T Rex skeleton in ground
One ULC Minister argues we should leave extinct species alone.

The following guest sermon was submitted by ULC minister Devon Bechtold. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@ulc.org.


A recent YouGov poll asked Americans how they feel about bringing various extinct species back from the dead and returning the recently resurrected species back into their natural habitats. Should we bring extinct species back from the dead? It’s an interesting ethical and moral question.

The results of the poll were fascinating... and unexpected. For example, species that have gone extinct in recent centuries were far more likely to be looked upon as worthy candidates for resurrection, while very few are eager to bring back species that died out thousands or millions of years ago.

50% of Americans were in favor of bringing back the giant tortoise, and 44% were in favor of resurrecting the passenger pigeon and northern white rhinoceros. Both species went extinct within the last few centuries and humans unequivocally share some (or most) of the blame for the outcome.

Dinosaurs weren’t as lucky, with only 10% of Americans in favor of re-introducing the Tyrannosaurus rex back into the wild. A fair point – T. rex lived in the western United States and I’m not sure that the citizens of Wyoming and Montana would appreciate giant 7,000 kg lizards suddenly roaming their backyards (and, potentially eating their pets, or possibly loved ones).

There are obvious practical reasons as to why we shouldn’t be reviving and releasing massive carnivorous theropods. But less obvious are the ethical and spiritual implications. Just because we have the technology to play God… doesn’t mean we should.

Playing God is Playing With Fire

Scientists are apparently split on whether ‘de-extinction’ is possible, and it is a subject of much debate in the scientific community, although there are some who are certain they can bring back extinct species like the wooly mammoth or dodo in the next few years.

But here's the thing: playing God by tampering with genetics is a very dangerous road to go down. 

If history has taught us anything, it’s that genetic tampering is simply too powerful a tool for humans to wield. Only God has that wisdom. 

Almost as soon as genetics became a legitimate scientific field of study, eugenics sprouted up right next to it, seeking to weed out so-called “undesirable” traits from the human race. Of course, this was one of the main justifications used by the Nazis during the Holocaust. 

At the core of the pro-resurrection argument is the belief that science is always infallible, and that scientists can do no wrong. Scientists are always ethical and are the real moral arbiters. They’d never use such awesome powers for evil.

But I fear that the second we begin using genetic editing to resurrect species that were selected by nature for extinction, we’re only a hop, skip, and a jump away from using that power to edit fetuses (without their consent). There are clear ethical woes to consider. Within generations, so-called “undesirable” traits might be edited away completely.

One white skinned, blue eyed, straight toothed baby coming right up! The miracle of life, reduced to nothing more exciting than placing a dollar menu order at McDonald’s.

Lazarus-Rex

If you think that modern scientists would have the ethical discipline to not play God with human DNA, then consider this question: What is the point of resurrecting these species anyway?

The ecosystems they once lived in have since moved on, and who knows what kinds of damage a reintroduced species would bring to an ecosystem that’s no longer fit for them. That would have devastating and unpredictable results for living species. 

Would it be, then, to put them in zoos, like in Jurassic Park? What purpose does caging them serve, other than as a novelty for gawking visitors?

2,000 years ago when God brought Jesus back from the dead, it was the greatest moment in human history. Now we’re flippantly wielding that very power without a care for where that road may lead. On what planet is that a good idea?

55 comments

  1. Tom Thackrey's Avatar Tom Thackrey

    1) We've been playing with genetics since farming began. Most of our crops, and even animals, have been modified by selective breeding.

    2) We've participated in the extinction of many species, there could be great benefit to restoring some species. It would be nice if "man" could be reasonable and proceed cautiously, but we know that's not our nature.

    3) It's not possible to stop. If Putin or some other autocrat decides it's in his or her best interest, it will happen. Very few inventions of any interest have been put aside as too dangerous to use.

