Could the creation of artificial life silence Creationists? Don't count on it. But this is cool.

Krehlic
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Could the creation of artificial life silence Creationists? Don't count on it. But this is cool.

 Sorry if this or something like it has already been posted...

Artificial Life Likely in 3 to 10 Years

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON - Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer.

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life."

"It's going to be a big deal and everybody's going to know about it," said Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, one of those in the race. "We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways _ in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict."

That first cell of synthetic life _ made from the basic chemicals in DNA _ may not seem like much to non-scientists. For one thing, you'll have to look in a microscope to see it.

"Creating protocells has the potential to shed new light on our place in the universe," Bedau said. "This will remove one of the few fundamental mysteries about creation in the universe and our role."

And several scientists believe man-made life forms will one day offer the potential for solving a variety of problems, from fighting diseases to locking up greenhouse gases to eating toxic waste.

Bedau figures there are three major hurdles to creating synthetic life:

_ A container, or membrane, for the cell to keep bad molecules out, allow good ones, and the ability to multiply.

_ A genetic system that controls the functions of the cell, enabling it to reproduce and mutate in response to environmental changes.

_ A metabolism that extracts raw materials from the environment as food and then changes it into energy.

One of the leaders in the field, Jack Szostak at Harvard Medical School, predicts that within the next six months, scientists will report evidence that the first step _ creating a cell membrane _ is "not a big problem." Scientists are using fatty acids in that effort.

Szostak is also optimistic about the next step _ getting nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA, to form a working genetic system.

His idea is that once the container is made, if scientists add nucleotides in the right proportions, then Darwinian evolution could simply take over.

"We aren't smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened," Szostak said.

In Gainesville, Fla., Steve Benner, a biological chemist at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution is attacking that problem by going outside of natural genetics. Normal DNA consists of four bases _ adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine (known as A,C,G,T) _ molecules that spell out the genetic code in pairs. Benner is trying to add eight new bases to the genetic alphabet.

Bedau said there are legitimate worries about creating life that could "run amok," but there are ways of addressing it, and it will be a very long time before that is a problem.

"When these things are created, they're going to be so weak, it'll be a huge achievement if you can keep them alive for an hour in the lab," he said. "But them getting out and taking over, never in our imagination could this happen."

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Fascinating!  Don't you

Fascinating! 

Don't you wonder what kind of excuses the creationists will come up with if science actually shows how life can be initiated? 

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latincanuck
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    Yes this could

    Yes this could confirm their speculation, after all, scientists created life, therefore life did not occur naturally, that would be their arguement and their proof. That is what i fear anyways.


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latincanuck wrote: Yes

latincanuck wrote:
Yes this could confirm their speculation, after all, scientists created life, therefore life did not occur naturally, that would be their arguement and their proof. That is what i fear anyways.

The thing to do after that is to go about seeing/show how each step in the process happens naturally. Also pointing out how we can preform experiments at different stages, but the whole process takes a lot longer then a life time...


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Susan

Susan wrote:

Fascinating! 

Don't you wonder what kind of excuses the creationists will come up with if science actually shows how life can be initiated? 

I suspect they will ignore it completely, and actively deny that it happened, just like always. Creationists are reality-impaired.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


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I hope we get to upload a

I hope we get to upload a brain to a computer (not in our lifetime sadly) and then watch the religious reaction.  That will be fun.

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Problem with this is that

Problem with this is that there is no single definition  of 'life'

Its one of those man made concepts like consciousness.

 

A reproducing, mutating computer virus could well be considered life?


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Scientists working on Creating artificial life

 Article

 

If you read some of the messages posted after the article you will probably laugh, You can almost feel the panic on Theists minds.

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Pathofreason

Pathofreason wrote:

 Article

 

If you read some of the messages posted after the article you will probably laugh, You can almost feel the panic on Theists minds.

They panic for everything.

Nero(in response to a Youth pastor) wrote:

You are afraid and should be thus.  We look to eradicate your god from everything but history books.  We bring rationality and clear thought to those who choose lives of ignorance.  We are the blazing, incandescent brand that will leave an "A" so livid, so scarlet on your mind that you will not go an hour without reflecting on reality.


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latincanuck wrote: Yes

latincanuck wrote:
Yes this could confirm their speculation, after all, scientists created life, therefore life did not occur naturally, that would be their arguement and their proof. That is what i fear anyways.

And I hope that kind of claim would make creationists seem even more pseudo-scientific and even more stupid. If that happens, they will eventually be ignored and forgotten.

Trust and believe in no god, but trust and believe in yourself.


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I'm really hoping we see

I'm really hoping we see life on Europa in my lifetime.  Even better would be friendly aliens popping in for a cup of tea before continuing their travels! Very few fundamentalists will change their minds with regard to evidence or experiment carried out by others.  They just refute it even harder.  The good thing is that the science will trickle down to the populace through education if we can keep the standards up.  One upon a time very few people understood relativity.  Now tens of thousands study it and understand it to a high degree. 


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Great article! The company

Great article! The company trying to add to the bases is especially interesting. I wonder what they hope to achieve by that, and what sort of differences it would cause...

I'm afraid the creationists will simply point to the fact that it happened in the lab with scientists 'designing' the life and trying to help it survive, rather than it appearing spontaneously in the wild. Of course it will be easier to demonstrate that it is possible that abiogenesis took place in the planet's history.

Perhaps it would help to breed an extremely short-lived, fast-evolving life form with a high mutation rate (is it possible to selectively breed life with different mutation rates?), so that it could be used to show large morphological changes in a short amount of time - really showing evolution happening in front of people's eyes.

