Scientists create artificial life

This is a discussion on Scientists create artificial life within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Perhaps the debate has changed but the initial angle was it was ok to kill a fetus b/c it wasn't ...

  1. #16
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Perhaps the debate has changed but the initial angle was it was ok to kill a fetus b/c it wasn't considered life. They have probably spun this argument a lot since then and I really don't care b/c I don't follow the debate.

    But I digress. This experiment will probably come under intense scrutiny in the next few years so I would wait to see exactly what was created instead of listening to the initial and often over-exaggerated initial reports.

  2. #17
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I don't think the debate is whether or not it is life -- your dinner contains a lot of life -- it's whether it's ethical to kill it. Life kills life in order to live, we all must do it. Except fruitarians, who only eat things that have fallen from trees, like nuts. Since most of us are not that, we are responsible for a lot of death on a daily basis.

    And there is nothing you can get from science about ethics. It's just information.
    You are true. As long as they are not humans are ethics don't really change. The ethics might change or be challenged when and if we create artificial humans. But I guess that is another story. As it is another story if they use a human brain in order to run a machine.

    There are a lot of ideas on the matter, you will really have to get more specific on the assumed feature situation in order to get a real discussion. There are too "ifs" otherwise.

    If they stick to bacteria and micro-organisms the good sight will be using them the way we want them. Like cleaning a city from garbage (or probably humans). Or killing a virus. I guess there are two ways to go. Nano-robots or genetically engineered micro-organisms. The later I think will have more chances of success.

    As for ethics, I believe the rule is for humans to be careful. As careful as they can. If you are not sure about something don't do it. But I don't believe in any sort of limitation except when it comes to humans...

  3. #18
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Perhaps the debate has changed but the initial angle was it was ok to kill a fetus b/c it wasn't considered life.
    I do think one argument made is that it is not self-sustaining, so it is part of the mother's body in the same sense that the eggs perennially present in the womb are part of the body. It is kind of a weak/silly one tho, but IMO the whole debate is very silly to start with and has an obvious starting point.

    The staying power of the abortion question is that it is not very easily reduced, and so it is always the same, simple question: do you think it is okay or not? mitigated by the length of the pregnancy. Few people would consider it fine and dandy a week before the baby is due, but I think at that point a fetus can be removed by Caesarian (eg, if it threatens the mother's life).

    I don't believe in God, and I don't believe Christians do either, I think they just claim to (ie, they are lying*) in order to preserve the Church and the social order it represents. In the case of fundamentalism, this is a very old school, non-democratic, explicitly patriarchal (hence the abortion issue) hegemony which permits some people to exercise strict control over the lives of other people (eg, men over women). Hence, religion is only tangentially about morality -- it is really about POWER.

    * no offence -- I've never met anyone that did not often lie in fairly obvious and fundamental ways, and I lie too, so I don't consider it adherent behavior. In fact, people are universally taught that lying is the proper thing to do from an early age. Also, maintaining the Church might be a worthy goal. But there's still no God and you know it :P
    Last edited by MK27; 05-21-2010 at 03:41 PM.
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  4. #19
    Programming Wraith GReaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I don't believe in God, ...
    What do you believe in then? ( just curious )
    Devoted my life to programming...

  5. #20
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Killing fetuses should be allowed in the same manner we send our young soldiers recruited from the poor neighborhoods to war, watch innocents die in genocides without taking action and execute our prisoners.

    I know. I'm disgusting. But so his hypocrisy.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #21
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I know. I'm disgusting. But so his hypocrisy.
    Yes, well, I agree that religious fundamentalists definitely display much less respect for life than most other people, because after you are born, "life" is according to God's plan and may include all kinds of unpleasantness, either as punishment or as just some kind of literary device (a "test of faith"). So once you are out of the womb, the people that demanded your birth will probably also demand you go to jail or loose a limb somehow. Very strange Almost sounds sadistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sipher View Post
    What do you believe in then? ( just curious )
    I think there could be intelligences at play in the universe beyond our immediate perception, and even that some form of intelligence might have been responsible for fundamental aspects of the universe as it exists now (since science admits the possibility that the last big bang was one in a series, and that some "laws of physics" evolved subsequently, in the first instant, possibly as a result of specific properties of that particular bang) and other things that lifelong pot smokers sometimes like to think but I don't think the origin or nature of those intelligences would be much different than ours. So I guess I believe in evolution.

    Yeah, I believe in evolution.
    Last edited by MK27; 05-21-2010 at 04:00 PM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I don't believe in God, and I don't believe Christians do either, I think they just claim to (ie, they are lying*) in order to preserve the Church and the social order it represents. In the case of fundamentalism, this is a very old school, non-democratic, explicitly patriarchal (hence the abortion issue) hegemony which permits some people to exercise strict control over the lives of other people (eg, men over women). Hence, religion is only tangentially about morality -- it is really about POWER.

