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ECO 5705 WA2 Brendan O’Neal

ECO 5705 WA2 Brendan O’Neal - Brendan ONeal...

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Brendan O’Neal ECO 5705 WA2 Economist Articles The first article I reviewed was under “Synthetic Biology” and named “And man made life”. The article, written for the May 22 nd edition of The Economist, does not reveal an author; it goes in to the controversy of the recent reports in the news that two American Biologists, Venter and Smith, made a bacterium out of an artificial genome. This means that a living organism was manufactured asexually without an ancestor. This separates the field of biology from other disciplines of science, such as physics, chemistry, and others. While this is a great progression in the field, the author points out that this step opens up many ethical dilemmas. The dilemmas that are brought to light include: now that we can manipulate life, will someone engineer life for the bad? One could compare and contrast this advancement in the manipulation of life as we know it like the invention and release of a computer virus by a hacker. As the article states, this development does have the potential to do good and evil. Now that this development is coming to light and unfolding, the article stated that there will need to be regulations to police the use of the technology and its use. In my opinion, this is an extremely fascinating article, and the impending debates on this topic will be just as fascinating. The development of this technology will have a profound impact on our world, much like the internet had on information flow. The creation of a disease or harmful bacteria is at the hands of anyone; so is the map to the creation of a cure. This is synonymous to putting a trojan horse virus in a mass e-mail. The creation of life without an ancestor will also get ethicists talking and in an uproar,
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theologians too. There will be many that say that we are not to make life and that this is manipulating our “creator”. Then they will only have their holy book and the word/opinion of the church to support their feelings in lieu of the science and the tangible proof that we have to support the advances in our knowledge and abilities. I feel that if our governments over regulate the use of this technology then innovation will be slowed and not publicized; this would leave us unprepared for any sort of malignant attack that an enemy may introduce into our system.
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