    4) Eugenics was a racist misuse of "science." The next Jessie Helms, David Duke, Adolf Hitler, Henry Ford, or James L. Hart will find the their "Neo-Eugenics" without any help. Think illegal immigrants, micro-chipped vaccines, CRT, etc. etc.

    1. John Albert Daniel's Avatar John Albert Daniel

      MR. THACKERY YOU SPOKE TRUTH AND YOU WERE NOT THROWING STONES AT OTHER COMMENTS SOME COULD LEARN FROM YOU ADDRESS THE SUBJECT.

    2. Leslie Bomar's Avatar Leslie Bomar

      Regardless of where one stands on the existence of God, or any god, repopulating extinct species could be a good thing. Especially in the areas where man himself is the reason for said extinction. To my understanding, these extinction events were not done of malice, but more of ignorance or lack of knowledge. Thus, arranging to bring back said populations could be a good thing, when done with restraint and knowledge of placing them back where they once thrived.

      Likewise, genetic modification to the unborn. Likewise, this is a path that is fraught with opportunities for abuse and misuse, however there is much good that may be accomplished. It is entirely possible we could one day eliminate deformity, certain diseases or disabilities and prevent these from manifesting in our young.

      Much like Pandora's box though, this door has already been opened, and once opened, cannot be closed again. While I am sure the vast majority will recognize the ethical and moral obligations such power holds, and will use it wisely, there are always those that will abuse, misuse and twist knowledge for their own perverse ends. We as a society, as a population, must always be on the watch for such, and make sure their perfidy is not shrouded in darkness, nor allowed to stand without protest.

  1. AetherAgent's Avatar AetherAgent

    Like it or not, if it can be done, it will be done, and no legislation or moral opposition will stop it. The only question is how it's done.

  1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

    From a scientific viewpoint yes I said scientific it probably would be a great thing! From a practical viewpoint do we really know what we're doing it seemed to me they will become extinct for a reason again from a very practical viewpoint it could very well be very dangerous I know it's a movie but we would be actually making Jurassic Park become a reality I live in Florida where we have small lizards I find that they are very aggressive for insects now let's say we're dealing with dinosaurs large lizards that's very aggressive who or what would be the insects then? From a biblical standpoint God supposedly made these animals become extinct I would say for a reason let's look at the very practical viewpoint above I think that's what God was trying to achieve anyway that's my opinion may God bless us all Reverend Wayne

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      There is no demonstrable evidence whatsoever that any god did anything to make animals become extinct because we have no evidence any god exists.

      🦁❤️

      1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

        Lionheart suggest that you check the Bible first chapter of Genesis where is it said that God created the Earth creatures or something that point anyway basically I'm just saying this for the sake of brevity and for some place to come from or go to

        1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

          Cited in the Bible: 2.1 God Created Animals and Man “Let the waters be full of living things. Let birds fly above the earth in the open space of the heavens. God made the big animals that live in the sea and every living thing that moves through the waters by its kind, and every winged bird after its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24-25)

          “God wanted good to come to them, saying, ‘Give birth to many. Grow in number. Fill the waters in the seas. Let birds grow in number on the earth’… Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring into being living things after their kind: Cattle and things that move upon the ground, and wild animals of the earth after their kind.’ And it was so. Then God made the wild animals of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every thing that moves upon the ground after its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:20-22)

          God was pleased with His animal creation. I believe God delighted in seeing His creation enjoying the life that He gave them.

          1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

            Are you seriously suggesting, Wayne, that I look in a book to find evidence any god exists?

            If I look in other “books”, such as The Book of Mormon, or the Quran, or the Bhagavad Gita, or Harry Potter, etc, am I also to find evidential truth there as well? What makes your book, written by semi educated goat herders, better than other books?

            Do you have a habit of believing everything you read, Wayne, or are you coming from an indoctrination perspective?

