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GeeMack
SFN Regular

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2007 :  19:59:02  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Those who believe in magic as the best explanation for the beginnings of life had better start to develop a strategy for moving their goal posts again. The god-gap of creating life is about to be filled by science...
Artificial Life Likely in 3 to 10 Years

"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."

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2007 :  20:06:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree. I even warned Bill about this. But he ignored the advice. When it happens, he'l be caught flat-footed like most of the YECs, because they don't follow science.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 08/19/2007 20:06:54
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The Rat
SFN Regular

Canada
1342 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2007 :  20:25:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit The Rat's Homepage Send The Rat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

I agree. I even warned Bill about this. But he ignored the advice. When it happens, he'l be caught flat-footed like most of the YECs, because they don't follow science.


I highly doubt that he'll be flat-footed enough to not try dancing around the issue with various fibs, obfuscations, and biblical pronouncements. He probably won't even skip a beat.

Fundies are soooooooooo predictable.

Bailey's second law; There is no relationship between the three virtues of intelligence, education, and wisdom.

You fiend! Never have I encountered such corrupt and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the Church? - The Bishop of Bath and Wells, Blackadder II

Baculum's page: http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=3947338590
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2007 :  20:46:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't think it's really that big of a step back. "Scientists can create life, but no accident can." And besides, it only took God 6 days. Scientists are way behind schedule.

Really cool stuff though.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Edited by - Ricky on 08/19/2007 20:47:20
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2007 :  21:14:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As Ricky said, more or less, the fundies will just offer this up as proof of intelligent design.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2007 :  21:21:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude

As Ricky said, more or less, the fundies will just offer this up as proof of intelligent design.
Yeah, but it seems as if predicting this spin, the scientists working on this problem are going out of their way to make the point that this isn't design:
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.


Still, the creationists will lie and dissemble. It's all they've ever done.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  00:13:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is pretty damned remarkable, if not unforeseen, and really, who cares what a pack of religious Luddites think? To them, if it ain't in the Bible, then it just, plain ain't, and no quantity of microscopic proto-wigglers will change their minds. They will, as stated, simply put the goalposts clear back into the cheap seats by insisting that the proto-wigglers can't be alive unless they wiggle.

Tell 'em Jesus has returned, has a lab-rat gig in Venice, and that you're sorry they missed the Bodacious Re-Arrival Party. It was a hoot!




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Rubicon95
Skeptic Friend

USA
220 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  05:58:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Rubicon95 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Don't you find it slightly unnerving that we can create a new life-form?

Our first use of atomic power was a bomb.


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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  06:27:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Rubicon95

Don't you find it slightly unnerving that we can create a new life-form?

Our first use of atomic power was a bomb.

Good thought, but no. This new "life form" is/will-be little more than the most primitive of cells, and possibly even less. The wonderful thing about it is that ancient evolution might be observed in the lab. Whether or not this duplicates any sort of orginal abiogenesis remains open to question.

It would be neat if this evolution could be guided into a SF addicts wet dream, but I don't see this happening, nor currently even possible, and certainly not in any manner of the short term. For the forseeable future, I think, it will remain a lab exercise, perhaps one day becoming an assignment for aspiring evolutionary bioligists.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Rubicon95
Skeptic Friend

USA
220 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  06:48:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Rubicon95 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's really fascinating but also scary. The part that scares me is this -
"A metabolism that extracts raw materials from the environment as food and then changes it into energy."

Makes me think of this : http://www.livescience.com/technology/destroy_earth_mp-1.html

Its the von Neumann machines. Only they are biological this time. I pretty sure the scientist doing everything possible to ensure safety. And those cells aren't going to last too long, but.....you never know.

Their would be some humour in this. To quote the grade b film "Crack in the World"
General: We'll at least we're not to blame..this time.



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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  07:12:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's really fascinating but also scary. The part that scares me is this -
"A metabolism that extracts raw materials from the environment as food and then changes it into energy."


That's happening all aropund us even as we speak. For exapmle:
"Epsilonproteobacteria" and Gammaproteobacteria, characterized by fluorescence in situ hybridization, colonize carbonate surfaces and generate sulfuric acid as a metabolic byproduct. The bacteria focus carbonate dissolution by locally depressing pH, compared to bulk cave waters near equilibrium or slightly supersaturated with calcite. These findings show that SAS occurs in subaqueous environments and potentially at much greater phreatic depths in carbonate aquifers, thereby offering new insights into the microbial roles in subsurface karstification.
This wasn't the article I was looking for.

What it boils down to is that these consume minerals and excrete sulfuric acid.

There are many others, such as the microbes living in hydrothermal vents, which feed upon hydrogen sulfide.

But in all probobility, at least initially, these cells won't be able to survive outside of the lab.

[8


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Rubicon95
Skeptic Friend

USA
220 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  07:28:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Rubicon95 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
True, the article does mention the short life span. Maybe I read to much Sci-Fi.

The possibilities are numerous. You could forsee the beginning terraforming with this technology.


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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  07:40:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Rubicon95

It's really fascinating but also scary. The part that scares me is this -
"A metabolism that extracts raw materials from the environment as food and then changes it into energy."
Everything that's alive extracts raw materials from the environment as food and converts it to energy. Every last living thing does this. You do it, too. The difference between life and the von Neumann machines is that they - hypothetically speaking - are not also constrained by the environment, and so reproduce indefinitely. Bacteria, for example, eventually eat all the food around them, and poison their own living space with waste, which limits their ability to double their population every day or so. There are a whole lot of 'em, but if they were little cellular von Neumann machines there'd be nothing on Earth but bacteria.

In other words, I think your worry is misplaced.

No, what you really should worry about is the accidental creation of a super-pathogen that makes the Black Plague look like the sniffles.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Rubicon95
Skeptic Friend

USA
220 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  08:04:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Rubicon95 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

No, what you really should worry about is the accidental creation of a super-pathogen that makes the Black Plague look like the sniffles.


That's what I am thinking of... note to self. Don't post until you've had 3 mugs of JAVA.

On my drive in to work, NPR had a segement on ITER.

Way cool.

P.S.
This is first time I was able to embed a URL with a tag. I've been looking at the icons for the reply, insert url, picture et al. I didn't how you guys did it. Until I tore apart one of the posts.
P.P.S.
Please forgive my noob giddyness...but this was big for me. I may be opposed to some of your views...but MAN I LOVE THIS SITE!!!!!


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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  09:21:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Rubicon95

On my drive in to work, NPR had a segement on ITER.

Way cool.
Yeah, but that damn thing is just going to set Earth's atmosphere on fire.
Please forgive my noob giddyness...but this was big for me.
I'm quite happy for you! I'd like to say, though, that we have a Q&A Folder that's perfect for asking such questions.
I may be opposed to some of your views...but MAN I LOVE THIS SITE!!!!!
That's why we keep you around.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2007 :  10:35:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

No, what you really should worry about is the accidental creation of a super-pathogen that makes the Black Plague look like the sniffles.

But then, would they need a whole new synthetic life to do that? Why not just bioengineer the ones that already exist?

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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