Cardinal: Synthetic Cell Requires Need for Ethics

ROME (AP) – A top Italian cardinal says the recent creation by researchers of the first synthetic cell is a sign of human intelligence but warns of the ethical responsibility of any scientific progress.

More…

Shame on the New York Times for creating something that does not exist.

Like genetic knock out experiments, Mr. Venter and his team have swapped out a few parts and replaced a few things, borrowing existing cellular machinery in the process.

Oh yes, I'm sure the Defense Department is on the phone with them right now.

God bless,
Ed

When our technical ability outraces our philosophical/theological ability, look out.

I think the best Catholic minds better hop to it and deal with the foreseeable Theseus’ paradox which this may soon become.

I question the use of the word “creation” as used by the cardinal (if in face he used that actual word). Only God can create. The rest of us are limited to using the gifts God has given us via His creation.

I am pleased with the following statement, quoted from the article:

Another official with the Italian bishops’ conference, Bishop Domenico Mogavero, expressed concern that scientists might be tempted to play God.

‘‘Pretending to be God and parroting his power of creation is an enormous risk that can plunge men into a barbarity,’’ Mogavero told newspaper La Stampa in an interview. Scientists ‘‘should never forget that there is only one creator: God.’’ [bolding added]

Although the article was published in the New York Times, among countless other news sources, the article was actually written by the Associated Press.

But yes, this isn’t a Frankenstein moment.

[quote=the article]The inventors said the world’s first synthetic cell is more a re-creation of existing life – changing one simple type of bacterium into another – than a built-from-scratch kind.
[/quote]

Still, its a step beyond common cloning, and so increases the ethical concerns.

DNA is synthetically reproduced. Major scientific breakthough with many positve and negative possiblities.

google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.csmonitor.com%2FScience%2F2010%2F0521%2FJ.-Craig-Venter-Institute-creates-first-synthetic-life-form&ei=pnAITM_YJcWBlAfz7LWWDg&usg=AFQjCNHkiHDQyvIo9udBCs-rtcoKqccCDA

I’m no scientist, but it doesn’t really seem like “synthetic life” to me. They took DNA snippets from living organisms, glued them together in a new sequence and introduced them into a cell in which the DNA was removed. It’s really more an “alteration” of life.

Reminds me, (on a much cruder level) of when I was in high school and biology students would irradiate fruit flies in order to induce genetic changes. Those, of course, were random changes, whereas this “synthetic life” thing is massively more planned and orderly. Still, it seems to me it’s pretty much a variation on the same theme.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.