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miamizsun

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Posted: Apr 20, 2018 - 4:54am

 Proclivities wrote:
Well it's a good thing someone invented beer.
 

{#Lol}  yep, that and refrigeration



let's not forget tacos or the tortilla


it's freakin genius

Lazy8
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 3:53pm

 aflanigan wrote:
But the editing they have in mind takes away the potential for such random mutations to exhibit potentially beneficial effects they might have on human survival over generations; it tinkers with the machinery of evolution itself in a way that I suspect may have unintended (and potentially devastating) consequences. What if a mutation that is suspected of having a carcinogenic effect and is deliberately edited out of existence intrinsically carries a potentially unforeseen beneficial effect for our species, such as providing immunity/resistance against some pathogenic virus or microbe that will itself be created by a genetic mutation that has yet to occur?

I'm not saying we should become Luddites, but I'm skeptical of unalloyed evangelism when it comes to technological advances. We should try to be as cognizant as we can of the potential downsides of such efforts, much as scientists at Los Alamos worried about potential misuse of fission weapons. Being skeptical regarding the trailing edge of the sword blade while celebrating the leading edge is a good thing IMO.
p.s. These discussions of oncology evangelism often remind me of a particular episode of Star Trek which dealt with the issue of overpopulation, and in perhaps an unintended way, with the potential downside of profoundly increasing human lifespans by eliminating disease.

If a cancer gene is just what we're missing we can add it back I suppose, but think about what you're advocating for if we weren't talking about deleting a negative trait we already had but adding one we never had: I have a beneficial trait I want to impart to (some) of humanity. Unfortunately it carries significant cancer risk. Shall we add it?

Of course fire that Og make may spontaneously jump from fire ring and burn us all—it not natural! Can't predict what do! So-called fire experts not know everything. Think of children!

And no, we don't need to become Luddites. We already have an endless supply.
aflanigan
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 2:52pm

 Lazy8 wrote:

The random mutations go on tin the background regardless of what else we're doing. Adding a directed editing process doesn't stop gamma rays from zapping DNA strands.

 
But the editing they have in mind takes away the potential for such random mutations to exhibit potentially beneficial effects they might have on human survival over generations; it tinkers with the machinery of evolution itself in a way that I suspect may have unintended (and potentially devastating) consequences. What if a mutation that is suspected of having a carcinogenic effect and is deliberately edited out of existence intrinsically carries a potentially unforeseen beneficial effect for our species, such as providing immunity/resistance against some pathogenic virus or microbe that will itself be created by a genetic mutation that has yet to occur?

I'm not saying we should become Luddites, but I'm skeptical of unalloyed evangelism when it comes to technological advances. We should try to be as cognizant as we can of the potential downsides of such efforts, much as scientists at Los Alamos worried about potential misuse of fission weapons. Being skeptical regarding the trailing edge of the sword blade while celebrating the leading edge is a good thing IMO.
p.s. These discussions of oncology evangelism often remind me of a particular episode of Star Trek which dealt with the issue of overpopulation, and in perhaps an unintended way, with the potential downside of profoundly increasing human lifespans by eliminating disease.


Proclivities
“If you can't control your peanut butter, you can't expect to control your life.
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:54pm

 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:

well, I was thinking of the megafauna that has been around at the same time as us, like the last 300,000 years.  Wild zoomass is vanishingly small.

 
You'd figure with a name like "zoomass" it would be required to be somewhat large.
{#Think}
Lazy8
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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:53pm

 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:
That is not the point. Well, it is the point. As you correctly point out, we have been doing this for a long time already. Were it not for modern medicine I would have died at the age of 9 and we would be spared of this discussion, which I guess you can value as you will.  

The thing is, ever since we started mirroring the world in our own neural networks we have been figuring out how to make the world in our own image. Result, death of most megafauna, population explosion of domestic chickens and very sad sows.

The new capabilities offered by Crispr are just a natural extension of this and it is about time we started thinking seriously about what kind of world we want to create.. "we" being the operative term here, as I am no under illusion that democracy could well be a fleeting phenomenon.

