Craig Venter led the first privately funded effort to sequence the human genome. Some might think that would be enough to keep one busy for a while. Not so. Venter is currently trying to become the first to create synthetic life. If you’re interested, here is his own short description of the method he is using to do so. [Warning: Scientific jargon included]
If this sounds bizarre and a little scary, that’s understandable. But that’s why we should be thankful for people like Fazale “Fuz” Rana of Reasons To Believe (RTB). Fuz was a senior research scientist with Procter & Gamble right here in Cincinnati before he left his job to join RTB’s scientific apologetics ministry in Los Angeles. He’s ahead of the curve on this topic and has just had his book, Creating Life In The Lab published to anticipate a response to this kind of research.
within the next 5 years.
So what should we think about this?
If you have a couple hours to kill on a treadmill or something, have a listen as Dr. Rana discusses his thoughts on the matter with Greg Koukl on his weekly podcast here: Koukl – Rana Interview. [The interview with Fuz begins at the 57:00 minute mark of the podcast]
Here is my summary:
First, don’t think that Venter is animating anything even remotely similar to something you might see walking around. What he is actually doing is reverse engineering simple, single-cell bacteria-like organisms (keyword: “engineering,” but more on that later) to unlock ways to create novel, new lifeforms. These would be designed for specific purposes and unique in that they don’t occur anywhere in nature.
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