            🦁❤️

            1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

              Okay Lionheart you ask where is it written I only cited one place where is written I'm just doing what you ask

              1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

                Oh okay! So you have read it somewhere....got it! Mmmm🤔

                🦁♥️

      2. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

        Okay Lionheart first of all I apologize for offending you I guess I assumed you were Christian or at least your day or Christian which again I'm not trying to offend you I'm just trying to understand you at this point I'm not quite sure what we're even discussing anymore I thought we were discussing the fact that bringing back dinosaurs are extinct animals but I guess not so again I'm not quite sure what we're discussing so please accept my apologies and let's try to move on to other things in our lives

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          It’s no problem Wayne, I saw you were referencing a god of some sort in your article and I was merely replying that we have no evidence any god exists, or has ever existed.

          Thank you for your reply, all is good. We are all friends here. 🤗

          🦁❤️

          1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

            Okay that settled? Question at this point I would like to ask you a personal level if you don't mind and again I do apologize for any implications outside for just my own curiosity what is it that you do believe in at this point I'm assuming you're atheist but there's nothing wrong with that either I don't know if it's the right thing to say or not then maybe the differences and why you're challenging me so much and I'm Christian and you're probably atheis I can see where at times anybody can question the presence of God or a god let's put it this way you do believe there is some Force in nature or in the universe that does create things and intelligent or otherwise that's all I'm really probably trying to say or most Christians are trying to say although they have their own way of doing it anyway no problem I'm just kind of curious and like to know who I'm talking to so we can better understand and perhaps get along you do realize that in this ministries the basic theme is that we are all children of the same universe the at least agree with that point plus I'm trying to find some kind of a common ground

            1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

              Thank you for your questions Wayne. I used to be Christian, mainly due to being indoctrinated as a child, like so many others, when our minds are still developing. Religions tend to use these times for children to be indoctrinated because it best suits their methods to control and keep individual faiths going.

              In adulthood, I eventually decided to question everything I had been taught, using logic and reason, and the more I questioned with and open free mind the more I came to realize that there is no demonstrable evidence for any God that mankind has decided to believe in.

              I am now an advocate for little children who are, in my opinion, being mentally abused by the dogma of the worlds religions.

              I refer to myself as a free-thinking secular humanist. Thank you for your enquiry. 🤗

              🦁❤️

              1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

                Fascinating seriously I think you do have a good point I was brought up Christian as well sort of want it off in a different philosophies as I got older at about 15 years old I did a lot of research and study in the various different philosophies when I could somehow over the years I ventured back into Christianity technically a consider myself a Christian agnostic which does about the same thing you're talking about only from a true Christian viewpoint trust me I question it all with my as well that's a lot of the my teachings are ideas a lot of my own based on Christianity and a lot of other beliefs

              2. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

                Thank you for your reply Wayne. May your studies bring you to the truth, using logic and reason. But most of all, pease of mind. 🤗

                🦁❤️

    2. Ryan's Avatar Ryan

      I agree with Rev Wayne. I think it would be a mistake if we bring certain extinct animals back. There's a reason why they're not here today, I say we leave it that way when it comes to dinosaurs. While I do appreciate science very much, if they're going to attempt to bring something back, let it be something that won't kill us! Just my 2 cents.

      1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

        Ryan thank you for the comment I'm not trying to be problematic or troublesome I'm just trying to make a brief point for the matter anyway may God bless you

    3. John Albert Daniel's Avatar John Albert Daniel

      REV.YOU LIST 3 VIEWPOINTS,SCIENTIFIC., PRACTICAL AND BIBLICAL WHICH DISCIPLINE DO YOU STANDBY IS GOD CREATOR OR NOT

      1. Rev Wayne Steven's Avatar Rev Wayne Steven

        Okay it appears that you want to argue a greater point my question to you is what difference does it make if it's a scientific practical or biblical point honestly I go by all three I'm leaving signs I believe in the Bible and I also believe in very practical situations as an example practical situations let's say they did create or bring back dinosaurs it would be a serious situation if you'd be running from that one now that would have intent on you being a dinner you get my point

    4. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

      Biblically speaking, this is the second Tower of Babel. Will God "confuse" the global and universal language of the internet to stop this? I surely don't know...

