News of the Day, January 24, 2008: Playing God and other stuff

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Originally posted on http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on January 24, 2008.

So, after not keeping up with the blogging thing for the last few months, I got the itch to write an entry. The 1-minute version of our life:

1 – Expecting our 7th child

2 – Nearly 2 weeks into breaking in a new puppy, Tillie, a black lab

3 – Didn’t pass my actuarial exam

4 – Packers had a great year, pretty pumped, but disappointed in the loss to the Giants. And yes, I was there.

And so here we are. I’m sure I could write numerous posts on the minutia of our lives, and if I did so, it would be pretty boring. So, I decided to do something completely different. I decided to just post some quick comments on some of the news of the day. There are no rules to this game. Here goes:

Scientists close to creating life

Since I don’t want to break any laws by posting parts of the articles, please follow the links. Synopsis: Scientists feel they are close to putting together strands of DNA that will create a new life-form.

OK, so I don’t want to be seen as a fanatical doom-and-gloom guy, but I’ve seen both sides of the argument here about why this is or isn’t a good thing. One one side, you’ve got the verse-quoting fire-and-brimstone enthusiasts, and on the other side you have the people who tell me that this is just progress, and people once thought that flying was evil. Or something like that. For good measure, let’s throw Galileo in there too, because whenever anyone questions whether or not a particular scientific advance is ethical or good, people just throw his name without regard to the rationality of it.

Well, I don’t want to go quoting Bible verses. It is true that I can’t find a specific quote anywhere in Scripture that tells me “Thou shalt not create a new DNA strand.” But let’s try to be a tad reasonable about this. I don’t expect an atheist to understand this, so I direct it to people of faith who appreciate scientific advance and find themselves thinking “What’s the big deal?” Well, it is a big deal.

First of all, as many rightfully point out, the scientists are not “creating” anything. They are manipulating very tiny elements of creation. So, no matter what the outcome, nobody can and will convince me that even the step of “creating” a new life form diminishes the idea of God. That is not the issue. In fact, it is this very fact that many will use to defend it. “What’s the difference in forming a new life form, just like we form cars and airplanes and everything else using what God has given us to work with?”

Well, regardless of potential benefits, the problem with it is really quite simple. It is completely against the natural order of things. Other things we’ve done are as well. The fact that we’ve gone there doesn’t mean it’s right, nor is it a license to continue pushing the envelope. It also opens up potential risks. How are we to know what this new life form is capable of? Are we certain we can contain it? Will it mutate? Scary stuff.

On a general note, I just feel like we continue closer to some sort of “tipping point.” Don’t ask me what it means, but let’s just think about God’s reaction to all this. I believe he affords us scientific opportunities that have great promise in its benefits, but at the same time can be used for evil intent. Perhaps it is a test of sorts – which way will we go? At some point – which only God knows – He will conclude that our opportunities are done. We will have “chosen poorly,” as I am reminded of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Cloning… Chimeras… mixing human DNA with animal DNA… synthetically creating a new life form, not intended to be part of our universe… At what point does God determine that we have crossed a line in which we have just doomed ourselves unless He intervenes? And when He does, I am pretty certain that our idea of His intervention is not a happy one. The more complacent we are, the quicker we welcome His intervention. Review some of His previous interventions when Israel fell away from Him, and let me know how much you’re looking forward to it.

It’s freakin’ cold here.

Comment: It’s freakin’ cold here. But I’ve been watching Siberia, and it’s been hitting 76 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. I guess it could be worse.

My mom apparently took a stroll on Mars

Follow the link, read the story, and watch the video – it’s just a minute. Good stuff. While I know many will really want to believe it’s somebody playing in the sand, I’m pretty sure it’s a rock. But let’s play a game: what do you see? At first I see a woman in a burqa. But it could also be my mom, who always wears a head scarf when she’s taking a walk if it’s windy outside. Or cold. Or too hot. Or cloudy. In fact, I think unless it’s exactly 77 degrees and sunny with no wind, she wears a scarf. But I digress.

But if you think it’s a martian, let me just remind you of “Mars Attacks.” Do not treat this creatures lightly!

Suicide bomber trips down stairs and blows himself up

All death is a tragedy, and it is sad that some people would resort to violence that not only takes their lives, but intentionally takes the lives of others – particularly citizens, women and children. But can we at least take a small break to make fun of this clumsy killer, who thankfully ended up only killing himself because he can’t navigate a staircase? It’s funny in a tragic way. I suppose the fact that I find any levity in that exposes one of my many faults.

Well, I’d do more, but I must turn in. I kind of enjoyed that. Maybe I’ll try it again soon. Or, alternatively, maybe not…

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