Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just because you can do a thing, does not mean you should

Wow, that didn't take long. It was only a matter of time. Scientists have created a man made flu virus with the potential to wipe out the human race.
Regarding the lead Scientist, the article notes:
Fouchier is so prepared for a media storm that he has hired an advisor to help him work on a communication strategy:
I think the very first communication should be, "I'm sorry. I'll burn all the research, never publish and promise to never do it again."

One thing that gives me pause about genetic research and engineering is the downside potential. Unintended consequences of genetic engineering has been a mainstay of science fiction since the genre began. Intentionally creating something that could wipe out the human race is the pursuit of madmen. When scientists do it as an academic pursuit, I am at a loss for words. What in the world were they thinking?  I mean really,  if you have this subconscious desire to remove the human race to save Gaia, or whatever, how about you lead by example and off yourself first? We'll wait to see how it goes for you and decide if we'd like to follow.
If that genie ever gets out of the bottle, there's no putting it back in.

h/t: The Feral Irishman


  1. Well, yeah, but the 0.000001% of the population with a weird mutation who survives will be much stronger because of it.

  2. Jurassic Park, Terminator and the Manhattan Project?
    "You spent so much time hurrying to do something without stopping to consider whether or not you should."
    "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount... The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants." - General Omar Bradley, November 11, 1948

  3. Viruses are professional mutators - their whole life's drive is to find some way into a cell, reproduce until the cell basically explodes from their expanding population, and do that over and over, and they are darn good at figuring out new ways to get around cell defenses. We really didn't need some nimnul scientist helping them out.

    I love Guffaw's quote from Bradley - it is so right.

  4. Well, then the 0.000001% of them who survive will be much much stronger!

    C'mon, why can't you see the silver lining?

    (and in case someone out there is tone deaf, that was complete sarcasm)


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