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Ethics of creating synthetic life

Major

4 legs good 2 legs bad
V.I.P.
FOXNews.com - Scientists Create Synthetic Life in Lab

Scientists have recently created synthetic life - a living, self-replicating cell powered by man-made DNA. They copied the DNA of an existing species of bacteria, but theoretically it's possible for them to write their own DNA sequences, altering existing species or creating new species altogether.

While this new breakthrough can be used for new forms of energy, food sources, vaccines, etc, it can also be used for bad things such as biological warfare, new viruses, a new species that will take over the world (hey, you never know). The possibilities are endless.

Do you think this is good or bad? Should humans be playing "God"?



If you want to learn more about this and how it works, check out this video.

YouTube - Craig Venter: On the verge of creating synthetic life
 

PretzelCorps

Registered Member
Better we do it now and come to understand it ourselves first, in a laboratory of science, rather than leave it alone for potentially ethical reasons. Because somebody's going to do it eventually, and that someone may be a whole lot less responsible or have a huge chip on their shoulder.

Although, what I heard was that they haven't created life, only mimicked it; we still have a looooong way to go.
 

Th3Pr3Tz3l

Registered Member
this new breakthrough can be used for new forms of energy, food sources, vaccines, etc
Sounds good to me.

it can also be used for bad things such as biological warfare, new viruses, a new species that will take over the world (hey, you never know)
Countries that still view biological warfare as ethical would not be advanced enough to do this.

I see no problem with it. The only problems I can think of would be religious in nature. In the ideal world, where religion is seperate from science and government this wouldn't be a problem. But sadly we don't live in that world yet, and like other technology that could significantly advance us, this development may be cut short by the naysayers.

Stem cells anyone? Except with this we might be able to make stem cells...Ah, then someone MUST figure out a reason to label it "wrong" =P
 

stevenfermi

Registered Member
I think it's fine. I mean, unless it hurts others, it seems fine. An innocuous Frankenstein-like cell is okay.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
I see the good more than the bad side of it. The bad side being the negative things that can come out from such technology, and not so much the moral dilemma of it's playing God. I mean, if we want to be very strict about it and not go through any advancement that might make us appear like we're playing God, then where would that leave modern medicine?
 

PonderCloud

Registered Member
Any advancement for a species necessitates some risk -- evolution is a risk in itself. Technological advancement is an inevitable process for humanity. As long as we have science, our natural curiosity and hunger for knowledge ensures this -- just as our hunger for power and strength ensures the possibility of it being turned into a weapon. Therefore the issue is not in preventing the technology from being produced, as that is surely impossible. Rather, the issue lies in preventing the technology from being used in a dangerous manner and maintaining the viewpoint that it is wrong to be used in such a way.
 
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stevenfermi

Registered Member
Any advancement for a species necessitates some risk -- evolution is a risk in itself. Technological advancement is an inevitable process for humanity. As long as we have science, our natural curiosity and hunger for knowledge ensures this -- just as our hunger for power and strength ensures the possibility of it being turned into a weapon. Therefore the issue is not in preventing the technology from being produced, as that is surely impossible. Rather, the issue lies in preventing the technology from being used in a dangerous manner and maintaining the viewpoint that it is wrong to be used in such a way.
Technological singularity, grey goo, instanton bubble (possible?), etc. We can destroy the world by other means. :D
 
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