Neanderthal cloning chatter highlights scientific illiteracy
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"We really should get the public of the entire world to be able to detect the difference between a fact and a complete fantasy that has been created by the Internet," he said.
In the Der Spiegel article, which Church said reported his words accurately, and his recent book "Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves," Church theorized that studying cloned Neanderthals could help scientists better understand how the human mind works. Scientists have already extracted DNA from Neanderthal bones.
But such experiments would pose a host of ethical concerns - including how many Neanderthals would be created and whether they would be treated as mere study subjects or as beings with their own rights, Church said.
"I do want to connect the public to science because there are so many decisions to be made if the way they learn it, if they learn it faster by talking about Neanderthals than they did by getting rote learning in high school, that's great," he said.