I for one, would like to retain, at least somewhere, something of a natural world where human interference were completely banned. I think the closest we have to that is the region around Chernobyl where nature is rebounding rapidly due to the absence of a human presence. Just a personal preference. The thought of being the enforced guardian of every living thing, which would be the logical conclusion of interfering with it's genetic make-up, is kind of daunting and, well, just depressing.

I have no problem with thinking seriously about the world we want to create, I just object to ignorant people insisting on stopping the arrival of that world until they can grasp what it means. There was probably a homo erectus alarmed by the discovery of fire yelling "Stop! We need to think thru this whole cooking food thing! Who knows where it might lead!"

Fortunately for the species there will always be people looking to seize the advantages of new technologies while others insist on delaying the future in a futile effort to shape it. You can't stop the coming genetic breakthrus, you can just make certain that they happen somewhere else first,

And your equating of "natural" with "not including humans" denies our very...nature. We're just another species.

Remember those sad sows? We may not be able to make them happy (I mean, how would we know?) but we can free them if we can grow bacon without them.
cc_rider
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:40pm

 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:

well, I was thinking of the megafauna that has been around at the same time as us, like the last 300,000 years.  Wild zoomass is vanishingly small.

 
Well ya learn something new every day: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-humans-climate-australian-megafauna.html

I stand corrected. And educated.
c.
Lazy8
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:39pm

 aflanigan wrote:
Allow me to clarify; I'm not talking about each and every aspect of the process of natural selection, but rather one particular aspect of it: The randomness of genetic mutation that is fundamental to genetic variations which may afford an evolutionary advantage. It seems self-evident that the acquisition and application of cleverness in species (whether it is a bird's ability to use naturally available tools, or a human's ability to fashion lenses so as to better see prey, or a potential mate) so as to better adapt to one's environment is fundamentally different from eliminating randomness* from the genetic mutation aspect of evolution.

* I am aware that there have been theories posited that this mutation process may not be entirely mathematically random, so perhaps a more exact term than "random" would be "naturally occurring", or "not engineered/directed by humans".

The random mutations go on tin the background regardless of what else we're doing. Adding a directed editing process doesn't stop gamma rays from zapping DNA strands.
oldviolin
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:23pm

 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:

Gak, perils before swine!

 
Ah ha! A mud dauber! I knew it! {#Wink} {#Good-vibes}


NoEnzLefttoSplit
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:21pm

 oldviolin wrote:

Perfectly progressive thinking there sir. Long live the perils of peace!{#Cheers}

 
Gak, perils before swine!
NoEnzLefttoSplit
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:21pm

 cc_rider wrote:

I thought most megafauna were long gone before we came down from the trees? Some were highly specialized, and unable to adapt to climate or even smaller-scale changes. 

One could argue we are the natural world just as much as trees and squirrels, hence our behaviors, destructive as they seem, are part of the natural order. Maybe us humans are just a rung on the evolutionary ladder. It's a safe bet the Earth will keep spinning long after we've offed ourselves.
See above: 'highly specialized and unable to adapt'. That may well be us too, and we're seeing it play out. I fully expect the human race to extinguish itself, through war, or plague, or pollution, or anthropogenic climate change. (Yes, I had to look up anthropogenic). If we're really lucky we'll get an asteroid, but more likely us humans are in for a long, painful demise.

c.

 
well, I was thinking of the megafauna that has been around at the same time as us, like the last 300,000 years.  Wild zoomass is vanishingly small.
oldviolin
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:20pm

 Proclivities wrote:

Well it's a good thing someone invented beer.

 
Perfectly progressive thinking there sir. Long live the perils of peace!{#Cheers}
Non ideologically of course...
NoEnzLefttoSplit
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:13pm

 aflanigan wrote:

Allow me to clarify; I'm not talking about each and every aspect of the process of natural selection, but rather one particular aspect of it: The randomness of genetic mutation that is fundamental to genetic variations which may afford an evolutionary advantage. It seems self-evident that the acquisition and application of cleverness in species (whether it is a bird's ability to use naturally available tools, or a human's ability to fashion lenses so as to better see prey, or a potential mate) so as to better adapt to one's environment is fundamentally different from eliminating randomness* from the genetic mutation aspect of evolution.

* I am aware that there have been theories posited that this mutation process may not be entirely mathematically random, so perhaps a more exact term than "random" would be "naturally occurring", or "not engineered/directed by humans".