  1. John Albert Daniel's Avatar John Albert Daniel

    THE ANTI-GOD PEOPLE DENY THERE IS A GOD DENOUNCE RELIGONS AND THEIR HOLY BOOKS BUT THE SCIENTISTS OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL THEM TRY TO PLAY GOD BRING BACK ANIMALS THAT ARE EXTINCT IS THIS THEIR FORM OF RESURRECTION..

    1. Joe Stutler's Avatar Joe Stutler

      So you don't understand the difference between magical resurrection and biological cloning, eh?

    2. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      @John Albert Daniel You are misquoting... It is Christians who say scientists are trying to play God. Scientists are just finding the truth about the world we live in.

      And the truth is, scientists know how and have created life, create synthetic life and just this year have figured out how to create life without a man's sperm. To say scientist are "trying" to play God is obsolete, scientists are just as good at creating life as God is. Does that make us Gods? Or is God just not as special as Christians say?

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Douglas, I know how to create weevils. And don't forget about sea monkeys.

    3. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      The only reason the anti-God people deny there is a God is because there is still no demonstrable evidence for one.

      It’s just like the anti-fairy people and the anti-Loch Ness monster people. They don’t believe in fairies, or the Loch Ness monster, because there is still no demonstrable evidence for their existence, unless you believe in them of course, because of the evidence that you have.🤷🏼

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Atleast you didn't mention Camelot. Surely everyone from England believes in that. Right now, on this new 4g phone I got last month from Cricket, my favorite show, that I've been watching up to five episodes a day is an English series starting Colin Morgan called The Adventures Of Merlin. This month that lead me to get a two cassette tape audio book of Deepak Chopra's book The Return Of Merlin. And while on the subject of real European myths I will niether discount the Irish Leprechauns, as demonstrably proven by Warwick Davis in those Leprechaun documentary movies, of which he started in.

    4. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

      Thou sayest! "Doctor" Fauci is a case in point...

    5. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Maybe we can clone some gods and goddesses too, so we'll have more religions to choose from. Then Sir Lionheart will have demonstrable evidence that they exist.

  1. Rev. Dr. G. Waldron's Avatar Rev. Dr. G. Waldron

    This is a very difficult issue. There are so many prongs to it that will have to be studied by many disciplines. At this time, I am in a fog about it.

  1. Joe Stutler's Avatar Joe Stutler

    "Only God has that wisdom." If he's referring to the god of the Abrahamic mythos, the author must not have been paying attention. That particular deity demonstrates massive incompetence and an utter lack of wisdom that speaks volumes about the people who created that mythos - none of it good

  1. tuppennyblue's Avatar tuppennyblue

    What's generally not considered is that it takes a pool of at least thirty individuals to give enough genetic diversity for a species to be established. This is the real reason that Jurassic Park can never happen. Even if paleontologists were lucky enough to find DNA from two T Rexes, one male and one female, and use it to reanimate living creatures, it could not re-establish the species because what is effectively inbreeding would soon result in unhealthy and non-viable descendants. You could continue to clone individuals, but each cloned animal would be genetically identical to it's 'parent' and still would not give the necessary diversity.

    1. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

      In Jurassic World they openly admitted that they added or spliced the dna of amphibians and other reptiles to the animals of Jurassic park. The same could be done with genetically engineered animals in general. There’s always a chance cousin or more dna found could be in creation with the living construct. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    @Rev. Dr. G. Waldron Scientists have already created synthetic life, created life, and just this year can produce life without the need for man's sperm. Scientists have already brought back extinct life forms... This is not new.

    1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

      Thou sayest!!!

  1. William Waugh's Avatar William Waugh

    Again, Star Trek got it right!

