This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Ban These Sick Ape-Man Frankensteins

Ban These Sick Ape-Man Frankensteins - Comments

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 1 by Alan4discussion

Well we already naturally share 98% of our DNA with chimps and 40% with cauliflowers, so I wonder how much informed opinion there is on this subject.

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 15:18:52 UTC | #853846

some asshole's Avatar Comment 2 by some asshole

The most detested and lethal animal of all is the mosquito. I think they should give mosquitoes human brains. Sure they won't be able to fly but that way, they'll stop biting humans and instead waste their time inventing invisible friends and slaughtering each other over them instead.

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 15:19:24 UTC | #853847

gordon's Avatar Comment 3 by gordon

Why is there a picture of me with this article?

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 15:44:12 UTC | #853862

kantastisk's Avatar Comment 4 by kantastisk

Comment 1 by Alan4discussion :

Well we already naturally share 98% of our DNA with chimps and 40% with cauliflowers, so I wonder how much informed opinion there is on this subject.

Good point. I'm just curious: this 98%-statistic, does it discount matching junk DNA?

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 15:58:49 UTC | #853869

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 5 by Steven Mading

Comment 1 by Alan4discussion :

Well we already naturally share 98% of our DNA with chimps and 40% with cauliflowers, so I wonder how much informed opinion there is on this subject.

The worst thing about the title "Planet of the Apes" is the failure to realize that the word "Apes" includes homo sapiens. Earth has already been a planet of the apes for all of recorded history. [1]

And of course, the 40% similarity with cauliflower brings to mind the immediate question - if you want to talk about creating new laws covering the ethics of experimentation on human-animal hybrids, are the people making those laws going to be aware of this genetic overlap and ensure that the human genetic component has to come from that portion of the DNA that is unique to humans to 'count' as triggering the law?

We share a lot of genes with other animals that have everything to do with the basic functioning of being in a mammal body and nothing to do with our unique intellect. Any human-animal hybrid ethics laws will have to be written with knowledge of this in mind, otherwise in an attempt to control human-animal hybrid experiments, you end up controlling all animal experiments instead. I can easily see someone trying to make the argument that swapping insulin-creating genes from a dog into a gorilla counts as "human" experimentation because humans have the same genes for insulin creation as the ones in question in the experiment.

[1] - Admittedly the original book was in French, so this misfeature of the title "Planet of the Apes" might be a translation error.

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 15:58:55 UTC | #853870

kantastisk's Avatar Comment 6 by kantastisk

Comment 5 by Steven Mading :

The worst thing about the title "Planet of the Apes" is the failure to realize that the word "Apes" includes homo sapiens. Earth has already been a planet of the apes for all of recorded history.

I always thought the title especially clever precisely because it did carry this double meaning. This is probably the wrong place for that discussion, though.

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 16:07:13 UTC | #853874

pwuk's Avatar Comment 7 by pwuk

Jeez, what's it to be? Machines, Monkeys or Mice

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 16:44:25 UTC | #853891

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 8 by KenChimp

This is what happens when humans behave less like apes and behave more like, well, cauliflower and other cabbages!

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 17:32:13 UTC | #853903

Sensitive Outsider's Avatar Comment 9 by Sensitive Outsider

I for one wellcome our new hybrid overlords!

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 19:04:48 UTC | #853929

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 10 by alaskansee

The title is a bit of a worry!

Should we really ban scientists or should it read "Ban These Sick Ape-Man Frankenstein's Monsters"

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 21:19:14 UTC | #853976

Jussie's Avatar Comment 11 by Jussie

Why do I tend to think it bad to geneticaly engineer anything, but when i think about it I can't find a good argument against it?

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 22:44:44 UTC | #854006

Martin_C's Avatar Comment 12 by Martin_C

Comment 4 by kantastisk :

Comment 1 by Alan4discussion :

Well we already naturally share 98% of our DNA with chimps and 40% with cauliflowers, so I wonder how much informed opinion there is on this subject.

Good point. I'm just curious: this 98%-statistic, does it discount matching junk DNA?

It's not 98% of our dna, it's 98% of our genes - Identified genes that is.

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 23:27:15 UTC | #854019

kantastisk's Avatar Comment 13 by kantastisk

Comment 12 by Martin_C :

It's not 98% of our dna, it's 98% of our genes - Identified genes that is.

Sorry, that does make more sense. I guess the 98% couldn't just be a rough count of the total amount of similarity across the entire genome, then. But does that mean that 98% of our protein-encoding stuff is identical with that of the chimps? Or does the number also include things like inactive genes?

Mon, 25 Jul 2011 23:59:58 UTC | #854031

KJinAsia's Avatar Comment 14 by KJinAsia

Comment 11 by Jussie :

Why do I tend to think it bad to geneticaly engineer anything, but when i think about it I can't find a good argument against it?

Because the idea triggers a neurochemical response we call disgust as a result of a perceived violation of purity. Luckily, you examine the response itself and find it without rational merit. Sadly, most people don't question the response and just make up unsupported fear based reasons why it must be leading them in the right direction.

Genetic engineering will be a spectacularly successful human revolution. These stupid people who campaign against GM food are doing humanity an incalculable disservice.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:40:20 UTC | #854045

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 15 by Rodger T

Comment 1 by Alan4discussion :

Well we already naturally share 98% of our DNA with chimps and 40% with cauliflowers, so I wonder how much informed opinion there is on this subject.

