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 What does artificially created life mean ethically? (35)

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What does artificially created life mean ethically?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/may/20/craig-venter-synthetic-life-form

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5 points

This is more like an update on old news, Craig Venter reported progress with similar experiments in other bacteria years ago. However, what I'm really excited about are his efforts to synthetically create Eukaryotic cells. That's the next logical step, but it's so much more work.

The trouble with Eubacteria is that they contain small genomes, and so they have limits on the types of proteins, enzymes and chemicals they can express. If you make too complicated a genome, it won't "fit" in other words, although it's probably more correct to say that it'll eat up all the host cell's energy and precursors to express.

Archaea are a little better, because some species have genuine chromosomes, which probably means more potential for larger artificial genomes, but like Eubacteria we must remember that these are small cells with limited input. Also, the genetic codes are different in Archaea, by a little bit (and in some phyla of Eubacteria too, I believe). So if we're cutting and pasting between organisms for mass protein/chemical expression as the news article suggests, we must revise the genes so that they have the right amino acid for their triplets (if it came from Eukarya, that is, and we must also cut out introns but that's obvious).

The main issue with Eukaryotic cells compared to prokaryotes is that Eukaryotes are markedly more difficult to modify, you need retroviruses typically if you want to add a gene sequence, although I've heard of circular genomes existing in some Eukaryotes, for expression too so this might not be as bad as I think. If it's an entirely synthetic genome, I imagine the worst issue is finding a way to wrap up your genome into a package that can fit in the target cell. I can't imagine the headache involved in working with so many enzymes to stitch up complementary segments of DNA, then compressing the genome somehow for injection into the cell.

As for ethics, the purpose of this debate, I believe it is our ethical and moral responsibility to use this technology to make our civilisation less wasteful and damaging towards our environment. We should make bacteria that can, in a single stage, ferment cellulose into ethanol for car engines. We should make bacteria that can break crude oil down into less toxic molecules like polysaccharides, oxygen and nitrogen gas, and inert sulphur compounds, so that oil spills are less of a threat. We should make bacteria that signal pollutants or hazardous compounds with a colour-changing biofilm, we should use this technology to take existing endangered species and make them resilient towards the new environment, particularly keystone species. These technologies are what will save us, ultimately.

mudkipz2(358) Disputed
1 point

so what if we create life, it simple is a different form of creation. whether a baby comes form a mom or a test lab it does it does not diminish the creationist theory.

the womb is like a lab per se. you add the right amount of this and that and you get a human embryo. so what if pregnancy and birth become obsolete, it does not disprove that god created life.

how do you think God he created life, by a women? no by using science and the chemicals of earth and other outwardly even divine stuff you could say to make a human.

however one thing remains. we can not recreate the human mind and create our own conscious reasoning mind in a creature. that remains to God alone. we can borrow the genes of a humanistic mind to artificially make a human, but we can not create the gene for a conscious mind of our own record. it is impossible and i believe will remain impossible.

Side: it proves nothing

"Anybody can make a man, but only God can make a tree."

I guess this (with the exclusion of the latter phrase for the atheists) is slowly becoming true.

Ethically? I had been under the impression that life (or the creation thereof) was held sacred only by religious groups; what concern should atheists have of it? It is simply another way to perfect an extremely imperfect race - once it eventually gets to that level of ingenuity.

If it gets to the point where we are creating full-grown human beings out of 'thin air', well then there should be some concerns about safety, overpopulation, disease, etc. but until then is there really anything ethically unsound about it?

But, it is only a piece of bacteria that we're talking about! Come on, it's not like it's going to make sex obsolete (or the human race?). Some people are sure to marvel at it, but we are extremely far from anything either too dangerous or too human-like.

Sure, in the wrong hands, anything may be dangerous, but I wouldn't worry about something as mundane as bacteria.

If it were modified to be a bioweapon of sorts, then there'd be room for concern.

Side: it proves nothing
lawnman(1106) Disputed
1 point

Consider this:

Craig Venter and his team have built the genome of a bacterium from scratch and incorporated it into a cell to make what they call the world's first synthetic life form

If the "peer review process" confirms this claim, then it can also be validly argued therefrom that:

The creation of life is the result of an intelligent creator/s! The creationist's view is that God took a bunch of dust and created "man" thereby. It would seem as though science has finally confirmed the belief of creationists, while at the same time denying the base premise of evolutionists.

Am I correct? Yes! That is why we shall later see that the consensus of scientific opinion denies the current conclusion of Craig Venter’s experiment. I could drive this into the ground, but I think Craig’s claim is obviously a curse instead of a blessing for evolution.

(If scientists successfully create “life”, non-synthetic or synthetic, it only evidences that intelligent design is a valid position.)