    * no offence -- I've never met anyone that did not often lie in fairly obvious and fundamental ways, and I lie too, so I don't consider it adherent behavior. In fact, people are universally taught that lying is the proper thing to do from an early age. Also, maintaining the Church might be a worthy goal. But there's still no God and you know it :P
    I can't speak for other people who call themselves Christians, but I do know that I do indeed believe in a God, a creator of all things. By him were all things created, and without him was no thing ever created (including humans). If He didn't exist, nothing else would either. I also think its kind of ironic that one part of the creation (i.e. humans) would even dispute the fact that God exists, when the person who makes such a statement is really denying his own existence.
    We can have a long debate about this, if you guys want to, but I will stand firm that the God I believe in (i.e. the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who later became Israel) not only exists, but is the original source for all things in both this world and other worlds we haven't seen. Moreover, the name of this God is Jesus (English translation), and just the fact that everyone is about to start (as soon as I make this post) trying to put down the name of Jesus should tell you that it is important.
    And you are wrong...just because you haven't met Him doesn't mean he doesn't exist.

    *waits for the inevitable resistance...*

  8. #23
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Yes, well, I agree that religious fundamentalists definitely display much less respect for life than most other people, because after you are born, "life" is according to God's plan and may include all kinds of unpleasantness, either as punishment or as just somekind of literary device (a "test of faith").
    The opinions of religious folk (fundamentalist, or not) on this matter quite frankly is of no consequence to me. It's only because of our deeply troubled societies that we still define our national conscience on fairy tales.

    There's however a highly arguable ethical and moral argument that refuses to face the evidence that we humans only respect life when it is not inconvenient to do so.

    Naturally I don't support free abortion. I do support it under certain conditions though. Some of them that would no doubt irritate the preachers of life.

    I however sustain that the reasons to support life are as hypocritical as the reasons many continue to give to defend abortion. This is unfortunately one of those areas where no agreement will probably ever be reached. Not at least until we get rid of the useless dogmatic crowd that saturate our societies and the remaining sides sit at the table to have a proper argument. And then probably not even then. Again, the problem is that life and death is mostly a matter of convenience. If we could agree on that though... that would probably be a first step.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  9. #24
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I do think one argument made is that it is not self-sustaining, so it is part of the mother's body in the same sense that the eggs perennially present in the womb are part of the body. It is kind of a weak/silly one tho, but IMO the whole debate is very silly to start with and has an obvious starting point.

    The staying power of the abortion question is that it is not very easily reduced, and so it is always the same, simple question: do you think it is okay or not? mitigated by the length of the pregnancy. Few people would consider it fine and dandy a week before the baby is due, but I think at that point a fetus can be removed by Caesarian (eg, if it threatens the mother's life).

    I don't believe in God, and I don't believe Christians do either, I think they just claim to (ie, they are lying) in order to preserve the Church and the social order it represents. In the case of fundamentalism, this is a very old school, non-democratic, explicitly patriarchal (hence the abortion issue) hegemony which permits some people to exercise strict control over the lives of other people (eg, men over women). Hence, religion is only tangentially about morality -- it is really about POWER.
    It is mostly do you "feel" rather than do you "think". For the do you "think" part, though, the main argument is actually if it considered living or not. But as you said before, the fact discussed doesn't change the abortion debate at all, because they are referring to a micro-organism, not a human being.

    If it threaten's the mother's life it is another story.

    If it doesn't threaten the mother, then you need a reason. If you go with "it is not leaving until X amount of days", then you have to define what you consider living. Why do you choose X and not something else? If you cannot define it, or if you don't care, then you are doing something irresponsible. And most people consider that wrong. If you go and demolish a building without checking if there is anything leaving inside it, then that would be considered something wrong, even if we assume that after the demolition you wouldn't know if living being where there or not.

