Cute Chimeras

I’m not sure how many people have heard of the jackalope (an imaginary cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope), but I think they sound pretty cute.

I cannot help but wonder why chimeras are so often associated with beastly monsters that deserve only repulsion. True, they are not the result of “natural”evolution. I’m not sure, however, what difference that makes. Evolution has certainly produced its fair share of disgusting creatures (such as the platypus and the blob fish).

Why would we react with any more disgust toward a chimera than a blob fish? I cannot think of a good reason. Chimeras reveal the power of human genius and creativity. When scientists can combine and create new animals, the possibilities are limitless. The reason we so often react with repulsion is not because an animal is a chimera, but because of the way in which that chimera is presented. Dr. Moreau’s horrific experiments seemed pointless and frightening. I would not say the same of a scientist trying to create a cute and snuggly jackalope. A chimera shouldn’t provoke disturbed feelings just because it’s a chimera. As with all science, the issue is never our knowledge but rather how we deploy it.

I fail to see a moral reason why humans should not do what nature has done for thousands of years. Humans are not separate from nature, but rather a part of it. Just as our environment shapes us, there should be no moral issue with shaping our environment. There is no reason why our actions should be considered any less natural than the interactions of other animals (which create ecological pressures that lead to new species). If chimeras can save lives and push forward the boundaries of human progress (or joy), then I say we ought to go for it. I don’t think a world filled with jackalopes would be so bad.

Nick B.

Nick B.


~ by nickmbrown on March 3, 2010.

One Response to “Cute Chimeras”

  1. I agree, we are just “speeding up” evolution in a way. But you are very right: “the issue is not our knowledge but how we deploy it.”

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