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The Role Of Ethics In Bringing Extinct Species Back To Life

1434 words - 6 pages

Bringing Them Back to Life, an article written by Carl Zimmer for National Geographic April 2013 edition, discusses the possibilities in modern science to clone and revive species that have been driven to extinction in the past ten thousand years (445). Throughout this article, the author makes use of the rhetorical devices logos, ethos, and pathos to argue to an audience that humans have an obligation to revive species which have been driven to extinction directly due to human influences. Though the author acknowledges the benefits of species revival, and attempts to rebut his own arguments, the author’s use of fallacies takes away from the credibility of the article.
The role of ethics in modern genetic species revival is an arguable topic which takes on different stances depending upon who the author’s audiences are. In this piece, the author’s primary audience would be people who share the belief that it is ethical to revive such species. These people could include scientist, conservationists, and/or government officials because of their direct correlation to efforts similar to those that the author describes. Though there are people share the author’s beliefs, the secondary audience to this piece would include those who disagree with the author’s claim. People such as scientists, and government officials could also fall into this category, as they may disagree with the author’s claim. As a tertiary audience, the general pubic could be considered because of either their agreement, disagreement, or neutrality on the author’s claim that it is the ethical responsibility of humans to revive species which have become extinct directly due to human influence.
Arguing his claim that humans have an obligation to revive species which have been driven to extinction directly due to human influences, the author makes use of the rhetorical device logos. Using data in conjunction with his claim, the author attempts to appeal to the intellect and common sense of the audiences. Facts from attempts to clone extinct animals and the re-creation of their genomes serve as factual representations, from which the author attempts to lend support to his claim. This can be seen in the author’s discussion on the cloning and “de-extinction” of the Pyrenean Ibex (445-46), where factual data is used to indicate to the audience how the process of cloning has progressed. Also, the author’s rationalization as to why Wooly Mammoths should be revived, to restore Siberia to grassland, serves as a logical appeal in support of the author’s claim.
Siberia, for example, was home 12,000 years ago to mammoths and other big grazing mammals. Back then, the landscape was not moss-dominated tundra but grassy steppes. Sergey Zimov, a Russian ecologist and director of the Northeast Science Station in Cherskiy in the Republic of Sakha, has long argued that this was no coincidence: The mammoths and numerous herbivores maintained the grassland by breaking...

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