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How to kill 3.5 billion people

Dekzper

Registered Member
A Dutch scientist has engineered an air-borne, extremely contagious, and lethal version of the Avian flu that could kill half of the Earth's population.
They are currently debating whether the article (and recipe) should be published.

Many scientists say it's something that should never have been done period. But they also say that it should be published so that we can learn how to respond to a global emergency like this.

Dutch Researcher Created A Super-Influenza Virus With The Potential To Kill Millions

Should The Dutch Scientist Publish His Super-Influenza Virus Research? Future Epidemics Could Be Prevented With The Risk Of Killing Millions

My opinion is that they may not be able to find a cure in time. Look how long it took to even find medicines to help AIDs patients. And they don't have a cure for that. They don't even have a cure for Plague yet.
So I'm opposed to publishing the paper.

Are you opposed to publication or do you think there's a chance the world could survive it? Please discuss.
 

Taliesin

Registered Member
I just don't understand why someone would engineer something like this in the first place. Why not engineer a cure for something? Ever heard of that, Mr Crazy Scientist sir? Good grief.

Seriously, I just don't see the benefit of something like this. We don't need more potential weapons of mass destruction. Period.
 

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
While reading this thread I kept picturing something like this in my mind.



I honestly don't see the harm in it being published, if it can help other researchers learn from this then why not? As long as it was controlled and no one got their hands on it then it's fine.
 

SuiGeneris

blue 3
I just don't understand why someone would engineer something like this in the first place. Why not engineer a cure for something? Ever heard of that, Mr Crazy Scientist sir? Good grief.

Seriously, I just don't see the benefit of something like this. We don't need more potential weapons of mass destruction. Period.
Most of the time Ephermerite, this is how cure's are discovered. Typically a cure is made up of some sort of the actual virus itself. So in this case, you can't cure a strand of the avian flu that could wipe out half the world's population without actually having a strand available to study.

I mean here's a weird thought though. Say they publish it, publish the "recipe" or whatever and it gets out. Chances are you and I both die, but what about the world itself. Couldn't it seem almost as a blessing? Just weird food for thought, we haven't had the population growth curtailed in quite some time.

In all reality though, I think the name could be published, but a step by step diagram on how it was made is definatly discouraged if you know what I mean.
 

Taliesin

Registered Member
Most of the time Ephermerite, this is how cure's are discovered. Typically a cure is made up of some sort of the actual virus itself. So in this case, you can't cure a strand of the avian flu that could wipe out half the world's population without actually having a strand available to study.
Point taken. I hadn't thought of it in those terms.

I mean here's a weird thought though. Say they publish it, publish the "recipe" or whatever and it gets out. Chances are you and I both die, but what about the world itself. Couldn't it seem almost as a blessing? Just weird food for thought, we haven't had the population growth curtailed in quite some time.
That's the bit I hate. I'm not something to be culled. I like living, much like anything on this earth does. I'm not so selfless that I can console myself with the whole "at least the earth gets to benefit" thing!

In all reality though, I think the name could be published, but a step by step diagram on how it was made is definatly discouraged if you know what I mean.
But info like that will always find a way of passing into the wrong hands. In light of your first point, I must concede the need to engineer and study this kind of thing, but it also shows just what a double edged sword the progression of knowledge can be.
 

Dekzper

Registered Member
The really serious issues that are being debated (by the scientists) are:

1. The article that would be published DOES have a step-by-step diagram for creating the virus. It has to so that other scientists can duplicate what he did.

2. The article would be easy to obtain, even by bio-terrorists. They think an incident like what happened with Anthrax would be rare, but it could happen. Since the terrorists would be suicide types, then they could infect themselves with the virus and just walk through New York city and infect everyone there.

The latest argument in favor of publication claims that even if a bio-terrorist did that, it would just be giving science a chance to deal with a dangerous global epidemic so they'll be better prepared for it.

But they also said that the chances of this virus actually happening in nature was very unlikely. The only way they could have this virus was by making it in a lab.
 
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SuiGeneris

blue 3
Ephemerite;1084598 That's the bit I hate. I'm not something to be culled. I like living said:
Haha totally agree. I mean I can sit here and pretend to see the benefits of reducing the world's population by half, and the effect it would have on..well everything, but I like to live. I also like to think that my son's going to continue to live for a while as well.

But info like that will always find a way of passing into the wrong hands. In light of your first point, I must concede the need to engineer and study this kind of thing, but it also shows just what a double edged sword the progression of knowledge can be.
I think there is a pretty big concern that this could be used for less than "humanitarian" purposes, and I think that it's a serious subject. Scientists develop the next "black plague" all the time in labs and typically these strands can't survive the "extreme" environment that is the human body or our current global climate, but if they find one that does, and it spreads as effectively as they believe, we could see a very serious and sad day.
 
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