Monday, 24 May 2010

Venter & Nobel

Much in the news recently concerning J. Craig Venter and his synthetic life form. Nerds in white coats have been excitedly polishing their test tubes and telling us how astounding a leap this is for mankind.
Perhaps it is, i can't pretend to know what Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 means but it has been reported that the technology could be applied in biofuels, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, clean water projects and food products.
The emphasis is on the word 'could' because we all know that what it 'will' end be being used for is to kill people in far away countries.
We have a terrible track record of inventing something useful and then using it to kill people with.
When we came up with Gunpowder, some bright spark piped up how we could use it to propel bullets at high velocity into people. Same story with splitting atoms and dynamite.
Ventner himself has admitted that his discovery could be used for 'dual purposes' and the head of the National Farmers Union(NFU) said it may lead to 'troublesome, enduring consequences' and called it 'a risk for humankind'.
The military must be rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of a new biological weapon with unlimited possibilities they can use to kill even more people.
Maybe in future years J Craig Venter will be so shocked at what his discovery is being used for that he will follow Nobel and set up an award to try and counterbalance what he unleashed.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who is we? I thought the Chinese are credited with gunpowder? Maybe you mean "we humans".

Rambo slowly, deeply, and unemotionally said "the human mind is the most dangerous weapon."

He is right. We can even make a soda straw into a weapon (hold your finger over one end and jab the other end into someones jugular... I read it in "Shabumi").

You have to take the bad with the good dude... the alternatives are:
1. git rid of humans - it is possible
2. stop scientific advancement (very unnewtonian, undarwinistic, and unhawkinsish of you... in fact very NEOCONISH and Vaticanish).

q

Hanz said...

We as in mankind and as usual, Rambo is right.
I thought the 'stop the killing' was a hippy thing which is the opposite of neoconish.