Alright, so I stumbled upon this post while looking at the blogs on the front page of WordPress.com. It was interesting, so I figured I’d throw it in here and make known my opinions since, ya’know, that’s what these things are for.
First, here’s the news article on the breakthrough described in there. It’s actually very interesting and the possibilities are endless.
Now, though not the building blocks of life, bacteria are very important for life. Sadly, schools don’t push the concept of good bacteria that much, at least not the ones I went to, so a large part of the American public hear of bacteria being created are probably thinking that it’s a horrible idea. As most of my friends know though, since I only hang with the intelligent (semi) type, bacteria is actually responsible for a lot of good things. With creating bacteria, and therefore being in DIRECT control of their function (once all the kinks are worked out of course), we can create bacteria that will break down compost much faster than the random bacteria responsible for it currently, thus eliminating a great deal of our worry of creating too much trash. We could theoretically create bacteria that will clean our atmosphere. We could, through the creation of bacteria, solve most of our climate related issues, and perhaps a few more.
A big argument against this, and the first one I will talk in length about since the other argument is bullshit, is the possibility of an I Am Legend type accident. “Oh hey, we created bacteria that will eat cancer away and poop out fresh cells!” Alright, this is understandable. However, there is a large difference right off the bat due to, correct me if I’m wrong about it, the nature of bacteria. The creation in I Am Legend was a virus. It also wasn’t a brand new virus, it was just the flu virus that was genetically manipulated. The big thing about viruses are that they are hard as hell to kill. Most viruses can survive extreme heat, extreme cold, most radiation, ect. BACTERIA, on the other hand, are much different. We have learned how to kill most bacteria. About the only reason some bacteria still poses a problem to humanity at this stage is because it spreads so damn fast. Realistically, compared to a virus it doesn’t even adapt that quickly, it just SPREADS. So, while I understand the concern, unless there we somehow create a super bacteria that is impossible to kill or spreads to every human in a matter of days, then we are fine. Just burn or freeze the infected, and keep going. I know it sounds harsh, but the casualties should be fairly low and, depending on what the outbreak is a result of, our entire planet could be at stake. Even a couple hundred thousand humans isn’t anything compared to the entire planet and, by proxy, the entire human race in my mind.
The other argument is that it is morally unacceptable since we are playing God. If we copy creation, we are playing God, so of course creating from scratch is playing God. All I have to say is this. Every religion has, at some point in their history, and most of them still do, tried to slow down or stop the advancement of any knowledge and learning that either isn’t from that religion or isn’t something that has been globally accepted as fact for decades at least, sometimes centuries. Considering that the majority of technology is used daily, by the very same religions that called the early advancements toward said technology evil, and that most of it has helped us advance considerably, I always call bullshit whenever I hear a religion-based morality argument. They have almost always been wrong in the past, they will be wrong again.
To sum this up, my main concern is that I will end up as one of the first plague victims. If it doesn’t turn me into a Space Marine, I don’t want it.