    As for religion it is neither for morals nor power. It is about the divine.
    It can be either the sense of fear about the divine, the sense of love about the divine, the sense of curiosity. It is about the divine, or the unknown, or a higher power. No need to get the exact phrase right, you get the idea.
    In order to reach the divine, or to become divine, or because you believe you have to obey to the divine, some religions believe in certain morals (or for whatever other reason). In order for the religion to last more than one day, those morals are usually ones that people are willingly to accept. So they are similar to morals that already existed. Most of the times they just clarify them, or give them a name or give a more serious reasons do follow them. So most of the times they justify morals, than create them. You can say that certain religions (like Christianity) are about morals as well, since without the morals you don't go to the divine, which is the primarily reason for a religions. But simplifying it like that, a lot of time people don't get the right idea. For example, they say that religion is about morals, thus to make you a better person for the world. Which is not true. For Christianity it would be "It is about morals, thus to make you a better person in order to go to heaven". Which is something completely different. So, the most clear thing is again that religion is about the divine.
    The people with the same religion form a group. Every group has power. But that most of the time is not the reason about the group. A tennis club is not about power. Yes, if you have half the city in the tennis club that gives you a lot of power. Surprisingly, every mayor will know hot to play tennis. God help you if you want to destroy a tennis court to build an orphanage. But saying that a tennis club is about power doesn't give the right picture either. The same for the religion. Of course, for the same reason that if you wanted to be the mayor you would join the tennis club, for the same reason a lot of people will join a religion for power. And for the same reason that the president of the club will have power even if he/she doesn't want it, for the same reason a religion leader or a greatly accepted figure will have power even if he/she doesn't want it.

    Your argument about Christians not believing in God is false, because there are Christians that want the Church's role to change or don't really care about the Church. You probably mean some Christians? But even for those that you mean, most of them will believe in God, again. Why wouldn't they? Even if their prime goal is to preserve the Church and its role, they would still believe in God to feel better with themselves. That is most likely how the human psychology works. You imply that they have really thought about the matter, realized that God doesn't exist, but still choose to believe in it. But that is highly unlike for most people, which will choose a more easy way; just to believe.
    Believing in God is either a choice, you choose/want to believe for this and that reason and that's it, or it is meant in the way of believing in the existence of God, in a more logically/scientifically way. Again, people tend to mix the two meaning of believe. If you want to search the second, then you have to define what you mean with "existence of God". Something that usually people don't do. You would also have to define God. That said, since you are free to define them more or less any way you want, believing in the existence of God, or something you name God, is perfectly logical. So in either case, humans can believe in God. And a lot do, emotionally and logically.
    Last edited by C_ntua; 05-21-2010 at 04:17 PM.

  10. #25
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Programmer_P View Post
    We can have a long debate about this, if you guys want to,
    I generally do...

    Whether or not God exists is like the abortion question. It does not meaningfully reduce. Either you believe, or you don't.

    Here's a fairly clever circle: I think the non-existence of God is pretty significant, because a lot of social issues hinge on this. A very high percentage of people opposed to abortion are religious. They aren't objecting to killing, they are objecting to killing in a certain way not part of the proper order as communicated to them by God. Without this justification, the argument is very different.

    Which, going back to my early thesis about fundamentalism being a cover story for a desire for power (which is a psychological issue), it makes sense that people obsessed with power would want to get onside with God. And also not surprising that after a few thousand years, religion would evolve to become almost exclusively about dictating behaviour to others, with little sprinkles of "spirituality" thrown in.

    So my response to people who want to convince me that God exists to ask for the evidence. Evidence I can believe in, and that does not presupposes his existence (eg, the evidence is somewhere in scripture is pure circular reasoning -- scripture could just be a bunch of crap written by monks). Because it is sort of an important question, IF it is used to justify some of the social constraints (and worse) fundamentalist have forced upon us.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  11. #26
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    Your argument about Christians not believing in God is false, because there are Christians that want the Church's role to change or don't really care about the Church.
    This is a good point, but I still think those people are rhetorical.

    You probably mean some Christians? But even for those that you mean, most of them will believe in God, again.
    No, I mean most or all Christians, which is why I said I did not necessarily think they are wrong for lying, because I'm not claiming most or all Christians are bad people with the wrong motives. If an employer asked me certain kinds of questions about my personal life, I would lie because that is the best thing to do. I don't expect other people to be any different. If you are religious and I said, "But you don't really believe in God?" you would say "Yes I do" and that would be fine with me, I would not demand you admit he does not. I just know you're lying and that's fine with me. I don't care. You can express a belief in God if you want.

    You imply that they have really thought about the matter, realized that God doesn't exist, but still choose to believe in it.
    Yep, that's what I think.
    Last edited by MK27; 05-21-2010 at 04:30 PM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    So my response to people who want to convince me that God exists to ask for the evidence. Evidence I can believe in, and that does not presupposes his existence (eg, the evidence is somewhere in scripture is pure circular reasoning -- scripture could just be a bunch of crap written by monks). Because it is sort of an important question, IF it is used to justify some of the social constraints (and worse) fundamentalist have forced upon us.
    Haha, I got in this discussion before with someone else.
    This time I'll just admit it:
    Yes, there is nothing I can say which will make you believe in a God if you don't have the faith to believe that He is and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
    Nor could you possibly provide me any evidence that would convince me he doesn't exist, though I invite you to do so as well.

