New technology called CRISPR has opened the floodgates of DNA hacking. But how many people, if any, should be allowed play God? This video is fascinating. I was introduced to the world of biohackers, and this CBS mini-doc featured one who is considered the rock star of biohackers Josiah Zaynor. He is a bit grossed out by the attention since he feels mainstream science is appropriating biohackers. He is against the big labs, etc.. He does all his work out of a house in Oakland, CA. He sells genetic editing kits to the public. I had no idea this was legal, but it is. He has used the tech on himself and has made himself muscular. The mini-doc also goes to Berlin, where one of the creators of CRISPR works.She, is of course, very excited about the implications. called CRISPR. CRISPR is short for Clustered Regularly Interspersed Short Palindromic Repeats. "CRISPR is this amazing technology because CRISPR allows you to directly target any sequence in somebody's genome, in their genes, that you want and make whatever change you want," according to Josiah. A scientist in China is doing just that with dogs and pigs. He believes if we can help people with genetic manipulation, why not do? Zaynor closes the video convinced we are on the verge of creating a whole new species of humans. He was excited. I am not. This video tells me that it is inevitable. The revolution has started.
This article was the shortest that I read and the easiest to read as it didn't cover hard science. Much of the focus is on Shelley and the motivation to write the text and what personal issues may have informed it. The author also points to the scientic discoveries of the day and how they influenced the author in her composition. Shelley's antagonist does play God, but moreso, for the author, the concern was will science go too far. Perhaps this argument is too late. Science does not have bounds. Science means knowledge, so how could it? The author introduces two new books that have been published on Frankenstein to coincide with the 200th anniversary of its publication. The argument appears toward tPerhaps Frankenstein's 200th anniversary should be celebrated with a worldwide effort to build safeguards so that scientific research that attempts to create new life, or to modify existing life in fundamental ways, gets regulated and controlled I agree with Gleiser's position. AI is here. The robots are getting ready to rise up. The future will not resemble Shelley's creature but Terminator I, II, III, and IV.
This article introduced me to many new terms and ways to think about science. It seems that synthetic biology doesn't upset religious people that much, at least if they understand it. I had to look up lots of words when I read this article, but it was worth it. I have a new appreciation for how science views life. I learned that we are not really talking about the God of the Bible but a deified Nature. Hmmm. Synthetic biology is ‘the code name for engineering using the machinery of the cell, from tinkering with existing organisms all the way to the design of life from scratch’ (: 11) I can only imagine the type of experiments done in synthetic biology, as it is new to me. I appreciate that the author included a definition as it shaped how I read the article. Synthetic biology has a lot to do with making life better for all. Energy resources can be strengthened (think biofuels). We may be able to see answers to climate change problems, thanks to this biology. It is considered a new field. Craig Venter has lots of patents that promote answers to problems. He and his team even created a microorganism which has met with much criticism from those who think he is playing God. One writer said: ‘For the first time, God has competition. Venter and his colleagues have breached a societal boundary, and the public hasn’t even had a chance to debate the far-reaching social, ethical and environmental implications of synthetic life.’ . The idea of having the public involved (be aware of) in some of these experiments was also brought up in the Gleiser article. I appreciate seeing this stance, as it makes sense to have public discourse on far-reaching applications. However, I also know that these tech companies like to work in secret to have the big reveal (think Apple). Although, we are not experimenting with phones and iPads; this is human life. This article also references Dr. Frankenstein (as did the other) and makes an interesting comparison to Venter If only Victor Frankenstein had had some media savvy, he might have been J. Craig Venter. Rather than living in dread of his appalling creature, he could have assembled a panel of bioethicists and theologians to bless it, applied for a Swiss government grant to research it, and hired an investment bank to explore an initial public offering—FrankenCell Inc.—to exploit the results of his research’ . The phrase "playing God" is becoming cliche in these techno-rich times.Venter, in fact, argues against it and any association with Dr. Frankenstein as he is not trying to create life but modify life. I still see a danger in this area. Although I understand the benefits, life is a gift from God. I need to consider the chemotherapy argument. Is life being modified or extended? It would be good to talk with an oncologist about this.
This article takes a dim view on the "rhetorical bogeyman" playing God. The author is quick to point out that people don't object to grafted fruit trees, or invitro fertilization (actually some people do), and he point out various pieces of text to show us that the movie versions of the novel highlight the notion of playing God much more forcibly than Shelley's creation. In fact, the "sin" of the father isn't so much playing God but rejecting the creature. The author also argues that those who object to humans playing God actually have it all wrong. He cites positive examples (chemotherapy, for example) and DNA treatments that save lives. His argument is persuasive, especially when he focuses on what people actually object to: it is not the science, it is the morality. A presidential commission was charged in 1980 to research the ethics behind the genetic engineering of humans. A group of religious leaders (Christian and Jewish) wrote a letter to Jimmy Carter with their concerns. The commission noted their concerns were not theological, even though they used the phrase playing God. They wanted precautions taken against bad consequences but did not inherently oppose the use of the technology as an act of human hubris ( 3). I read this article with great interest. It is clear and ripe with examples. It showed me that fear may be the issue behind "playing God" not religion. I appreciated that the author does see an issue, however. He warns against scientists working in isolation, like our protagonist Dr. Frankenstein. .He urges them to share what they are working on, so debate can take place and possible consequences can be explored. This appeals to me as so many experiments are funded, but the public is not aware of what type of experiments are taking place, I know that lots of them are funded by private institutions, but the ones supported by taxpayer money should be out in the open. This article did not change my position, but it did redefine my focus, as now I must include fear as a determinant.