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Haha yea I read this article

Haha yea I read this article too. Pretty amazing. I look forward to when we can clone people, I'd love to have another me, and I'll go read up on some revolutionary idea and try to convince my twin about it. Even immortality should be possible within the century at the rate of our technological advancements. Within decades people will be growing new organs to replace their dying ones (we would already be experimenting on it if it weren't for the nutcases in power). Even the theory behind an electronic brain is wholly plausible. I'm sure quantum computing will make it even more reachable.


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Rave wrote: Great article!

Rave wrote:
Great article! The company trying to add to the bases is especially interesting. I wonder what they hope to achieve by that, and what sort of differences it would cause...

Perhaps they want to see if the four bases we currently use are "special" in some way that made them become naturally-selected for DNA purposes, or if they're just an accident of whatever bases happened to get used by the winner of the evolution lotto.

Also, A, C, G, and T are getting really boring as letters. Eight new bases! That's twelve letters total! Pick the right names for your bases and you could start writing little poems in DNA! We need to get an H, E, I, N, R and O in there, I think.

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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rexlunae wrote: Susan

rexlunae wrote:
Susan wrote:

Fascinating!

Don't you wonder what kind of excuses the creationists will come up with if science actually shows how life can be initiated?

I suspect they will ignore it completely, and actively deny that it happened, just like always. Creationists are reality-impaired.

 

This is the only way to be a creationist in the first place. Atheists could safely store their bank account information between pages 2 and 3 of any decent book on evolution or biology - no creationist would ever find it.

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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c0mputar wrote: Within

c0mputar wrote:
Within decades people will be growing new organs to replace their dying ones (we would already be experimenting on it if it weren't for the nutcases in power).

 

That would be great for me, I'm in need of a new pancreas. I wonder if the scientists in this field, after making sustainable life, would be able to breed/cultivate/create some organisms that feed off specific diseases or cancer cells?


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todangst wrote: This is the

todangst wrote:
This is the only way to be a creationist in the first place. Atheists could safely store their bank account information between pages 2 and 3 of any decent book on evolution or biology - no creationist would ever find it.

 I've heard stories of professors who write textbooks and hide prizes inside to see how many people read them. I'd like to see this done with any biology textbook: "Hello, if you're a creationist, thanks for reading, write to me here (address) and win $100!" Your $100 would be safe forever.

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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todangst wrote: Atheists

todangst wrote:

Atheists could safely store their bank account information between pages 2 and 3 of any decent book on evolution or biology - no creationist would ever find it.

You know how you're always told never to write down passwords even though there are lots of rules and special characters making it almost impossible to remember them when they're changed?

I think you've hit on the perfect solution. 

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todangst
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JeremiahSmith

JeremiahSmith wrote:

todangst wrote:
This is the only way to be a creationist in the first place. Atheists could safely store their bank account information between pages 2 and 3 of any decent book on evolution or biology - no creationist would ever find it.

I've heard stories of professors who write textbooks and hide prizes inside to see how many people read them. I'd like to see this done with any biology textbook: "Hello, if you're a creationist, thanks for reading, write to me here (address) and win $100!" Your $100 would be safe forever.

Some students have put such things in their dissertation, seeing as some are never read by anyone.

I like your idea! I'd really like someone to try it by placing such prize offer in a library text on evolution. 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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todangst

todangst wrote:
JeremiahSmith wrote:

todangst wrote:
This is the only way to be a creationist in the first place. Atheists could safely store their bank account information between pages 2 and 3 of any decent book on evolution or biology - no creationist would ever find it.

I've heard stories of professors who write textbooks and hide prizes inside to see how many people read them. I'd like to see this done with any biology textbook: "Hello, if you're a creationist, thanks for reading, write to me here (address) and win $100!" Your $100 would be safe forever.

Some students have put such things in their dissertation, seeing as some are never read by anyone.

I like your idea! I'd really like someone to try it by placing such prize offer in a library text on evolution.

Seems like I remember reading some story about a guy offering a car (can't remember what it was) to whoever found the note in his dissertation. Someone contacted him many years later and he followed through. 

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we are almost(within the

we are almost(within the next few decades at the most) capable of "creating" that type of thing as it is out of living things that already exist through genetic engineering, the biggest problem is that life evolves even if it is "man-made", just because you inject a virus or other small lifeform that only feeds off the AIDS virus (for instance) and doesnt cause the patient harm, doesnt mean that the virus/whathaveyou will not cause the patient harm after it has gone through a series of mutations, it is very difficult to predict the manners in which life will adapt/evolve, and that makes it very difficult to predict the manner in which the produced organism would affect the patient... there have been several general ideas about how to nuetralize that affect, such as causing there to be a limit of the number of times that the given organism could reproduce itself inside the patients body before it stopped doing so, but they're still mostly general ideas and this one for instance doesnt supply how one would cause the organism to behave in such a way, just the manner in which it needs to behave...

but scientist should be able to do that type of thing before too much longer.

i wish you well

Rolat3


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The original post,

The original post, indicating that scientists are working to create life, raises the question of how much planning and effort will go into this project.

 If it ever is accomplished, it certainly won't be done by a mindless process.


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Somehow creationists will

Somehow creationists will turn this into "Well see, life has to be created.  So you just proved that life has to be created."  Or "Thats not really life."

Those are the two things I can see them saying. 


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Agreed. I continue to hold

Agreed. I continue to hold out for the aliens.


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Was Data from Star Trek a

Was Data from Star Trek a theist?