If I may try to rephrase Myles's statement, I'd say that reproductive organs and survival instincts have taken over life over the course of evolution. That's what controls us and all animals and plants. It's not so much a purpose, it's what has taken over due natural progression. In the long run, the forms of life which weren't focusing on reproducing on surviving didn't make it as far as we have.
If a living organism can't reproduce, it's still life, but it will disappear very quickly since it will have no offspring.
As to the point of cloning neanderthals, I'd rather see us focusing on the important state of the art right now: creating artificial life. Just like Wintersong said:
Quoting zigzag, reply 120"Exactly. If we start cloning people, then we'll create a superbug wipes us out."
We don't need cloning for that to happen.
This is the next step we are going to make. I don't know if you're aware, but we have been able to create the first artificial lifeform by emptying a host cell of its DNA contents and injecting our self-made DNA into it. After we get more proficient, we will be able to start creating plants and animals that have more desirable traits than the ones nature provide us. There will be setbacks, there will be all sorts of hurdles and unseen complications, but this is the path we're going down on. Occasionally we'll create something that might get out of hand, but we'll probably survive.
Creating new custom life will lead to creating enhanced human beings. This is not the same thing as cloning, though. And this is not about improving an already living human like in most movies - that's nearly impossible, or at least incredibly much more complicated than creating an improved creature from birth, when you only have to modify one cell. When we're far enough down this path, we've conquered one of the two main battles we have left against nature: we're able to control evolution and speed it up infinitely.
The other battle we have left is being fought at the same time - aging. It would be interesting to know which comes first, the ability to stop the aging of cells, essentially leading to endless life, or the mastery of evolution. Once we are able to do to humans what some tree cells already do, which is to not age, the whole concept of human life will change. These things seem like science-fiction, but if you study the field and start to get a grasp of how life actually functions, how aging works, what makes us the way we are in terms of species and how we evolve, it is actually pretty clear where we are heading.
I just wish I was born a bit later to see the biggest breakthroughs happen. I don't believe the biggest stuff is coming yet within the next 60 years...
Oh, and these breakthroughs will totally destroy most religions. Unless they can adapt, which they have done remarkably well within the last 2000 years or so.