Skip to comments.Life 2.0 (Science plays God)
Posted on 09/10/2006 5:38:02 AM PDT by voletti
At the moment, what passes for genetic engineering is mere pottering. It means moving genes one at a time from species to species so that bacteria can produce human proteins that are useful as drugs, and crops can produce bacterial proteins that are useful as insecticides. True engineering would involve more radical redesigns. But the Carlson curve (Dr Carlson disavows the name, but that may not stop it from sticking) is making that possible.
In the short run such engineering means assembling genes from different organisms to create new metabolic pathways or even new organisms. In the long run it might involve re-writing the genetic code altogether, to create things that are beyond the range of existing biology. These are enterprises far more worthy of the name of genetic engineering than today's tinkering. But since that name is taken, the field's pioneers have had to come up with a new one. They have dubbed their fledgling discipline synthetic biology. Truly intelligent design
One of synthetic biology's most radical spirits is Drew Endy. Dr Endy, who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, came to the subject from engineering, not biology. As an engineer, he can recognise a kludge when he sees one. And life, in his opinion, is a kludge.
(Excerpt) Read more at economist.com ...
Definitely useful. As humanity in its current form is incapable of reaching reasonable speed in interstellar travel, it is obvious that GOD sees humanity as an intermediate stage to some biomechanical droid life form.
you forgot the < sarc > tag ... I hope!
You sound like an expanded life expectancy, multispectral vision and the strength of a gorilla male were a bad thing. Oh, sorry, brain jar #7 seems to need a stem cell injection.
In order to make these blanket statements, scientists would need to demonstrate that they indeed know all there is to know about all DNA and WHY it's the way it is. They're presuming they know more than an intelligent designer capable of creating an entire universe and the life in it. A bit presumptuous.
Barbara Streisand initial premise. Teosinte to corn is a fine counter example. Tagline...
It's inevitable. The more we learn about genetics, the mopre we learn how to manipulate them. It is only a mkatter of time until someone somewhere synthesizes an organism that has no natural analog. Hopefully, it won't be some apocalyptic plague.
The same statement was made about chemistry a century ago. It was though that no chemical produced by a living thing could be prepared in a laboratory. They though organic chemicals could only be produced by living things and it would be impossible for man to create in a test tube what God has living organisms doing as part of His creation. When urea was artificially synthesized, that broke that paradym of thinking. As for DNA, it's chemistry is very, very well understood. We can synthesize DNA in the lab. We have also made DNA analogues using different building blocks than deoxyribonucleic acids. I know a synthetic chemist that made a DNA analog where the phosphate groups were substituted with siloxane groups and that was over 12 years ago. There is no mystery behind the fundamental chemistry of DNA. That's well established chemistry.
You are quite right. The nations with the greatest technological edge will dominate the world. They will get to set the priorities and reap the rewards. And don't forget nanotech. The convergence of synthetic biology and nanotechnology will be a new phase for life as we know it. There is a lot of power, and terrible responsibility for who has this future technology. If the U.S. does not invest in it, we will be at the mercy of those who do. If we hamper research, or even shut it down, like we have in the stem cell debate, because of ethical considerations, we WILL fall behind those nations that are not so shy. I'm not saying its right or wrong, but that someone is going to let more genies out of more bottles and we should be positioned to be the ones in control of those genies, and not be the ones under control of those with the genies.
For example, what would the world be like if Stalin or Hitler invented the A-bomb, but we didn't because it was too horrible of a weapon?
You're presuming that there is a designer capable of creating an entire universe and the life in it. A bit presumptuous.
Not presumptuous. Order and complexity are a result of intelligence. That's the evidence that's staring everyone in the face that some refuse to see or acknowledge. Science depends on it and we are expected to believe that what goes on in a science lab is a result of intelligence and design. But then we are told that the order and complexity just happened by itself and there's absolutely no basis for that conclusion. There's nothing to support it.
Or assembling genes from scratch.
Oh, sorry, brain jar #7 seems to need a stem cell injection.
That's the evidence that's staring everyone in the face that some refuse to see or acknowledge. Science depends on it and we are expected to believe that what goes on in a science lab is a result of intelligence and design.
There is no such expectation or dependency. Science observes what happens, measures, uses proper inductive reasoning and a rigorous methodology.
But then we are told that the order and complexity just happened by itself and there's absolutely no basis for that conclusion. There's nothing to support it.
Other than millions of fossils and other evidence and the ability to think, test and conclude (if by "by itself" you mean as a result of natural forces.)
The 20th century's biggest revolutions were atomic power/weapons and the computer.
The 21st will be biotech, space colonization and nanotech.
Ping? (these days I don't know which are "good" threads ;)
I don't understand the (Science Plays God) byline...
CREATING life from scratch is the sole province of G-D, ain't it?
Yep. Toss superintelligent AIs into the mix (we'll have sufficient hardware in a decade or less, software is harder but progress is being made) and things get really interesting.
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