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  1. #1
    heart on fire
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    Default Ready for Chimeras?

    Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 12:09 GMT


    Green light for hybrid research

    Regulators in the UK have given scientists the green light to create human-animal embryos for research.


    Thoughts?

  2. #2

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    Weird. I thought there was another reply here. Must have been deleted.

    I tend to ask "what does it serve" when it comes to these things. The fact of the matter is you can take any technology and turn it against humanity or use it to help.

    If this will cure diseases then I am for it.

    A group of cells does not make a human being. If it did, why don't we lament the deaths of countless dead stem cells that get flushed out during menstrual cycles?

    As far as "blurring the lines between human and animal," I think this is only offering proof that the lines were already blurred.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    A group of cells does not make a human being. If it did, why don't we lament the deaths of countless dead stem cells that get flushed out during menstrual cycles?
    True. This is my internal response when [Christian] people talk about life beginning at conception: "An awful lot of people are dying before they are born, then. More than the Nazis ever killed, more than all wars have killed combined. Thanks, God. Reproduction doesn't sound too efficient a process."

    I am not sure if it was Dawkins who brought it up or not, but the human mind is developed to focus on a particular microcosm of the universe. If things get too big (thousands of light years, even ONE light year!) or too small (microscopic or smaller, including genes), we can't really grasp them; we just understand the "normal-sized world" that we live in and act in, that impacts us directly and visibly.

    So our philosophy/theology is built on that middle-ground aspect of the universe, and we fail to really see what is going on in the larger or smaller scales of things.

    As far as "blurring the lines between human and animal," I think this is only offering proof that the lines were already blurred.
    Genetically, there's not a ton of difference between us and some of the primates, and not a ton further to some other species. If we can actually merge them successfully, then obviously they were close enough to begin with.

    Still, it's more the attitude I think we need to guard against -- that human life in general is something to be tinkered with and used as a commodity and raw material for creating other things. It's less direct negative impact, more detrimentally attitudinal in nature, the things I'd be afraid of.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  4. #4
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    I suppose there is the risk of unleashing accidental genetically modified diseases too... wasn't AIDS a cross over from monkeys? Just imagine if we managed to cross over some antibiotic resistant infections (like MRSA) in a supposed-to-be-clean environment (just like hospitals, ha) into a group of hybrid cells before spreading...

  5. #5
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    "It is possible, therefore it is rational" does not follow.

    Science needs to consider and do research on the potential implications before proceeding blindly for the sake of progress.

    Edit: Implications include ethical and biological ones.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    "It is possible, therefore it is rational" does not follow.

    Science needs to consider and do research on the potential implications before proceeding blindly for the sake of progress.

    Edit: Implications include ethical and biological ones.
    I agree with this in principle. The use of neclear weapons, issolation due to use of the internet, global climate change, and maybe even the reinstatement of eugenics as a social program in countries, are the types of things I think are scary prospects that wouldn't be possible without science and technology.

    But I just find the slipery-slope and dooms-day type considerations at the time of conception--a bit much.

    It is possible the next time I get on the highway, I lose control of my car and create a 60 car pile-up. But there is a reason we need a licence to drive, and medical researchers are well versed in saftey protocols.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #7

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    This scares the ever-lovin shit out of me, as does most genetic tinkering. Much like nuclear weapons, I think our scientific ability to manipulate genetics far outdistances our maturity as a species to do so with caution, respect and wisdom.
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  8. #8
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 12:09 GMT


    Green light for hybrid research

    Regulators in the UK have given scientists the green light to create human-animal embryos for research.


    Thoughts?
    I don't think it's a problem. If it helps them in their research, I say go for it. It isn't going to hurt anyone as far as I can see. I think it's just silly to apply that kind of morality to scientific research specimens. It's not as if we're devolving current people into animals or something. I don't see how it could be an issue unless they were planning to create conscious/sentient human beings and then kill them as part of an experiment. The way the detractors are looking at this doesn't really make sense to me... they somehow imbue a mere group of cells with all the qualities of sentient human beings, and I see no good reason to do that.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by FMWarner View Post
    This scares the ever-lovin shit out of me, as does most genetic tinkering. Much like nuclear weapons, I think our scientific ability to manipulate genetics far outdistances our maturity as a species to do so with caution, respect and wisdom.
    Biological weapons scare me the same way nuclear weapons do.
    Biological accidents also scare me like nuclear accidents do.

    I just think ascribing the "badness" to the tools/ideas themselves at conception/exploration is a bit obscurantist. Maybe it is a good thing I don't work in these areas. Perhaps I am naive about the ability for people to confine the use of powerfull technologies to peacefull ends.

    But, imo, the ends don't condemn the means, any more than they justify them.

    People can and do get themselves and others seriously hurt in the development of new technologies. But precautions are taken regarding these things. We know we are going into the unknown.

    The biggest sources of accidents and real catastrophes come from mature technologies that people become complacent about. The Nuclear meltdowns were as much due to complacency as it was "accidental."

    Weapons have to be developed to exist. Is it possible to ban weapons development using biotech without banning biotech? I think so.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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