The limits of science

Sometimes I wonder about the really big metaphysical questions – if the Chinese can invent a car that runs by your brain, why can't I get my Christmas lights, which were made in China, to turn on? Do they have to be plugged into a brain? And then, why is my electric popcorn maker, also manufactured in China, always sparking?

China has been in the news a lot lately. Aside from the fact its economy is controlling the rest of the world, not to mention our 401(k)s, they seem to keep coming up with wild and crazy inventions, along the lines of Dr. Frankenstein and Jules Verne, and some of them are a bit creepy. For example, their scientists have produced the world’s first “genetically edited” super dogs with muscles that make them look like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and the Incredible Hulk, with hair. I ask: What good can come from these experiments, unless they want a canine version of WWE’s Raw?

By manipulating DNA, the Chinese have produced a stronger, faster dog that’s capable of doing things dogs don’t normally do, nor would you want them to do, like arm wrestling.

Trust me. You don’t want these dogs sleeping in bed with you because there’s no telling what they’d do with those paws. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. You could kiss that hand goodbye. And you better forget that whole “Gimme your paw” routine, or you could end up on your back with huge incisors gripping your throat. Next stop, the ER. Second stop, the dog pound.

China also wants to be the world leader in the race to clone humans, which really terrifies me because the potential for disaster is so great. The first prospective candidate I can think of would be ... Miley Cyrus. Not to mention Nicki Minaj. Do we want more than one of them running around? And let’s not even consider the Kardashians.

China, you see, has the world’s biggest cloning factory, so the possibilities are endless. They are committed to replicating different species, including racehorses, police dogs and any other creature they can get their hands on.

By 2020, the Boyalife Group says it will be cloning a million cows annually. That sounds fine in theory, but I wouldn’t want to be the one eating cloned cheeseburgers. (Why don’t they just concentrate on making a better egg roll?)

Boyalife’s partner in South Korea has already begun a project to revive the woolly mammoth from extinction by cloning cells that have been preserved for millennia in Siberia. Jurassic Park here we come. And for the nominal fee of $100,000, they’ll clone your deceased pet dog. Spouses and/or mistresses are next.
The problem is that the founder of this operation is also the same scientist who was discredited because he claimed to have cloned a human embryo. He eventually lost his university job, had two papers retracted and was accused of embezzlement. Ethics and honesty are two things you can’t clone.

Another example of China helping humanity through scientific advancement comes from a research team at Nankai University, which has developed the world’s first car that can be controlled by your mind. That’s fine in theory, as long as you don’t go on the highway with it if you’re under the influence or have emotional problems.
The car is controlled by “brain power,” and the driver is required to wear special equipment with sensors that monitor electroencephalogram signals from the brain to make the vehicle move forward, backwards or stop. As the professor in charge of the project said, it’s just another example of “machines serving people,” which isn’t a philosophy I subscribe to. Let me put it this way: When the robots take over, they’ll be serving people too — for dinner.

What’s disturbing, though, is that despite all these visionary projects, China can’t make a safe dog treat. In fact, toxic jerky from China has been linked to over 1,000 dog deaths, according to the Food and Drug Administration, and in the past eight years, there have been some 5,000 complaints of pets getting sick after consuming treats imported from China.
Maybe they should concentrate less on cloning Aunt Tilly and more on product safety. Technology and science that are divorced from ethics can go crazy very quickly.

Despite all the hoopla about cloning, it always helps to know the difference between right and wrong, but that’s something mad scientists know nothing about.

Contact Joe Pisani at