. Eye opening.
I proselytize only when appropriate.
Not to prove myself right, but to offer hope to those that need it.

hey teacher... said...

Should we let the African elephant go the way of the mastodon? It's pretty big too.

mts1 said...

I'd like to see an actual functioning dodo bird. I wonder what it would act like, being all unfit for any invaders to its environment, unable to even recognize a threat much less muster an adequate self defense.

Never mind, I'll just watch what the feminists and commies had done to the West.

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