 
... and there's also the delicious irony of a libertarian championing the tools that could easily lead to rampant determinism


NoEnzLefttoSplit
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Gender: Male
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:13pm

 aflanigan wrote:

Allow me to clarify; I'm not talking about each and every aspect of the process of natural selection, but rather one particular aspect of it: The randomness of genetic mutation that is fundamental to genetic variations which may afford an evolutionary advantage. It seems self-evident that the acquisition and application of cleverness in species (whether it is a bird's ability to use naturally available tools, or a human's ability to fashion lenses so as to better see prey, or a potential mate) so as to better adapt to one's environment is fundamentally different from eliminating randomness* from the genetic mutation aspect of evolution.

* I am aware that there have been theories posited that this mutation process may not be entirely mathematically random, so perhaps a more exact term than "random" would be "naturally occurring", or "not engineered/directed by humans".

 
... and there's also the delicious irony of an irony of a libertarian championing the tools that could easily lead to rampant determinism
Proclivities
“If you can't control your peanut butter, you can't expect to control your life.
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Location: Paris of the Piedmont
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:09pm

 cc_rider wrote:
I thought most megafauna were long gone before we came down from the trees? Some were highly specialized, and unable to adapt to climate or even smaller-scale changes...
 but more likely us humans are in for a long, painful demise.
 
Well it's a good thing someone invented beer.
cc_rider
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 1:04pm

 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:

That is not the point. Well, it is the point. As you correctly point out, we have been doing this for a long time already. Were it not for modern medicine I would have died at the age of 9 and we would be spared of this discussion, which I guess you can value as you will.  

The thing is, ever since we started mirroring the world in our own neural networks we have been figuring out how to make the world in our own image. Result, death of most megafauna, population explosion of domestic chickens and very sad sows.

The new capabilities offered by Crispr are just a natural extension of this and it is about time we started thinking seriously about what kind of world we want to create.. "we" being the operative term here, as I am no under illusion that democracy could well be a fleeting phenomenon.

I for one, would like to retain, at least somewhere, something of a natural world where human interference were completely banned. I think the closest we have to that is the region around Chernobyl where nature is rebounding rapidly due to the absence of a human presence. Just a personal preference. The thought of being the enforced guardian of every living thing, which would be the logical conclusion of interfering with it's genetic make-up, is kind of daunting and, well, just depressing.

 
I thought most megafauna were long gone before we came down from the trees? Some were highly specialized, and unable to adapt to climate or even smaller-scale changes. 

One could argue we are the natural world just as much as trees and squirrels, hence our behaviors, destructive as they seem, are part of the natural order. Maybe us humans are just a rung on the evolutionary ladder. It's a safe bet the Earth will keep spinning long after we've offed ourselves.
See above: 'highly specialized and unable to adapt'. That may well be us too, and we're seeing it play out. I fully expect the human race to extinguish itself, through war, or plague, or pollution, or anthropogenic climate change. (Yes, I had to look up anthropogenic). If we're really lucky we'll get an asteroid, but more likely us humans are in for a long, painful demise.

c.
aflanigan
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 12:59pm

 Lazy8 wrote:
Um...that isn't just an impression, it's the whole point.

The natural process of selection requires that members of a species die before they can reproduce. We've been tampering with that for eons.

Wear glasses? Arch supports? Ever had surgery? You're interfering with natural selection. Natural selection doesn't protect you, it kills off future generations to make room for the fitter.

If there is a threat to future generations it is more likely to come from people afraid of our next evolutionary step, deciding who's human and who isn't.

 
Allow me to clarify; I'm not talking about each and every aspect of the process of natural selection, but rather one particular aspect of it: The randomness of genetic mutation that is fundamental to genetic variations which may afford an evolutionary advantage. It seems self-evident that the acquisition and application of cleverness in species (whether it is a bird's ability to use naturally available tools, or a human's ability to fashion lenses so as to better see prey, or a potential mate) so as to better adapt to one's environment is fundamentally different from eliminating randomness* from the genetic mutation aspect of evolution.

* I am aware that there have been theories posited that this mutation process may not be entirely mathematically random, so perhaps a more exact term than "random" would be "naturally occurring", or "not engineered/directed by humans".