So that explains rugby players ears .

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:22:38 UTC | #854057

loqueelviento's Avatar Comment 16 by loqueelviento

by making it explicit what is allowed.

Anything that is not forbidden I guess.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 07:15:38 UTC | #854108

loqueelviento's Avatar Comment 17 by loqueelviento

[1] - Admittedly the original book was in French, so this misfeature of the title "Planet of the Apes" might be a translation error.

The original title is "La Plan├Ęte des singes", with "singes" generally referring to a not well defined subset of non human primates (probably close to simiiformes).

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 07:36:19 UTC | #854111

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 18 by Alan4discussion

Sorry comment 1 was a bit approximate.

Comment 5 by Steven Mading :

The worst thing about the title "Planet of the Apes" is the failure to realize that the word "Apes" includes homo sapiens. Earth has already been a planet of the apes for all of recorded history.

The other thing is the "King Kong" demonizing of the gorillas as bands of predatory aggressors, with the chimps portrayed as being peaceful. The Hollywood backside first world view again!

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 08:24:43 UTC | #854133

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 19 by Peter Grant

But, but, a monstrous race of apes with fully functional human brains is something I've always wanted!

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 09:41:57 UTC | #854162

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 20 by Dr. monster

this potential new law seems to be based solely on emotion and not reason. i would like to see new ape human Frankenstein monsters. what we should have is humanist laws against causing unnecessary suffering or harm in intelligent creatures.

it's probably quite easy to create a hybrid ape-man. it happens with horse-zebras naturally in the wild.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 09:55:47 UTC | #854166

KJinAsia's Avatar Comment 21 by KJinAsia

Comment 16 by loqueelviento :

by making it explicit what is allowed.

Anything that is not forbidden I guess.

Yes, that's a critical distinction. To define what is allowable to genetic engineers now would be akin to telling aerospace engineers at the start of the Moon program that they can only use slingshots.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:42:14 UTC | #854188

keddaw's Avatar Comment 22 by keddaw

Anything that doesn't generate a human-esque brain leaves the rest of the animal as simply animal and there is no human rights issue.

Start mucking about with human brain structures and we are having issues that require serious consideration - although my view is that if it has a reasonable IQ and can suffer we should try to avoid making it do so - without its consent.

Much like loqueelviento and KJinAsia, I am very worried when people start to propose laws that tell us what we CAN do rather than what we CANNOT. The implication being that our rights are handed out by a generous government rather than realising that all laws reduce our freedoms and we should be very wary about creating more of the bloody things.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 11:38:30 UTC | #854203

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 23 by Peter Grant

I reckon it would be an improvement over what we have now, a monstrous race of apes with semi-functional human brains.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 12:38:08 UTC | #854219

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 24 by Zeuglodon

"Animals containing human material"? I suppose they mean individual animals with human genes added to their genomes. It would be a failure of biology if they meant something else, because of what everyone else here has pointed out.

I think there should be. We as a society allow experiments on animals or animal embryos that we don't allow on humans, even on human embyros.

I currently suspect stem cell research to be the more ethical option, except in cases when animal experimentation does not involve hurting them or neglecting their welfare outside of experiments. Stem cell research does not involve expensive animal husbandry, and it deals with human cells so there's less risk of ambiguity over whether or not Drug C has no affect on chimps or mice, but a terrible one on humans.

And embryos don't suffer as much as adult humans, or as much as adult chimpanzees or mice do, though the embryo's parents might feel upset and not want to sacrifice the embryo when approached and asked, and their feelings ought to count too.

Or why not mix and match? Have embryonic stem cell research using chimpanzee or mouse cells.

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 00:14:40 UTC | #854482

Jussie's Avatar Comment 25 by Jussie

Comment 14 by KJinAsia

Comment 11 by Jussie :

Why do I tend to think it bad to geneticaly engineer anything, but when i think about it I can't find a good argument against it?

Because the idea triggers a neurochemical response we call disgust as a result of a perceived violation of purity. Luckily, you examine the response itself and find it without rational merit. Sadly, most people don't question the response and just make up unsupported fear based reasons why it must be leading them in the right direction.

Genetic engineering will be a spectacularly successful human revolution. These stupid people who campaign against GM food are doing humanity an incalculable disservice.

Thanks for the clear answer. I guess Genetic Engineering should be judged on the same merits we do other technologies. No more no less.

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 21:41:16 UTC | #854818

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

Comment 23 by Peter Grant

I reckon it would be an improvement over what we have now, a monstrous race of apes with semi-functional human brains.

You've been to the creation museum and talked to them?

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 21:08:34 UTC | #855336

Eosimias's Avatar Comment 27 by Eosimias

Comment 26 by Alan4discussion :

You've been to the creation museum and talked to them?

I've never been to one, but I met Alvis Delk (of dinosaur/human "Delk Track" infamy) on the side of the road in Central Texas one time. It was a total accident (and a really bizarre one, at that).

First he claimed to be an archaeologist, and then bragged about his extensive arrowhead collection (something no professional archaeologist would have). When he brought up the alleged dinosaur/human track, I suddenly realized who I was talking to.

Sun, 31 Jul 2011 08:40:37 UTC | #856132