    The way I see it, there are 2 groups of people:

    1. A group which believes in God.
    2. A group which does not.

    Its obvious that you fall in Category 2. And I have no doubt that if you were to take the numbers of Group 1 and Group 2, and compare the 2, there would probably be more people in Group 2. Which I think is one of the reasons why Jesus said, "Broad is the way which leadeth to destruction, and many there be that find it, and narrow is the way that leadeth to eternal life, and few there be that walk in it" (may not be an exact quote, but you get the gist)...
    Personally, I don't care what you believe. You can believe whatever you want. However, one day it will be found out who really knew the truth and who didn't. Jesus is truth, and He is life. All men are liars, of that there is no doubt. Only God is true, and by Him is all truth made known.
    The truth is undisputable, though many try to dispute it, yet do so to their own destruction. One day Jesus will return in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and who obey not the gospel. On THAT day, all will know that Jesus (the Lamb of God) exists, and who will be made King over the whole world. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The New Jerusalem (the Lamb's bride) will descend down out of heaven from God to Earth, and in this holy city there will be the Tree of Life, which when men will eat of it, will cause them to live forever. And this world will no longer be full of corruption, evil, greed, pain, or any unpleasant thing (like it is today), but will dwell forever into eternity free of all that.
    At the beginning of the whole world, man was given the opportunity to eat of this same tree, but sinned and ate instead of the tree which God commanded them (i.e. Adam and Eve) not to eat of, and was driven out of the garden. And man has been sinning ever since...

    That is the gospel of peace, the gospel which Paul preached. And to that end all true Christians look for and earnestly hope for.

    (Read the Bible)

  13. #28
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    Oh, and one more thing...
    Genetic engineering is a sin, and is what brought the flood in Noah's day.
    No doubt this will be what brings the water and the fire this time...

    Man is dreaming, if he thinks he can ever truly duplicate what God created.
    The so-called "artificial life", which is the original topic of this thread, is a pathetic imitation.

  14. #29
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    I just know you're lying and that's fine with me..
    Knowing or "believe you know"? The question is if you have better reasons of knowing that the other person is lying than he has of knowing that God exists. And don't forget that there are monks out there that leave all alone and they are happy just because they believe in God. That is the most important thing in their life. For them, you can say that they believe in nothing. But certainly you cannot say that they don't believe in God, since that is the thing they are more sure about. I can make you the monk blind and tell you that the existence of God is more certain than the existence of the sun... The all Christians is really out of the choice for me. As many arguments that start with "all these people are".
    As for most Christians. Think of how many you know and how many exist. I am sure you don't even know 0.0001% of them. If you are using a sample of Christians, like "from the 100 Christians I know..." then you have to think of how big is the sample compared to how many Christians exist. If you really know a lot of Christians, then maybe you would get up to 0.1%. I am saying this because from the Christians I have met, I truly disagree with you. Which means that you would have to give me a justification why you say "most" and not "some" or "just a few". Otherwise, why use your sample and not mine?

    As for evidence of the existence of God, as said before, you would have to think of what you mean of "existence". You can define the existence of my laptop by saying that it exists because you see it. Or feel it. But the existence of God is something not that straight to define. Because a lot of people define God as something they strongly feel it is true. And since they had that feeling, they truly believe in him.
    You probably define the existence of God as something that we can perceive in any possible way. A lot of people will say that they saw him (maybe an illusion) or that they prayed to him and their father was mysteriously cured from cancer (coincidence). So again you would have a problem.
    You would go ahead and add "and cannot be explained in any other way". But then you will have gone too far, because using that argument you would disbelief the "other way" as well. You wouldn't be able to say that gravity exists, because maybe God is holding as all. Since somebody that wants to waste your time with something irrelevant to the OP, would say "I found another way to explain gravity, thus it doesn't exist".
    So, either you say "God exists for me" or you probably cannot find evidence of "God exists for everybody" in a way that it will be convincing for everybody. Proving the non-existence of God will be probably the same. So the matter is left as "we don't know" or "believe whatever you want".

    The social constraints, or any social impact, is not coming from religion, but from the people that follow it. And even if you use the well known formula "religion = its leaders", then again they don't have any direct saying, just indirectly by influencing the people. If you believe in democracy, then its person can choose whatever he/she wants. Thus, believing or not. That is free-will. Here is the key point. He uses his free will to believe and thus do what his believe dictates him. You are free to convince him otherwise. But it is you that would have to convince him of the non-existence of God, not the other way around.
    I am saying this cause you said IF it is used to justify. They have the reasons, you would need some really strong arguments against the existence of God if you were to change their mind so they wouldn't use "it to justify".

  15. #30
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    ... I don't believe in God, and I don't believe Christians do either, I think they just claim to (ie, they are lying*) ...
    That can't have been your brightest moment.
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
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