  1. Donald Richard Starns's Avatar Donald Richard Starns

    Like, that’s just your opinion, man. Seriously, man has destroyed species. Isn’t that “playing god”?

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      I wouldn't mind opening a dinosaur burger joint, as soon as they bring back those critters. I'm sure I'd make quite a fortune, and before long have a large nationwide chain. Someone might also sell dinosaur steaks on the internet. Think of the possibilities.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      No Donald, it's called being an open minded, good cook. I wouldn't mind putting an almost extinct species on my stove and then my belly, as long as they taste good.

  1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

    Could we not create Jesus, Adam and Eve or any other historical person with modern DNA technology? This could potentially be a very good thing!

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Richard, if we produce multiple clones of Jesus we can get rich charging admission to their crucifixions, and rising from their tombs a few days later. And we can write a new bible and start a new religion for every one of them.

      1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

        That is a very distinct possibility. As with the Tower of Babyl, the sky is the limit.

  1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

    Bring back one of each species? And put them in a museum or breed them? How many millions of dollars would that involve when there are already millions of people in poverty? Reassign funding!

    1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

      Not to mention the awful condition of our roads, bridges and infrastructure that is crumbling and grossly underfunded. However, given the choice between playing with genetics and our current administrations warmongering, I would choose playing with genetics!

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Richard, Instead of wasting all that money on roads and bridges, as well as oil and manufacturing gasoline, we should switch from getting around in automobiles and other wheeled transportation, to solar powered hovercrafts. [ Remember the Jetsons.]

      2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Or, if people would switch to my preferred method of transportation (since selling my last car in 1991 to my best friend who was a tattoo artist (for a thousand in cash and a thousand in tattoos), a bicycle, we would tread far lighter on those roads and bridges, so maintaining them would cost far less. Although I haven't been riding for a while, staying home to avoid the pandemic, next month I'll be making a comeback, here on the Galveston Island seawall, riding my new Kulana beach cruiser, made by Pacific Cycles of Madison Wisconsin, right after I get through buying and installing most of the accessories I'm getting for it. Early next month I'm getting 25" high black apehanger handlebars. I've already got other accessories for it, all of which are black. The frame and rims are purple and blue. It's going to be totally decked out before I start riding it next month, like no bicycle I've ever seen. Then, after saving my play money for a few months I'll be getting a brushless electric motor to put on the front rim! Then I'll be able to take my ministry to the streets, really first class, for a non-conformist minister like me.

        1. Richard Darwin Richards's Avatar Richard Darwin Richards

          I wish we would just go back to walking in Jesus sandals.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      JaZe, and think of the potential for prehistoric animal zoos. Wouldn't that be cool. I'd be one of the first people in line to go to that.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    Those unable (or, unwilling) to take proper care of themselves, should be prevented from reproducing -- until they are able to take care for themselves.

    If you can't feed em, don't breed em.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    You do know that Eugenics is already a thing and has been used by foreign countries for their olympic teams and even now China and Russia are using this to try and build better soldiers? But instead the author of this fantasy somehow wants to equate this to Jurassic World

  1. James Grainger's Avatar James Grainger

    These species are extinct for a reason, whether man or nature caused said extinction. Bringing them back would detrimental to existing species, animal and human. Who knows how much damage they would do, before man decided they had to go, again... The world environment has changed so that they probably could survive in the wild and the expense of keeping them in zoos would be enormous. I say, leave nature alone, lest she bites you in the ass.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      I also wouldn't mind wearing a pair of dinosaur cowboy boots. I bet they'd sell for atleast a thousand dollars a pair.

  1. P. Keith Benefiel's Avatar P. Keith Benefiel

    Bring back the Dire Wolf or Saber-tooth Tiger. Put the zing back in the wilderness experience!

  1. Daniel Lee Weiss's Avatar Daniel Lee Weiss

    its not like we have a movie series warning against this...

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