Recently I wrote an entry, Futurespeak, which discussed how ideas and thoughts become things. Specifically, I used some science fiction and fact to illustrate the point. Today, I came across this news story here (edit: article removed from web).
Basically, scientists have been able to completely create artificial bacteria DNA. “Eh. So What?” you might ask. What this means is scientists are now closer than ever to creating the world’s first artificial lifeform. This is the stuff of science fiction becoming science reality, folks! Granted they’re still working with the less complex DNA structure of bacteria but once they do it, it won’t be long before they try for larger more complex lifeforms like mice and sheep and all those other animals they currently clone these days.
Now personally, I can see good (medical breakthroughs and the like) and bad (ecological disasters and the like) that could come out of this but I won’t get into that here. What interests me the most is what this act of creating “life” MEANS.
What does it mean? What are the theological and ethical implications of this? If God created man/woman and then we turn around and create man/woman wouldn’t that make us gods? I posed this question to Keri and she says, “Artificial Gods.” Heh. If they ever do get that far in creating artificial lifeforms it will be interesting to see the effect it has on the world’s monotheistic religions.
Let’s suppose they do get to a point in the future where human beings are made this way. Our thoughts will have become living breathing creatures presumably with some kind of sentience. If these humans are just like rest of us, right down to that DNA sequence, are they “artificial”? Do we keep them like lab rats and monkeys in cages or do we let them out into the world?
Suddenly, I’m reminded of the cult classic, Blade Runner and I envision a dark world in the not too distant future where “artificial” humans are hunted down and “retired” because humanity’s fear and paranoia. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
“I don’t know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life, anybody’s life, my life. All he’d wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.” -Deckard, the Blade Runner.