Side: it proves nothing
ricedaragh(2520) Disputed
3 points

It would seem as though science has finally confirmed the belief of creationists, while at the same time denying the base premise of evolutionists.

It would seem that scientists have confirmed the evolutionary explanation for the start of life, and debunked the creationist view.

Craig Ventor first of all only technically photocopied an existing genome which would not make him a creator, Secondly if genetic science with its short thirty or so years can by mixing four bottles of chemicals synthesize a genome, then the nutrient rich earth 3 billion years ago could have easily, over the one and a half billion years it had, blend together the right molecules to create life. The fact that Ventor did it means that life could have easily come about by chance. This would throw the creationist view out the window.

Am I correct? Yes!

No you are not.

I think Craig’s claim is obviously a curse instead of a blessing for evolution.

This could be evolutions nuke to finally destroy creationist theory.

If scientists successfully create “life”, non-synthetic or synthetic, it only evidences that intelligent design is a valid position.)

The problem though as I find it is the creationist camp is divided into two, Deist Intelligent designists firmly support evolutionary theory, where as pure creationists do not. This can not go against Intelligent Design or evolutionary theory as both believe the same thing with certain caveats.

Side: Goodbye creationist myth
aveskde(1935) Disputed
3 points

The creation of life is the result of an intelligent creator/s! The creationist's view is that God took a bunch of dust and created "man" thereby. It would seem as though science has finally confirmed the belief of creationists, while at the same time denying the base premise of evolutionists.

You don't see the unfalsifiability of your assumption, do you? Creationists have always held that life is too complex to have evolved, requiring a god to create it. Therefore they believed that life could never be created synthetically by mere mortals. It gets worse because at the same time they posit that if life is created synthetically, it proves intelligence must have created all life.

In other words:

Can we make life? Yes => Intelligent design

Can we make life? No => Intelligent design

Am I correct? Yes! That is why we shall later see that the consensus of scientific opinion denies the current conclusion of Craig Venter’s experiment. I could drive this into the ground, but I think Craig’s claim is obviously a curse instead of a blessing for evolution.

Evolution is a fact, as are the experiments supporting abiogenesis. Craig Venter, one of my personal "heroes" (not that I have role models or actual heroes, but the man definitely receives my highest praise), has merely put the final nail in the coffin for the notion that life is somehow magical and beyond the ability of science to mimic and create.

In the article they said that he was derided as playing god, but I'd say it's more correct to assert that he's beating god at his own game.

(If scientists successfully create “life”, non-synthetic or synthetic, it only evidences that intelligent design is a valid position.)

No it isn't, because we weren't designed. We evolved through natural processes. You'll note that unlike Craig Venter's artificial bacterium, we have no watermarks in our DNA that can be read and decoded into a message from the creator.

Side: Goodbye creationist myth
2 points

If scientists successfully create “life”, non-synthetic or synthetic, it only evidences that intelligent design is a valid position.

Whoever thought that humans were 'intelligent'?

Side: Goodbye creationist myth
gcomeau(536) Disputed
2 points

If the "peer review process" confirms this claim, then it can also be validly argued therefrom that:

The creation of life is the result of an intelligent creator/s!

Oh gosh, how did i know this was going to happen?

For the last many decades creationists have ceaselessly complained that evolution was obviously impossible because we DIDN'T create life in a lab so it's clearly too hard for it to happen in nature. Which is the exact OPPOSITE of what you are now claiming is "the belief of creationists".

Then we create life in a lab and the claim instantly flips and becomes that evolution is impossible because we DID create life in a lab, therefore it didn't happen naturally! It required intelligent intervention!

Classic example of "it doesn't matter what the evidence is, declare it supports creationism!"

Which is why I can't agree with the "Goodbye Creationist Myth" tag. That would be true if people who belived in creationism cared about evidence. They don't. So no possible piece of evidence is going to kill the myth.

Side: Goodbye creationist myth
2 points

It'll be just like every other 'discovery'. Creationists will announce that it proves creationism, and evolutionists will claim that it proves evolution.

Side: Goodbye creationist myth
1 point

It is not possible to make life out of scratch. Every time they tried it just pushed them farther back. Only God can do it and whoever says they did has no proof, can't do it again, and they are lying

Side: Hello creationist revival
2 points

Did you read the article? Turns out you can make life. I'm not saying this is evidence for one side or the other, I'm just saying that you are clearly in denial of reality.

Side: Hello creationist revival

I don't see how this would prove or disprove Creationism. Is this what scientific debates have degraded too? Proving or disproving creationism? Isn't there more interesting things to debate?

Anyway, Rant off, It is an interesting breakthrough.

Side: it proves nothing

What does creating a child mean ethically? That you take care of it.

Side: it proves nothing