Your Philosophy Lesson For the Day

When Barbara Streisand talked about cloning her dog for $50,000, I thought she was joking. I know we love pets, but come on… Unfortunately Sarah got wind. She has a sick relationship with our family dog. She actually called Pippa her spirit animal and wants us all to contribute to cloning her. For $50,000.

Just because it fit in with the prompt, I looked into it.

The whole thing gives me the creeps, but is quite interesting—in a please-make-it-stop kind of way. Reading about Wolfie and Bubble, the first dogs this company cloned and their poster dogs (more like scruffy rats), I felt like I was getting a philosophy lecture, if not a theology lecture. What I got is they think it’s the first pet’s soul in the new pet. How far back can I roll my eyes?

What’s a gyp is that the company can’t guarantee the two animals will be exact copies. I thought of some questions. If they’re not identical, what if you like the clone better than the original dog? Will you spend ten-plus years feeling guilty? What happens when the clone dies? Do you get a clone of the clone and so on? See what I mean? Philosophy mixed with bioethics.

It all gives me the willies. Like thinking of infinity or space. At the rate science and technology are advancing, I can’t imagine what my ancestors will see. Cloned people? Okay, pets checked off the creepy list–at least compared to cloning people.

Oops!

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It wasn’t quite THIS bad…

Everything about space has always fascinated me. Before a life event beyond my control prevented it, my dream was to be an astronaut. Not the eight-year-old “when I grow up…”dream, but I really was going to be an astronaut. I had written (now you know how long ago it was) NASA for an application to see what I needed in college, and was on a first-name basis with the woman in the astronaut selection office. I really was going to be an astronaut.

In retrospect, to be an astronaut you must like math and science. I liked neither. Oh, well, I was going to be an astronaut.

Of course, because everything about space was so interesting, of course my seventh-grade science project just had to be space related. To this day, I have no idea how I thought of my project, but it just popped into my head: “Does the Density of a Planet’s Atmosphere Affect the Impact a Meteor Would Have?” I simply threw rocks on a sand-covered paper plate that had either a Kleenex, paper towel, or washcloth on it to mimic different atmospheric conditions. My seventh-grade mind didn’t think of some things, like not all planets are solid, how was I sure I was throwing the rocks each time, etc.

I guess the judges at my school didn’t think of that, because I won first place. But besides being a nerd, I must to admit to being a bit of a klutz. Walking up to turn in my project at the district competition, the unthinkable happened: I dropped the plate.   My parents and I fiendishly recreated craters before the projects were due (picture us in the parking lot, using our knuckles to recreate the “meteor” indentations in the different atmospheres), and I thought we did a pretty impressive job faking the wonder of science.

I didn’t go beyond the district competition. I still wonder: what if I had been more graceful back then…?