NoEnzLefttoSplit
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 12:45pm

 Lazy8 wrote:
 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:
Admittedly, but it is not quite that simple either. Maybe they learn the trick of turning off cell senescense and we get to live for ever.  The whole issue calls a lot of our core values into question as they were drafted in a different age.

Which core value opposes curing, say, sickle cell anemia?

 
That is not the point. Well, it is the point. As you correctly point out, we have been doing this for a long time already. Were it not for modern medicine I would have died at the age of 9 and we would be spared of this discussion, which I guess you can value as you will.  

The thing is, ever since we started mirroring the world in our own neural networks we have been figuring out how to make the world in our own image. Result, death of most megafauna, population explosion of domestic chickens and very sad sows.

The new capabilities offered by Crispr are just a natural extension of this and it is about time we started thinking seriously about what kind of world we want to create.. "we" being the operative term here, as I am no under illusion that democracy could well be a fleeting phenomenon.

I for one, would like to retain, at least somewhere, something of a natural world where human interference were completely banned. I think the closest we have to that is the region around Chernobyl where nature is rebounding rapidly due to the absence of a human presence. Just a personal preference. The thought of being the enforced guardian of every living thing, which would be the logical conclusion of interfering with it's genetic make-up, is kind of daunting and, well, just depressing.
Lazy8
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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 12:31pm

 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:
Admittedly, but it is not quite that simple either. Maybe they learn the trick of turning off cell senescense and we get to live for ever.  The whole issue calls a lot of our core values into question as they were drafted in a different age.

Which core value opposes curing, say, sickle cell anemia?
NoEnzLefttoSplit
Being Norwegian is over-rated.
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Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 12:19pm

 Lazy8 wrote:
 aflanigan wrote:
There's an old saying: be careful what you wish for.

I'm getting the impression that some of these researchers are hoping to move into an era where "engineering" DNA will seek to supplant or eliminate the natural process selection, which relies on random genetic mutations, in favor of  some sort of "intelligent design" method of engineering the human genome.

If they manage to succeed, we had better say goodbye to the human race. What they produce in eliminating natural selection might be superficially recognizable as human, but it will not be human, at least in the biological sense.

I shudder to think how vulnerable such a population of creatures would potentially be without the protections offered by natural selection when attempting to coexist with viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens who will continue to enjoy the advantages natural selection offers in the struggle to live and thrive.

Um...that isn't just an impression, it's the whole point.

The natural process of selection requires that members of a species die before they can reproduce. We've been tampering with that for eons.

Wear glasses? Arch supports? Ever had surgery? You're interfering with natural selection. Natural selection doesn't protect you, it kills off future generations to make room for the fitter.

If there is a threat to future generations it is more likely to come from people afraid of our next evolutionary step, deciding who's human and who isn't.

 
Admittedly, but it is not quite that simple either. Maybe they learn the trick of turning off cell senescense and we get to live for ever.  The whole issue calls a lot of our core values into question as they were drafted in a different age.
 
Lazy8
human
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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 19, 2018 - 12:15pm

 aflanigan wrote:
There's an old saying: be careful what you wish for.

I'm getting the impression that some of these researchers are hoping to move into an era where "engineering" DNA will seek to supplant or eliminate the natural process selection, which relies on random genetic mutations, in favor of  some sort of "intelligent design" method of engineering the human genome.

If they manage to succeed, we had better say goodbye to the human race. What they produce in eliminating natural selection might be superficially recognizable as human, but it will not be human, at least in the biological sense.

I shudder to think how vulnerable such a population of creatures would potentially be without the protections offered by natural selection when attempting to coexist with viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens who will continue to enjoy the advantages natural selection offers in the struggle to live and thrive.

Um...that isn't just an impression, it's the whole point.

The natural process of selection requires that members of a species die before they can reproduce. We've been tampering with that for eons.

Wear glasses? Arch supports? Ever had surgery? You're interfering with natural selection. Natural selection doesn't protect you, it kills off future generations to make room for the fitter.

If there is a threat to future generations it is more likely to come from people afraid of our next evolutionary step, deciding who's human and who isn't.
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