You know, everytime that I start to think that maybe certain religious folks have too big a say in some aspects of the government some story like this comes along:

Work on the world’s first human-made species is well under way at a research complex in Rockville, Md., and scientists in Canada have been quietly conducting experiments to help bring such a creature to life…
…Government and scientific bodies in the U.S. have investigated safeguards for the new technology, given its potential to yield new pathogens as weapons of bioterror. Ethicists have raised concerns about humans altering the “nature of nature.”
But proponents feel the many benefits of redesigning micro-organisms to do human bidding far outweigh the risks…
…”I grew up doing that with cars and clocks and radios and things like that,” Dr. Venter said. “You take them apart to understand them and then you try and see if you can reassemble them.”

Holy sweet mother of (insert deity name here) does that scientist’s attitude scare the bejeebus out of me. Life. It’s just a game for some, I guess.

3 Responses to “Ethics?”

  1. Rob says:

    Humans have been altering the “nature of nature” for a long time. It is the nature of nature for people to die of infections, to die of the flu, to die in childbirth, etc. That still happens but not as often as it once did. Even though science sometimes gives me pause, I’m not a big fan of limiting it.

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    Altering, nudging in certain directions I can handle, but to create soomething new, a new life, and act like it’s nbo different than taking apart a plookin’ alarm clock???? hell no.

  3. John says:

    One of my friends in grad school was a philosophy major turned chemist. Someone was talking about Turing tests and said that there never will be a machine that thinks. My friend said that we all were.
    That’s the attitude that most scientists (including me, for the most part) take. It’s not as if they are creating something new. All they are doing is taking the known sequences for genes and splicing them togehter in a different order. It still will be a carbon based life form with DNA just like ours. Not really any more “new” than taking a human gene and putting it in a mouse when mice don’t express a human protein that you want to study. They’re called knock-in organisms, and they’re used in biomedical research all the time. The only differences here is that all the genes are knock-in (but they are all known genes coming from known organisms), and the “animal” is a bacterium, and not a mouse.
    I’d be a little more leery if they were taking a bunch of amino acids and bunging them together at random to see if they could construct new genes. The main danger here is resistant organisms, but that’s just as true with natural bacteria that have a few genes spliced into them they way we do it now.

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