You WANT to laugh at this, but….
Their report calls for a new rules to supervise sensitive research that involves humanising animals.
One area of concern is “Category Three” experiments which may raise “very strong ethical concerns” and should be banned.
An example given is the creation of primates with distinctly human characteristics, such as speech.
Exactly the same scenario is portrayed in the new movie Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, in which scientists searching for an Alzheimer’s cure create a new breed of ape with human-like intelligence.
The report also acknowledges the “Frankenstein fear” that humanising animals might lead to the creation of “monsters”.
Professor Thomas Baldwin, a member of the Academy of Medical Sciences working group that produced the report, said the possibility of humanised apes should be taken seriously.
“The fear is that if you start putting very large numbers of human brain cells into the brains of primates suddenly you might transform the primate into something that has some of the capacities that we regard as distinctively human.. speech, or other ways of being able to manipulate or relate to us,” he told a news briefing in London.
“These possibilities that are at the moment largely explored in fiction we need to start thinking about now.”
One weakness of human beings is that we tend to assume that because something hasn’t happened yet, that the chances of it actually happening are infinitesimal, regardless of what the real danger may be.
In other words, because no one has cloned Hitler’s brain and stuck it in a great White Shark that escaped from captivity and started eating people, there are people who don’t realize how dangerous it is to be randomly tinkering with God’s creations when we really don’t understand the potential consequences.
Of course, there are a gazillion Sci-Fi movies that address the perils of exactly the sort of road we’re starting to walk down, but again, since there haven’t been any half-human, half-parakeet serial killers, people tend to shrug it off. Maybe 50 years from now, we still won’t have had problem one with this line of dangerous research. On the other hand, maybe it’ll turn out to be the most lethal line of research that man has undertaken since we started splitting the atom. Either outcome is possible and it would be wise for world governments to treat something this potentially dangerous with the respect it deserves.