Robert C. Priddy

Writings on diverse themes from philosophy, psychology to literature and criticism

  • Robert Priddy

    In this blog I post information and critical views concerning ideologies, belief systems and related scientific materials etc. I am a retired philosophy lecturer and researcher, born 1936.

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Archive for September, 2014

Humans have created life – a new organism!

Posted by robertpriddy on September 13, 2014

This unprecedented scientific breakthrough changes life as we know it, for the first time in history in 2010, geneticists created a new self-sustaining and reproducing species, in the laboratory. 

UPDATE as of January 2017: Organisms created with synthetic DNA pave way for entirely new life forms .

The famous geneticist Dr. Craig Venter, who revolutionised genetics when he led the human genome project, has with his team designed and created a new life form, a unique bacterium. He wrote the DNA code digitally, converted it into chemical DNA and successfully put it into a cell to power it. (exclusive film of Discovery Science ‘Creating Synthetic Life’). See this video

This is of huge importance and surely transforms how mankind will think in future. It seriously challenges the entire past traditions of all the religions and philosophies that claim God alone could have created life. Natural processes can themselves be manipulated to an extent that was unimaginable a century ago. This advance once again shows how all the mysteries of a supposed creator are gradually being explained and shown to be reproducible. Though this new life form was created out of an existing cell, which it totally transformed, and the original design of DNA was constructed from elements of other DNA strings, this was virtually creation of life. This does not means that everything required for life was created, but a self-supporting entirely unprecedented bacterium was created

The sciences are pushing out the boundaries of knowledge in every direction and the implications are profound. Their understanding of our minds, our memories, metabolisms, brains, personalities and their techniques of improving these are growing exponentially. 

Genetics, robotics, information- and nano-technology are being employed fruitful in the manipulations and control of matter, energy, and life itself at the most basic levels. “We’ve never seen anything like this before and this is raising profound questions about what it imeans to be human and what our lives and future and children will be like” (Joel Garreau on Discovery World). These transformations and their applications in technology are already well underway throughout the advanced industrial world.

The old world of religious and belief-rooted thought has long been giving way to rational, empirical and pragmatic thought and during the last century and has energised advanced countries in the West and elsewhere. The majority of the world’s population still lives within the confines of pre-scientific thought, predominantly religious ideas and their philosophical and common derivatives and, though the flat-earthers have all but disappeared, creationists are evidently still a world majority, living in basic ignorance of fundamental truths. Their world-views are now fundamentally challenged as wishful beliefs. Religion consists in memes, cyclic patterns, deterministically imposing and perpetuating themselves,. They have a repetitive life of their own and hundreds and thousands of years. Looking backwards (e.g. to early scriptures) and invariably setting false limits to thought and life, they have built up an inertia which cannot be stopped overnight. This kind of propagation of culture, often persisting from the cradle to the grave, is diametrically opposed to the education which so many populations strive towards.

Freedom of thought, investigative and critical of ‘established truth’, self-reflective, creative and open-minded is the future. Those countries in which a scientifically-informed public dominates public life will continue as world leaders in education, science and all the forms of technological industry. These drive most economic advances and improvement in the conditions and security of lives. The world is becoming more and more dependent on the fruits of science and technology, and it is already a necessity of life to billions. Societies which remain steeped in the ignorance of traditional beliefs and hinder secularism are at a huge disadvantage today and will be more so in future. Increasingly in future, whether societies sink or swim will largely depend on the real knowledge resources of its population. An illustration of this: though millions can  use modern appliances such as home machinery, mobile phones etc., it is quite another matter altogether to design and manufacture them, which requires an advanced society’s educational resources. Had there existed great sages or omniscient spiritual masters of any denominations, they should have been able to predict at least some of the findings of science today, but there is not a single reliable example of this. Their domains were the entirely subjective ‘world’ of inner feelings, thoughts, speculations and inherited beliefs about otherworldly entities and spheres that were detached from the world we actually live in. Yet there are still many who believe in their ‘wisdom’, superior powers of healing and miracle-making. Such people do not and will never again have any impact on the great human enterprise and endeavour.

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